Saturday, 27 August 2016

Music hath charms............

Music in one form or another has accompanied every part of my life.

I sang as a very small child, and as a nervous teenager, and as an ambitious adult.

Recorded music, (on REAL records), CD's, tapes, on the radio and live in concert halls and opera houses has been the - I nearly said background - framework of my life.

For most of the time it has been a joy, a comfort, sometimes a thrilling experience, occasionally the road to deep sadness.

What some, probably most, people regard as music is something from which I retreat and while recognizing its place in the world will never have a place in my world.

Ask me the name of a recording artist, name a particular recording, enthuse about a well-known performer and we are speaking different languages.

Addicted to TV quiz shows from "pointless" to "University Challenge", I sail happily through questions on classical music from every period, but faced with popular music I sit in glum silence.

Very occasionally something will stir a flicker of memory and I will come up with the right answer while the contestants look bewildered.  Thisis nothing to do with taste, merely that that particular tune song or artist was so popular in my youth that I unwillingly and unwittingly absorbed it into my semi-conscious.

Last evening I watched the 'proms' on BBC2 which consisted of a performance of Mozart works, including the "Requiem".

Despite loving nearly everything he wrote and having sung quite a lot of it, I have somehow never made the acquaintance of this work.

Obviously some bits were familiar but all in all it was strange to me - and I regret to say will remain so,

I know it was the last thing he wrote and that other hands completed the work after his death but that alone cannot account for the fact that it seems to me totally unlike anything else he wrote.

Perhaps it was the fact that the conductor had decided to sprinkle the chorus in amongst the orchestra, but it seemed fragmented and did not hold together as a performance for me.

Maybe my hearing and critical faculties are deteriorating, or maybe the heat and humidity of the last few weeks has got to me, but given a choice my first meeting with this work will be the last.

Or, maybe I am just a crotchety old woman looking for something else to complain about.


  1. While I don't have nearly the musical experience you do, Ray, I admit that I can't quite decide about the Mozart Requiem either. Sometimes I love it and other times my ears glaze over. Fortunately, there is so much other wonderful stuff out there that you've got plenty of alternatives!

    1. These days the church choir is as far as my musical experiences take me, apart from the very occasional TV programme.
      I still have a head full of music but appear to have lost the 'off' switch, more a curse than a blessing.
      Quite often I find I wake in the night with a bit of a tune running round on a loop, don't know what it is or where it came from or what has set it off but find it has gone when I wake in the morning. I then spend half the day trying to remember how it went.
      Sometimes I wish my life had been devoted to knitting:-)

  2. Knitting!!! Well, that has its moments I'm sure. My upbringing was fringed with , lined with, filled with music of all sorts. My mother had a small assortment: Puccini, Sinatra, Ella F, Mahalia Jackson, Elvis and more Sinatra. Grandma filled up with Opera and Operettos and my cousin came rambling with Beethoven, Bach and...Mozart. Since my days in churchchoirs began, I too have sung loads of sheets from the classical school.
    Requiem is odd , if you ever saw the movie or the play "Mozart" there is a red line laid out about that particular work. It is as you say, very different from his other work, the red line, true or not, tells of a sick, dying Mozart with the ghost of his father haunting him to finish the piece and Salieri, malvolently helping him.
    I like it, but there are times when it sends shivers down my spine. Not shivers of pleasure, that is. But I don't think you are being crotchety ( what kind of word is that??) . Your mind is set on emotions, the music sets fire to the emotions that are currently in move in us. Or needs to be moved. Sometimes the same music you needed badly last week will sound repulsive and dull today.
    Saying that, I will soon head for that meeting with Florence Foster Jenkins !!

  3. Good luck with one Fairtrader.
    Given the choice of that lady or the Mozart I think I would perhaps find I enjoyed the requiem after all.

  4. It should have read "Good luck with that one"