The Most Beautiful Songs

Reading The Power of Song by Guntis Ŝmidchens, I came across the line, “The most beautiful songs have yet to be sung.” Lifted from a 19th century Estonian poem by Friedrich Saebelmann and set to music to help promote the Baltic Singing Revolution, this line, this poem, caused me to stop everything. I put the book down. Glanced around the dimly lit café. The nervous, bearded mumbling street seller of “Real Change” paced amid worried undergrads and aspiring writers and musicians and actors and not to mention off-duty parents glued to their laptops, in other words, the hopeful many whose uncertain lives contain the germ of some kind of meaning, they are convinced of that, if they could only find it. Yes, glanced around at so much earnest angst and yearning and wept. Silently of course. But, wept. Hid my eyes behind reading glasses and pretended irritation just in case anyone noticed. No one did. I was on my own with my weeping. I must, I decided, write that book that is titled: “The Most Beautiful Songs Have Yet To Be Sung.”

Saebelmann Friedrich

Here is a selection from that poem that was put to song to keep hope alive during Soviet Occupation:

The longed-for dream, held for eternity,

Torn by winds from all sides,

Something suddenly moved in the bosom –

Did this force come from inside?


The most beautiful songs are still unsung,

And alienation is still undefeated.

The torches that have never yet burned

Now all must ignite at both ends.


I give to you the most beautiful songs,

The most beautiful songs.

The_Singing_Revolution_(2006) A film


Whatever your angst, whatever your yearning, all you anxious café dwellers and everyone else who still yearns, what can be the harm in devoting your life to singing the most beautiful songs, the ones that have remained unsung, what have you got to lose? And if you fail, if I fail, if our songs are croaky or just embarrassingly mediocre, well, isn’t it beautiful that we tried?


One thought on “The Most Beautiful Songs

  1. Thank you–I had never heard of either Guntis Ŝmidchens or Friedrich Saebelmann, and now I am intrigued. I had a similar moment of revelation several weeks ago while reading the works of a well-known 20th century Irish poet, W.B.Yeats. I happened across a poem I had been required to read years ago as bored student. I read it when told to but never felt it, never kenned it in the way I understood it at that moment. I am glad you were blessed with such a moment of connection.

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