Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Music & the way we are .... or were
You and I both, buddy ....
While the band Foreigner never was among my favorites, over the years some of the group's songs most certainly have been -- and, "I Want to Know What Love Is" tops my list. Listen to it and see if you do not agree. This is pretty darn good music coming from another one of those mean, nasty, raunchy rock and roll outfits, right?
Louis Grammatico, better known as Lou Gramm, had a powerful voice as a young man, but it faded over the years, as do the looks, bodies and, yes, even the voices of so many of us. Having a brain tumor reportedly had more to do with these changes in Gramm than did the natural processes of aging but, in the end, only the effects matter, not the process which created them.
Here are two renditions of this lovely love song, both live, the first from a 1985 concert and the second about 17 years later, at a 2002 concert. In a way, it is sort of sad watching the second version, with Gramm's less resonant voice, but absolute determination to give it his best effort. To quote our old and dear friend, Alfred, Lord Tennyson: "O death in life, the days that are no more."
Song : "I Want to Know What Love Is"
Recording No. 1 -- live performance, 1985
Recording No. 2 -- live performance, 2002
This one is for me ....
Without a doubt, I love "Ride of the Valkyries" from Richard Wagner's thunderous opera, "Die Walkure" = "The Valkyrie." It is the second of four operas that form "The Ring of the Nibelung." After briefly mentioning operas a few days ago, I thought I would add this note: I can safely say this is one opera I would love to attend. I am not certain more powerful music than this exists.
Possibly, my addiction to it stems from my Norse/Germanic ancestry. Perhaps, it simply comes from the audacity and the strength of the music. Whichever makes no difference. The music brings to mind the tale of a Viking telling a priest, "I believe in the strength of my own right arm." That goes for me, too.
For those not familiar with this mythology/religion, Valkyries are maidens who ride to battle fields to collect the bodies of the slain who died bravely, and then to escort them to Valhalla, the great hall of the chief god, Odin. This collection process is what is happening in this scene from the third act.
The presentation we are watching here, of course, is not a full stage production with costumes and choreographed movements. It is an orchestral arrangement, with the performers-singers (the Valkyries) all in a row, content to allow their voices and their facial expressions to tell the tale. The location of this event, the orchestra and the singers are unknown to me.
Incidentally, I need not personally worry about making it to Odin's great hall at Valhalla. The goddess Freyja already has promised me that I will have a seat in her great hall at Folkvangr. Freyja, among other things, is the goddess of love, beauty, fertility, war, battle, death, magic, prophecy and wealth. I think I have it made.
Opera: "Die Walkure" by Richard Wagner
Song: "Ride of the Valkyries"