Monday, 4 November 2013

WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by music

Music is powerful: it conjures memories, emotions, and people and things of the past. It’s not only a trigger, but an outlet to express who we are. For this challenge, pick one song and write about it — or use it as inspiration for a post

Train Departure Solothurn Main Station

Music is part of my life, always has been. I have my likes, some dislikes, but I know it all. Growing up with the Beatles and Rolling Stones, I rode on the wave of beat music. I knew them all, listening to “Top of the Pops” every Sunday afternoon on the British radio. It was the day of the tape recorder, nothing like those digital iPoddy things of today, we had to do what we could. Listening to it all day after day, you learnt all the words, knew all the guitar riffs and it was just part of daily teenage life in the sixties.

At the same time I was having a musical education at school and not the rough stuff, but the greats. There was a bloke called Beethoven, he was deaf, but still managed to compose a few colourful symphonies with punch. Not exactly foot tapping stuff, but you could feel the atmosphere. Chopin was more on the gentle side of things, but churned out a revolutionary etude which could inspire any rebels stand up for their cause and I believe still today that Bach was the original inspiration for a jazz piano (apologies to Scott Joplin) with his two and three part inventions.

At the same time I was taking Piano lessons at school, naturally only the classics, and this for six years. I have always had a piano and have now progressed to an electric piano, full sized and still tickle the ivories. Luckily I have ear phones so that not all have to bear the torture of listening to the classics/pop songs with mistakes in the timing or notes.

So there I was, being confronted with beat and classic, my musical brain was partaking in a split identity and then I discovered the opera. Now do not laugh, I loved it. I was lucky to live in London, a music centre covering it all. My wages did not, however, cover the price of tickets for Covent Garden (the Carnegie Hall of London), so I could only manage a good seat at the Sadlers Wells opera house and I saw them all. Verdi, Rossini and even some good old Gilbert and Sullivan, the satirists of the Victorian age, everything being sung in English which was the Sadlers Wells way of performing.

Life was one muscal adventure and then I moved to Switzerland and was surrounded by the Italians, Germans and French. I had no chance. I discovered that these countries had their own ways of modern music. Names such as Francois Hardy, Adamo, Paolo Conte, Lucio Dalla, Udo Jürgens and Udo Lindenberg became known to me, singing songs at the top of their country’s hit parades, and I was singing along with them.

I then married Mr. Swiss, perhaps nothing special, but musically it was. Up to that time the only contact I had ever had with jazz was through a cousin of mine who was listening to Duke Ellington and Count Basie when Bill Haley was top of the hit parade. Mr. Swiss had a hobby, more than a hobby perhaps, but he played in a band, was the drummer and what did he play: jazz, not traditional but the real stuff, the bebop, mainstream Cannonball Adderly- Miles Davis-John Coltrane sort of thing. That completed my music education. After 44 years of marriage I can now say I am an amateur expert on jazz, naturally not a full blooded expert, but basically know what I am listening to. I would not want to hold a lecture or lead a discussion on who is the best and what version of a song is the better, but I recognise what I hear.

And now for my all time favourite, greatest song that I just love. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything I have written here, but perhaps with the photo at the top of the page of a train. Country music is not really my thing, I quite like its sing-songy casual way, but when I heard a song once it stayed with me. I even bought the record because I had to have it. Arlo Guthrie singing The City of New Orleans. I have absolutely no connection to the American Amtrak or whatever, and have never been to New Orleans, but journey of a train travelling through America and the scenes it witnesses on the way have a fascinating and wonderful musical accompaniment. I just love this song and so here it is. I am really not one for plastering videos all over my blogs, I find it a cheap way of saying something I want to say, but in this case it just belongs to the blog, so enjoy it as much as I do.

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1 comment:

  1. If anything, I'd say my tastes in music are even more eclectic than yours, Although if asked to choose just one song, as the prompt here has, I would find it impossible to do. Ask me the question a hundred times, get a hundred different answers.