Sunday, November 15, 2015

"We Really Know Our Worth, The Sun And I...."

     I am not a huge fan of sopranos.  This is perhaps because I ended up a contralto,* after having a very good range and at least fair pitch in childhood.  It didn't last.  However, there is one piece that send chills down my spine, W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan at perhaps the top of their form -- I first heard it by channel-surfing happenstance.

     Having spent the morning looking for a version of "The Moon and I" (aka "The Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze...") from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado at least as good as the one in the film Topsy Turvy, I was frankly delighted to discover this one, recorded "for showcase only:"


     For contrast, the British-through-and-though take from Topsy-Turvy, gorgeously sung, can be heard here.

     Best line: "I mean to rule the Earth as he the sky." Ambition!  (For those unfamiliar with the story line, it is not really such an unreasonable one as you might think.)
* In musical theatre, contraltos are generally limited to playing "witches, britches and bitches."  Basically, the "bad Bond girl" is about as good as it gets.


Jeffrey Smith said...

But contraltos get the best part of Das Lied von der Erde. That must count for something.

jed said...

Seems a good day for sunny songs. I've never been a huge fan of opera, though there is certainly much of that genre I do like, quite a lot. Ombra Mai Fu comes to mind, though when translated to English, it looses some appeal - I prefer to treat the lyrics as another instrument, and enjoy it musically.

I suspect you're familiar with Annie Haslam, and Renaissance. So, following the theme: Carpet of the Sun.

pigpen51 said...

I have to admit that I often could care less about the meaning of the words to a song. Some of the best music I have loaded is Latin romance sung by female artists. There is such a beautiful, sensual quality in their voices, that even though I do not speak a word of Spanish, except for what I have picked up here or there, I have come to appreciate the music.
It is just as I have always thought. Looking at the current state of so called music put out today, I feel like it will someday turn around back to people who can actually sing and who can play an instrument, and also those who can write lyrics that mean something. Maybe there are some today who have it, but they are few and far between.
The classical pieces of old, be they opera, or just classical in style with strings and horns, are also hit and miss, with some being great, and some leaving me empty. I think that is the way it is meant to be. Music can't be all things to everyone. But the musicians should strive to be relevant, not to themselves, but to others. I am sick of hearing about tortured musicians. Listening to some of the drivel they put out, I am the one who is being tortured.
At least we have the internet now, where we can find real talent, instead of what the studios say we have to listen to.
Possibly I am biased as I am a musician, used to play for actual money, and so understand what it takes to get people to like what you do. But you can play music you love and also play music others love as well. It is just a matter of not being self absorbed.