- Mental Health
Five Allopathic Songs to Fight Depression
Sometimes the best way to deal with depression is with energizing, upbeat, or just uplifting tunes. We all know the popular fare, but what about the classical world? Or the folk world? Here begins a list of five favorite songs to allopathically ease depression. They are marked by heightened mood, light tone, and/or a high entertainment value. Only one tune is sung.
Abi Gezunt--Jewish Traditional
Let us begin with the sung number, "Abi Gezunt," which is Yiddish for "Your Health," with its refrain, "If you have your health, thank your lucky stars," in Yiddish, of course. Jewish music has a reputation for being upbeat and happy despite the centuries of persecution and hate the Jews have endured. Indeed, humorist, Michael Lange considers Jewish humor to be the secret to the Jews' survival. That and songs like this one.
Marco Polo--Loreena McKennitt
Irish songwriter Loreena McKennitt has made a career of primitive and medieval styles of music; she is, in short, the Pre-Raphaelite of latter-day music, and one of the few actual artists of modern times.
From her album The Book of Secrets, this song is an instrumental evocative of old China and the emperor's dancing concubines entertaining a great foreign visitor. It has an exotic flavor that releases one briefly from the mundane, depressing world into one where one is honored. Afterward, one feels more energized and less down.
Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop--H. C Lumbye
This dance piece by Danish Waltz King Hans Christian Lumbye is a bit of a light symphonic poem wherein a steam locomotive departs, travels, and reaches its destination. Its fast pace makes it highly entertaining and energetic, and the listener slightly giddy.
Lumbye was the first music director of Copenhagen's famous amusement park, Tivoli Gardens, a place where making merry is so prevalent that Danes would say one "tivolates" there. Lumbye, with dances similar to the "Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop" apparently began the tradition. So, play some Lumbye, close your eyes, and imagine yourself at Tivoli, having a marvelous time.
The Girls of Warsaw--Karel Komzák
"The Girls of Warsaw," or "Warschauer Mäd'ln" is a light, happy set of waltz tunes that were highly acclaimed in the late 1890's, but have since, for reasons unknown, remained unheard. The piece is evocative of the sunny disposition of youth and is a celebration of life; indeed is is reminiscent of folk music played at a function such as a wedding or a spring celebration.
Recordings of this waltz are rare, but well worth obtaining for chasing away melancholia.
Anything by Carl Michael Ziehrer
Listening to Ziehrer is like eating pastry and sweetmeats; his music is sweet and fast-paced, full of life and joy. It was the sound of Vienna just preceding the Great War of 1914 and the fall of the Hapsburg monarchy. Which, I suppose, is why those days were so giddy and devoid of melancholy.
Ziehrer, having served as a military bandmaster, was much lighter and casual in his dance music than his chief rival Johann Strauss, and so during the war, his fame faded. He died in 1922. But his music raises the mood, as I said, to giddy new highs, especially his catchy marches and fast polkas.
As far as recordings are concerned, I recommend the Ziehrer Edition in seventeen volumes mostly under the baton of Hans Schadenbauer. One can then take one's pick of his works.