Brexit had a theme song, but it wasn’t about Britannia ruling the waves or a land of hope and glory. It was about a lark.

This particular lark was The Lark Ascending, a 13-minute musical essay for solo violin and a small chamber orchestra. No drum-set thumping, no karaoke microphone. It was first performed in 1920, as a musical portrait based on George Meredith’s poem of the same name, and begins with the solo violin in rhythmless quavers, picks up at its 70th measure with what sounds like a gentle Morris dance in 2/4, and then returns at the end to those contemplative bird-like quavers.

The Lark Ascending has all the musical thrill of an extremely quiet day in an extremely quiet English meadow. But for just that reason in 2016, Britain loved it. “It hearkens back to my father again,” gushed one pop singer who probably could not otherwise have told Bach from Bacharach. “When I first heard this piece of music I collapsed in tears with emotion. I just thought it was probably the most beautiful piece I ever heard.” Comments on YouTube videos of The Lark Ascending claimed powers for it not dissimilar to Brexit, like “This is what finally coming out of a depressive episode feels like” and “Listening to this music lifted my heart above the clouds and I felt the pain subside.” And, not surprisingly, Remainers loathed Lark.

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