Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ten Questions

By Hadleyblogger Bobby

Most of you have probably seen the latest blog meme asking you to name ten books that have affected your life in various ways. I thought it might be fun to answer this question with a twist - ten pieces of music (opera, showtunes, sacred songs, etc.) instead of books. Here goes:

1. One piece of music that changed your life.
Manon Lescaut by Puccini. My first, it taught me the virtues of attending opera. It was in May 2001 -- I never thought one opera led to more.

2. A piece you've listened to or performed more than once.
"The Majesty and Glory of Your Name". The sacred selection from Linda Lee Johnson and Tom Fettke was on the May 23, 2004 selection for my one year in choir. I called that song one of the two greatest 20th-century masterpieces -- the other was Carmina Burana from Carl Orff. Both selections are wonderful -- the former I sang, the latter I've watched.

Tragically, we won't do it at church again because our church music leader announced a change to an all-karaok√© format using exclusively pop/rock/hip-hop from one music publisher (BMG). The songs our leader now uses are worthless pop junk, and I can't see myself singing it because technique must be violated in order to "sing" this material! It does not have any message, as it focuses squarely on the beat. Besides, I’ve imposed a “no prerecorded accompaniment policy out of respect to the instrumentalists I have used when I sing. Consider I've paid cash and merchandise to my pianists and actually worked with my voice teacher in booking them, it's important I reward them for work.

3. A piece you'd want on a desert island.
I am still a whippersnapper on opera, but I'd love to go for the entire selection of sacred music from Johann Sebastian Bach.

4. A piece that made you laugh.
Gianni Schicchi by Puccini. I'll never forget this for an interesting reason. I was 26 and began taking voice just two and a half months earlier for the first time. My teacher was in the first of the Two by Puccini series. At intermission, she shed her costume for street clothes, and sat behind me (!) to attend this. The unethical manner of Buoso's will had me giggling, and a week later, in my last lesson of the session, she appeared, and we developed a friendship.

A Rush Limbaugh parody of the famous aria (O mio babbino caro) from that opera sometimes has me quoting Mike Joy, asking that the offender be headed to the Oval Office. (In NASCAR Nextel Cup racing, the mobile trackside office is sometimes called the "Oval Office" for its logo on the office.)

Speaking of the Oval Office, the MTV Video Music Awards are coming soon, and I am firing the engine in the truck, bringing a few friends (all classical), and loading the truck to we can arrive to write summons.

5. A piece that made you cry.
Carousel by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Billy Bigelow's death, and the consoling of Julie Jordan had me on the edge of my seat, worth that 2 1/2 hour drive in Darlington County (thanks to the idiot judge in Texas who told NASCAR to take away the Nextel Cup's Grand Slam by taking a major away from Florence-Myrtle Beach [Darlington] for a so-so race at Fort Worth, and teams dislike that!) that April evening.

Keep in mind it had been less than 20 weeks since those last days in the hospital as my father lost his battle with stomach cancer, and I kept my composure during those days. The first persons I went after his death were the college chaplain I had whilst a student, and a friend who runs the state chapter of the National Right to Life organization. I didn't feel strong to be around family after one member of the family actually wanted my pastor thrown out of the hospital room.

6. A piece you wish had been written or composed.
One about the stupidity of the judicial activists who are destroying the country. I'd love to see an opera based on the books of Ann Coulter or Bill O'Reilly, or in support of Our Brave Troops.

7. A piece you wish had never been written or composed (or performed).
For me? Any of the "modern worship" or the "A Praise and Worship (Holiday)" programmes, especially from Bertelsmann. It is doublespeak for "rock and roll spoken here". Teens think jeans, tee-shirts, shorts, and ragged looks are appropriate for church. The kids love the idea that the message doesn't matter, and only the beat matters. This means if the song has a good beat, regardless of message or no message, do it. Not a good thing.

It seems now the adage is get the new album from Chris Tomlin or the next hot "worship leader", then get the guitar tablatures, and play the songs the next Sunday. It turns church into a Top 40 radio station, and more adults are growing concerned of this. Too many have sold out to the virtues of MTV. I can't stand it. I am not 18. (For more on the effects of this kind of music, check out this article.)

8. A piece you're currently listening to or performing.
I am working on an art song, "Ein juengling liebt ein maedchen" and enjoying my first foray into German.

9. A piece you've been meaning to listen to or perform.
Handel's Messiah.

10. A CD you've bought but haven't yet listened to.
I haven't purchased a new CD that has not been listened, but I would like to get the Ohio Lyric Opera CD's which included Jami Rhodes. Jami is my teacher's friend, they did a recital in their last week of grad school, and they are friends to the point she helped me in my informal recital at my teacher's home.

As for passing it on, anyone care to add their own choices?

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