A day of music

    I caught part of an opera on TV and it wrapped up
everything I love and hate about opera. It was from Offenbach’s “Tales
of Hoffman” and I have no idea who the actors/singers were, but they
were incredible. Soaring voices, impossible notes, unbelievable emotion
and a stirring accompaniment from the orchestra. It really was
breathtaking, then I made the mistake of reading the subtitles. The
words were the same ridiculous crap that is in every type of musical
theater. This is the primary reason I can’t take broadway musicals, I
just can’t get past the lyrics. They bug me to no end and I am
incapable of enjoying anything that involves singing in English in a
    It did remind me that I had an opera that I hadn’t
listened to yet (one of several actually). This was a second copy of
“Le Nozze de Figro” that I picked up somewhere, maybe one of those BBC
magazines or something. I already had a snob approved copy (I think
rene Fleming is the soprano and there is some big name tenor on there
too) but it’s always good to compare performances. While the snob
approved cast does indeed have better voices, the BBC cast put on a
better performance over all. There is more conveyed and they seem to
mean it when they sing. Plus the audience wasn’t so stuffy that they
couldn’t laugh at the funny parts.
    From there I listened to an Albienz concerto
(Christopher Parkening on guitar) and went to some Rachmaninoff pieces
for two pianos. The Albienz piece was my second time listening in a
month but I hadn’t heard this particular Rachmaninoff stuff in a couple
of years. It was good to reacquaint myself, while I can remember just
about every pop song I’ve ever heard (and the back up parts, the bass
lines, etc.) it’s much more difficult to keep this stuff in my head.
I’ve always thought that iPods are for people too lazy to remember
songs well enough to play them in their head:-)
    After watching a baseball game (the Cubs won) and
eating, I came downstairs for more music. Something had reminded me of
Black Sabbath, so their first album was the first thing in. You’re
going to think I’m the world’s biggest audio geek for this, but so be
it. The first thing I realized when I started the CD was that I had my
“classical” tubes in the amps, not my rockers. Since I didn’t
particularly feel like getting burned replacing them, I lived with it
and enjoyed the slightly different presentation. More air and less
crunch. Despite this, I had my pictures rattling on the wall while I
played air bass… A live Ike and Tina Turner album was next, then
“Easter” by Patti Smith, and finally “Pretty on the Inside” by Hole.
I’m finishing up the night with Glenn Gould’s second version of the
Goldberg variations. This is one of those albums that I will never tire
of and every time I hear it I move closer to buying the rerelease of it
remastered from the superior analog master tapes. It’s just one more
album on the list… I’d call that a good day, haven’t been able to do
any real listening in quite a while. Plan on doing more tomorrow.


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