14 July 2007

Frog and denim, music and ink

First, the music meme that Dorothy tagged me with (because if I start with the frogging, I'll just rant).

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."
Next, classical.

  • 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.
I could go on - and on - and on -

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...


Dorothy said...

Thank you for accepting the tag. It was fun and iteresting to see the different music prefrences and ablities of everyone. I learn so much from things like this. Now I'm going to have to go and listen to some of the music you listed.
Sorry about you socks.

Dorothy said...

Forgive the spelling, I got a new pair of glasses yesterday, stronger prescription and I'm not quite used to them yet.

chittavrtti said...

For the socks you might try using a smaller needle size. I will most likely have to frog the foot of my scarlett knee high (and yes it is kichenered closed alreasyd. Too many rows in the heel. As Stephanie says "I like to knit, I like to knit.." ;) **C*V

Jennifer said...

I love Loreena McKennitt!

Too bad about the socks, but the good thing is socks are smaller projects so it's not as painful to frog them.

pixie girl said...

Oh dear, the socks...they will rise like the phoenix again. I try to rip like I mean it. Like I'm tearing someone's head off. Did I just say that? No, I'm sure I have no one's head to tear off :).

You and Carrie K make me feel much smarter with your posts like this - thanks for sharing the music with us :)!

meeyauw said...

SHOOT! I forgot the Vaughn-Williams Tallis piece and it is important to both me and my kids. I'm putting it on even tho I made my list.

I like the organization of your list and your reasoning. I wasn't able to describe my reasons.

meeyauw said...

That is the exact same version I continue to buy over and over again as my copies wear out (now on iTunes).

My update is up. thank you for writing.

Riggwelter said...

aww sorry to hear about the socks. keep at it!

I've always wanted to know who sang "Heart like a Wheel" (I know I could have looked it up) and "Famous Blue Raincoat" is one of my favourite Cohen songs.

KSD said...

I'm just seeing the tag --- this one will take a while. Not that I don't have the songs --- trying to decide what I want to make public

Congratulations on the Rockin' Girl award; much deserved!

KnitNana said...

I enjoyed seeing so many of my favorites in your list! :)
And socks are like that. Sometimes you just need to try again!
(but then that's why I only do the same foot (toe-up, stockinette) and vary a lace pattern on the cuff!

Paula said...

I am truly in love with Tennyson's 'The Lady of Shalott' and Loreena McKennitt does a fantastic job capturing the sound of his works!
I also really like just about all the others you listed too!

Carrie K said...

Hallelujah sung by Jeff Buckley. His is the best. The best! No contest!

Bridget said...

OK, I finally got around to choosing my music. Feel free to be amused ...