|Who's this effeminate guy? He lived in the 1600s before streaming|
was invented. Or the electric guitar. Did music of a sort. A loser, then
Imagine this because it helps. Imagine the present tradition of reading books silently to oneself never developed. That books were only read aloud: to groups, a friend, to an empty room, to a recording machine. That we as readers were associated publicly with books we orated:
“X’s pernickety accent suits Mansfield Park.”
“Did you know, Y does all the voices in As You Like It.”
“Z’s Great Gatsby still isn’t right, a New Yorker’s giving him lessons.”
That there were no skipped-through reads. Or lies about finishing Moby Dick. Proof would be evident or absent.
Welcome to my world, in a sense.
Aged 14 in 1949, with the publication of Orwell’s 1984, I started reading seriously, voraciously but haphazardly. Huge gaps appeared and widened (Latin and Greek literature, most fantasies, Dostoevski, short stories, virtually all poetry, philosophy) but eventually other milestones were passed (Already blogged; I won’t bore you). A process that dwindled two years ago and is now at a standstill.
That same seriousness and voraciousness, minus chance, is being applied to singing. I’ve moved into an oral world resembling that fashioned in my imagination above. This world is transient and requires certain disciplines. A soi-disant intellectual recently admitted ignoring the battle scenes in War and Peace - converting it into Blank and Peace, I suppose. There’s none of that in An die Musik.
I make singing mistakes; rectification then ingeniously illustrates the composer’s genius. I am more conscious of my body because I have to be. I need to be tutored because there’s another language involved. Singing is not superior to book-reading but it’s less casual. Visceral reactions occur more frequently. Perhaps delusionally, I am fulfilled.
Here’s Purcell’s An Evening Hymn, written in the seventeenth century. My present task but pitched lower.