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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Most Beautiful Song?

I wasn't able to sleep last night, not an uncommon problem these days, so I decided to spend some time going through the music on my Blackberry.  This is one of the technological advances that I appreciate the most, for all my objection to many others...  The ability to listen to music anytime and anywhere.  What fun to be able to take your favorite compositions with you wherever you go!  Of course, this does not apply to the guy stopped next to me at the traffic light today...  His little souped-up Geo practically rising above the ground with the pounding bass of his latest Hip Hop download...  But, I digress (as usual).

Going through the music that I thought was most relaxing, I came across a few favorites that I seem to have multiple versions of.  I've already told you of my fondness for "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", and who doesn't love ABBA's "Dancing Queen" and "Kisses of Fire"?  I've already accepted that Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and Ray Conniff and His Singers may not find as many fans as one would hope, but I still like them.  But last night, I was trying to decide which of these classics stirred me the most...  There's
"The Holy City", best performed by Mahalia Jackson.  The first time I heard this song I couldn't get enough of it.  It wasn't just the message, but I loved the tune, the power and the strength.  "In the Bleak Midwinter" is a newer discovery for me, haunting, clear and so reminiscent of it's title.  And then, reaching almost to the top of my list, Mozart's "Ave Verum" and Puccini's "Nessun Dorma".  But, as far as I am concerned, if I had to choose the most beautiful song ever, it would have to be "Ave Maria".  You might think, in light of last night's post, that I am on a particularly religious streak.  To be honest, the tune of "Ave Maria" alone is enough to captivate me, the message is something altogether different.  And, of course, there's not just one "Ave Maria".  There's Bach's version, Gounod, Schubert...  probably others as well.  While I am partial to Schubert, I love them all almost equally.  Is it a coincidence that most of these selections were performed by Luciano Pavarotti?  Probably not...

Our musical tastes are really very personal.  Each of us may respond to the same piece of music in entirely different ways.  But one of the common experiences with many pieces are their ability to take us away from the mundane cares of the here and now and let our spirits soar.  Sometimes I just want to listen to a good song.  At other times I want to be truly moved and to appreciate something so big and so grand that the secret to it's creation is forever a mystery.

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