Great Music Chapter 28 (IMPORTANT UPDATE)
This week in Great Music involved a very quick change of subjects. Let me explain. I had just finished writing an article on the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. I was in the process of attaching the article and images in an email to Joe to put up on TMV when that annoying ding announcing a new email had arrived. I was looking for the setting where I could turn off the ding for new messages when I looked at who had sent the email. It was from a former student and in the email it said “ Thank You for giving me the love of music. Here is a YouTube you should watch in the spirit of a mutual love of music. WARNING – do not open the YouTube before you have two boxes of Kleenex at your side. Love Anita”.
I should probably explain the Kleenex remark. My students quickly learn I have no defense against good music. When I hear good music, it goes straight to my soul and opens the dam in my eyes so I shed many tears. In fact, my advanced students always look out of the corner of their eyes when playing to see if there are tears rolling down my cheeks. If they see tears, they know they are playing very well and they just got a compliment on their playing that mere words cannot match.
You can well imagine that in reading this intriguing email, I had no choice but to put poor Edvard Grieg away and pursue this new possibility. This is the YouTube that I opened in her email:
Time to Say Goodbye or in Italian Con te partirò
I opened the video and for 3 minutes, time and space vanished as earthly physical properties. I don’t know what dimension I was in for those 3 minutes but it was certainly more than the conventional three. Anita seriously underestimated the Kleenex requirement as I became a wellspring of tears. I was acutely aware that as more tears flowed, it opened up more room in my body to be filled with this glorious music. The video features two of my favorite vocalists, Sarah Brightman and the incomparable Andrea Bocelli.
The music for Con te partiro was written by an obscure Italian composer, Francesco Sartori in the 1970’s and to my knowledge it is the only piece of music he has ever written that is still in print. Yet in that one brief moment in Franceso’s life, he and the rest of the world received a gift from G-d of incomparable beauty.
Sarah Brightman, born in England in 1960 was trained as a singer at the Royal College of Music in London, She has been a cross-over artist singing a combination of classical and popular music while also starring in numerous musicals, like Cats. In fact, while appearing in Cats, she met and married Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer of Cats, for 6 years. In addition to appearing in concerts all over the world she has managed to sell millions of CD’s of her music.
Andrea Bocelli, born in a small Italian town in 1959 was almost aborted as a fetus because the doctor discovered congenital defects mainly in the eyes but his parents, in the end decided to go ahead with the birth. Bocelli had great difficulty seeing as a child but after being hit in the head with a soccer ball at age 12, completely lost any remaining sight.
In my imagination, I can see G-d contemplating this development in Bocelli’s life and going to one his His angels and telling him, I need to borrow your voice for a few decades and installing that voice in Bocelli. This voice was a compensating Gift from G-d, and compensating Gifts from G-d is something I have personal knowledge of.
Bocelli’s father loved listening to Italian tenors and young Bocelli would sing mimicking the singing on those records. Unlike Brightman, Bocelli did not have much in the way of formal music training growing up, but being a natural singer he did not need much. Bocelli exploded on the international scene with his singing, sometimes solo and sometimes duets like this video with Brightman. Earlier he had similar success teaming up with Celine Dion on a song called “The Prayer”.
There are moments in music where the beauty of what one is hearing produces “goosebumps” Here is a hope that you get goosebumps too.
TMV NOTE: The second part of this post did not appear in its original publication due to a glitch. We regret the error.