1. Name between 5 & 10 songs that have made an impact on your life. I'll leave it up to you to decide how many you wish to describe.
2. Pass it onto five other people with a link back to your own post and this one as the original.
Only 5-10 songs? I wrote out the first draft of this post at Barnes & Noble this morning, while drinking a large English Breakfast tea, and I filled 6 pages in my notebook. My writing is small. Just imagine how much I wrote... But I'll try to prune it down a bit.
I'll start with vocals - i.e., actual songs. Each of these captures the melancholy that underlies my personality.
- "Mas que nada" (Sergio Mendez) - although I don't know what the lyrics mean, the melody and the performance give me a sense of the gently-rueful state of mind, where you know something is lost, but the loss will leave only the whisper of a scar.
- "The Lady of Shalott" (Loreena McKennitt) - Tennyson's compassionate vignette of the young woman who is cursed to weave a tapestry of a world she is forbidden to see. McKennitt's harp and crystalline voice capture the Lady's enchantment, the moments when the Lady begins to become aware of how much she has lost ("half sick of shadows") and she releases herself from the spell ("the mirror crack'd') ,and the currents that bear her "down the river's dim expanse" to her death.
- "Heart Like a Wheel" (Kate and Anna McGarrigle) - a woman's stunned wonder at the loss of love, sung in sweet, high harmonies. "My heart is on that ship out in mid-ocean."
- "First We Take Manhattan" and "Famous Blue Raincoat" (Leonard Cohen, sung by Jennifer Warnes) - two moods, one sensibility, performed by one intelligent, expressive, no frills-singer.
- (Also, Cohen's "Hallelujah," sung by Rufus Wainwright.)
- "Humpty Dumpty" (Aimee Mann)- spare singing, with lyrics that perfectly express quiet despair ("all the perfect drugs and superheroes wouldn't be enough to bring me up to zero") .
- Honorable mention: Beatles "Things we said today", Supertramp "Take the long way home," Gerry Rafferty "The Ark," Richard & Mimi Farina "Children of darkness," Byrds "Mr. Tambourine man" and "Bells of Rhymney," Incredible String Band "Ducks on a pond."
- Samuel Barber, "Adagio for Strings." This would break and nourish my heart even if I had not once played it (viola) behind a passionate conductor.
- Gabriel Faure, "Pavane" and "Sicillienne" from Peleas et Melisande
- Chopin, "Waltz in C# minor," performed by Jon Kimura, whose graceful and light arpeggios bring to mind the ballerinas of "Les Sylphides." (Many pianists use the arpeggios as excuses for egotistical flourishes.)
- Modest Mussorgsky,"The Old Castle" from Pictures at an Exhibition. A ghostly troubador recounts the downfall of an ancient family. (My vision, not the artist's. This was my signature piece when I played piano.)
- Joaquin Rodrigo, "Fantasia para un Gentilhombre." A sunny portico where an aging gentleman recalls his rich life. (Best performance: John Williams.)
- Ralph Vaughan Williams, "The Lark Ascending" and "Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis." These are the two pieces of music I would choose if I only could choose two. They soar, they haunt, they soar again.
Ok, I'll tag Bridget, Stephanie, Caitlin, Kim, and anyone else who feels like being tagged. Just let me know, ok?
And now, for something completely different:
I had to frog the socks. Somehow, I got to the foot before I realized that they were big enough for Hagrid. (Yes, my gauge was almost perfect. Something went awry.) I shall start again, but with a ribbed pattern, and fewer stitches on the needles...