The fascinating Mistress Maddie chose me as one of the recipients of the Music and Words award - - and as a recipient, I'm required to answer some questions pertaining to music.
I usually don't "do" awards, eulogies, or circumcisions, BUT - since the subject is dear to my heart - I will acquiesce.
Also, as a recipient, I'm supposed to bestow the award on four (I think it's four) other bloggers of my choice. I'm going to politely refrain from doing this, because I don't want pick "favorites" and ruffle feathers - - or have anyone stick pins in a Jon voodoo doll. Don't snicker - - it's a possibility.
Here are the Q & As:
What does music mean to you?
There is no doubt whatsoever that music is the universal language. It speaks to everyone - regardless of age, gender, nationality, or rank - and it speaks with an intensely unique personal language, that becomes our very own. Musical tastes vary greatly and encompass an infinite range of variations - but one thing is certain: everybody likes music.
Music has been my greatest passion for as long as I can remember. It has provided a comfort, solace, and emotional satisfaction that could never be equaled. Music delighted and fascinated me when I was too young to fully understand what it was - - and it provided a wealth of psychological and spiritual satisfaction later on. Music is definitely food for the soul.
I've had the privilege of enjoying music on many emotional levels, since I was not only a lover of music but also a professional musician. Studying the components of music and all its structural complexities adds new dimensions to its value.
For me, music always invokes special memories and induces incredibly strong sentiments. Every phase of my life has been filled with music. Every aspect of my existence resonates with melodic ghosts and harmonious echos of my past.
Does that sound too poetic? Probably. I should quit while I'm ahead, but I'll add one more thing: music is timeless.
What is your first music related memory?
I have a lot of early musical memories. Both of my parents loved a wide range of music, so I was exposed to all types of music at a very early age.
One particular memory stands out. I was probably two years old - - no more than three. I was with my maternal grandmother and we were in the attic of her house. She was doing some sort of work in there, I don't recall what. The window was wide open and the warm air was filled with the gentle scent of blossoms and flowers. My grandmother started singing Over the Rainbow. She was a serene, gentle woman and she had an incredibly beautiful voice. I listened spellbound. It was the first time I ever heard that song and I never forgot it.
My father was obsessed with country music....and Hungarian music. What a combo! He had tons of old records and played them constantly. I was practically weaned on Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, and Kitty Wells.....not to mention the csardas.
I remember being completely mesmerized by the Hanks Williams song Kaw-Liga. The minor key and the tom-tom beat sort of frightened me but I loved it nevertheless.
My greatest musical influence, by far, was my mother. I had never heard her play the piano until I was six years old. At that time we still didn't have a piano. She played on a grand piano in an auditorium near where we lived and I was entranced.
My Mom wasn't merely a pianist, she was a gifted virtuoso and my greatest musical influence. She had performed on the radio in Trenton when she was fourteen years old and won numerous awards. She was also my first piano teacher, when I was ten years old (that's when we finally got a piano). I am indebted to her for introducing me to a wide variety of music, including the classics.
What was the first album you ever purchased yourself?
I bought my first album when I was eleven years old. The Mozart piano concerto in A major K.488, Rudolf Serkin pianist.
When I recently moved from Texas to Tennessee the movers "lost" my entire record collection and all of my deceased mother's piano music. It couldn't have been a greater loss if it had been a death. I never got over it.
What is the latest music you purchased?
I haven't purchased any music in an extremely long time. I usually download it from the Internet.
What is the very last song you listened to before writing this post? Be honest!
A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
(heard it this afternoon - honest!)
AND (drumroll inserted here)
the final scene from Puccini's opera Suor Angelica (which I watched several times last night)
I'm sure nobody will watch the video, but here it is anyway. In my humble opinion Suor Angelica is a masterpiece - this final scene never fails to completely overwhelm me.
The plot? In a nutshell -
An unmarried woman has a child. The baby is taken away from her and she is sent to a convent as punishment. She becomes known as Sister Angelica, cultivator of flowers.
Seven years later Sister Angelica learns that her son has died. In a dream, he implores her to meet him in heaven. She plans to take her own life, by ingesting a concoction of poisoned flowers. After she drinks the potion she realizes that suicide is a sin and she will be damned forever. After imploring Mother Mary for mercy, she dies - as she sees a vision of her son.
Soprano Barbara Frittoli is Angelica
and if you want to see an even more powerful interpretation, watch Renata Scotto
(unfortunately the final notes are cut off on this tape)