So why Lorenzo da Ponte? As Avus mentioned he ran whorehouses. Only an over-developed moral sensitivity and a distinct queasiness about STDs kept me out of that line of business. I could have run a whorehouse. But what I couldn’t have done was write this:
Soave sia il vento
Tranquilla sia l’onda
Ed ogni elemento
Ai vostri desir.
Don’t speak Italian but will – reluctantly – translate:
Gentle be the breeze
Calm be the waves
And every element
Smile in favour
On their wish
Look at the Italian rather than the English and dwell on this. A man who knew his way about language – who could write simply – meets a profligate tunesmith some of whose best songs are all over in two or three minutes. WAM gets lots of credit and so he should. I do my bit for LdP.
Wanna hear how it sounds? Glyndebourne of course.
POP EXPLORED, part four. Elder daughter (PB, Professional Bleeder – an ex-phlebotomist) has been reading Tone Deaf and thinks I’ve been led astray on the subject of pop. She has some suggestions:
Somehow I think this is going to hurt you far more than it hurt me, she says. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uxP8h0SZRw (The Smiths. Strangeways, here we come. I'm told this is Morrissey (whom I've heard of) and it's about twenty years old. Jangly guitar and a dull, repetitive drummer who is close to being off the beat. Quite a lengthy, daringly unscannable lyric about a record store and a dead star. Melody is unambitious but it is a melody. I could probably hum it after two or plays. Somewhat lacking in energy.)
R.I.P Amy Winehouse
So understated and sadly underrated, says PB. (Elliott Smith, Angeles. Plain solo acoustic guitar with a confidential - almost furtive - way of singing. Very narrow dynamic, making melody hard to identify. Followed the lyrics but not their sense. Eventually checked lyrics in separate file and found them to be a series of line-length non-sequiturs. Is Angeles the city or a person? Can't tell.)
It isn't all about guitars (Blue Monday, New Order. 7 min 26 sec. long. Synthesised mechnical drum continues throughout with sounds of jet engine, explosions, wooden blocks. Lyrics don't start until 2 min 15 sec. , are initially understandable (How does it feel to treat me like you do?) but quickly lose the thread. At a guess, we're talking about rejection. The singing is virtually monotone, as if from a pre-chromatic mode. Very solemn, unemotional.)
Still about the words though
Often about drugs though
Being able to sing in tune isn't vital h
Saved the greatest 'til last
Bowie sings and Mick Ronson plays The Velvet Underground – doesn't get much better – still about the drugs
I lied – this is best - it is all about guitars and words