I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Sunday, 29 July 2012

A lot to answer for


The long haul to New Zealand proved excruciating and after three trips we gave up. I cannot bear sitting in a plane waiting for aeons of time to pass. Reading a book for that explicit reason (my itals) can ruin a book’s appeal. But how about a careful selection of music on an MP3 player? That too failed since jet engines obliterate lower frequency sound (ie, about 60% of most orchestral works). But making the choice was fun.

It wasn’t all posh. I also picked from about eighty tracks I’d compiled earlier representing all the pop I cared to listen to. Eighty tracks! That says it all given there were 950 posh tracks. Don’t worry, I got my come-uppance.

Honouring pop music in this way casts a curse over it. How could I imagine the banalities of Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World would survive two listenings? Both versions of California Dreaming (Beach Boys, Mamas and Papas) had me cringing at:

I stopped into a church
I passed along the way
You know, I got down on my knees
And I pretend to pray

A shame. It’s a marvellous tune, beautifully sung.

Wikipedia says Guantanamera’s words are “rarely sung”. Let’s make that “never sung” by José Feliciano. And the simplistic plaid-shirt patriotism of Pete Seeger’s This Land is Your Land eventually got me down.

But some survived and prospered. Brian Ferry’s sophisticated voice is perfect for Miss Otis Regrets. Out of a thousand possibilities I conclude New York is the song Frank Sinatra was born to sing. Barbra Streisand’s sheer energy in Don’t Rain on My Parade arrives as a direct transfusion. Joni’s Big Yellow Taxi seems to tell lots of tales. The Pogues’ The Band Played Waltzing Matilda can still make me weep. Bach is not alone.

6 comments:

Plutarch said...

You put your finger on something very true when you imply that a lot of music outside the area of poshness, catchy or sweet with easy rhythms and harmonies, palls quickly, whereas the posh stuff, even if constant repitition begins to wear patience thin, lasts longer.

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

Plutarch: I suppose it's a matter of length - posh music is usually longer and hence is less likely to be repeated as much as pop. However if, like Mrs LdP, you listen to the BBC3 afternoon concert every day (while simultaneously reading and, from time to time, knitting) the chances are certain war-horses will start to get jammed in your teeth. This has happened with the Pastoral and I tend to share her antipathy.

And then (this is surely the magic part of posh music) someone unexpected and presently unfashionable comes along - Adrian Boult is typical - and you hear the discredited cheval de guerre with new ears.

Having said that I must admit it can happen with pop too. I am only a qualified admirer of the Beatles which meant that Karen Carpenter's version of A Ticket To Ride (much slower, the words better articulated, utterly melodious) arrived like a sucker punch. A case of the cover outshining that which it covered.

The Crow said...

I thought the words were, "And I began to pray."

All these years I had it wrong, much like CCR's "There's a bathroom on the right."

You might be Tone Deaf, dear LdP, but I am Word Deaf!

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

The Crow: Waddya mean, suddenly appearing after a month or so's silence, and disturbing my early morning tranquillity? Sent me scurrying you did. But three different Googles confirmed "pretend".

Your reference to CCR leaves me ignorant so let me bat one back to you. Fill in the succeeding line:

There's a pawnshop, on the corner,
In Pittsburgh, Pensylvania,
And...

The Crow said...

You mean the one by Guy Mitchell that goes:

"There's a pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
And I walk up and down 'neath the clock
(By the pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
But I ain't got a thing left to hock."

I had to Google it, Lorenzo. I had no idea what song you referenced.

CCR is Credence Clearwater Revival, a Southern rock group whose heyday was in the 1970s, I think.

Sorry I messed with your tranquility.

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

The Crow: That's the one. In fact I apologise for setting you this teaser; it implies that you're as old as me. At your age I was still ski-ing.