Tuesday, October 26, 2010

St. Crispin's Day

Yesterday was St. Crispin's Day, a/k/a The Feast of Saint Crispian. Like everything in my life, there's a backstory.

The Battle of Agincourt was fought on that date, when the British, greatly outnumbered and without much cavalry, defeated the French in a decisive battle of whatever was was then being fought. The battle is made immortal in Shakespeare's Henry V, in a speech by Henry on the battlefield, a speech that includes the words "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers." In the most recent cinematic version, the words are spoken by Kenneth Branagh, in a stirring call to arms.

The music, by Patrick Doyle, is exquisite, and it never fails to perk me up when I'm down, or life me higher when I'm up, one of several pieces that always grabs at my heart, like the Mendelssohn Octet. It's so good that it's been hijacked and serves on numerous movie trailers.

The speech can be seen on youtube in any number of different versions, all featuring Branagh, with the music playing behind the famous speech.


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