30 July 2010

Rufus and other delights

Marquee for Rufus Wainwright

Was it only 3 weeks ago when we saw Rufus Wainwright in concert? Between Stuff Happening, insufferable heat, Big Decisions to be made, and everything else eddying around, I have totally lost track of time. 

Yes, 3 weeks ago, we saw Rufus in concert in the Hamptons on a hot, muggy night in an old, rather scruffy theatre. He sang many songs from his new CD, some older songs from older CDs, a few songs with his father, Loudon Wainwright III, and then two really old songs by Hector Berlioz from the song cycle Les Nuits d'Été.  

Rather ruefully, he said he'd sung the entire Berlioz cycle a few years ago and gotten such horrible reviews that he dug back into the music, determined to master it. I was happy with what I heard, but I can understand how purists might have been upset with Wainwright's lack of distance from the lyrics, or the lack of classical consistency in his voice.  I was happy because he inhabited the song as surely as his father inhabited "The Swimming Song" and others he sang about the death of his own father.

Let me share the two songs with you. The first is Rufus, the second is Loudon. Enjoy!

Here is the English translation of Gautier's poem: 
Open your closed eyelid
Which is gently brushed by a virginal dream!
I am the ghost of the rose
That you wore last night at the ball.
You took me when I was still sprinkled with pearls
Of silvery tears from the watering-can,
And, among the sparkling festivities,
You carried me the entire night.

O you, who caused my death:
Without the power to chase it away,
You will be visited every night by my ghost,
Which will dance at your bedside.
But fear nothing; I demand
Neither Mass nor De Profundis;
This mild perfume is my soul,
And I've come from Paradise.

My destiny is worthy of envy;
And to have a fate so fine,
More than one would give his life
For on your breast I have my tomb,
And on the alabaster where I rest,
A poet with a kiss
Wrote: "Here lies a rose,
Of which all kings may be jealous."


Penny said...

3 cheers for the whb performing arts center! now if it had been renovated when i still lived there. (I saw Bambi there when i was little. Yes, I cried. It was my first movie.)

KSD said...

Rufus sounds terrific. Critics --- feh.

Stacey said...

Thank you for your links. I listened to them both and enjoyed them. I must admit my first for both, but my horizon has been broadened once again by you my friend.

Always a pleasure to read your blog.

Carrie K said...

Sounds fab! I'll come back and enjoy the songs when this miserable migraine goes away.

sunt_lacrimae_rerum said...

I'm so glad that you saw this. How wonderful. I love Rufus (and Martha, and Loudon--and his incomparable late mother and aunt). Superb!

Anonymous said...

All roads lead to Rome. 堅持自己所選!............................................................

Anonymous said...

Poverty is stranger to industry.........................................

Carrie K said...

Hey, where is your birthday post??

Happy Birthday! And many more!