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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

MUSINGS OF A MEANDERING MIND: JUNE 08 (article first published : 2008-07-10)

This month Bevs been Musing about Music and Mortality but, not to become TOO Morbid, shes also been Reaping the Rewards of Riffling through her Remarkably wide-Ranging collection of Recordings, Rediscovering a Veritably Voluminous Variety of Virtuoso Vocalists!

Catching a re-run of that highly entertaining detective series, MONK, in a late-night slot on TV recently, I found myself reflecting that possibly because Im a Capricorn I too have some innately obsessive and/or compulsive characteristics, though Id not go so far as to say its (yet) reached disorder proportions, as it has with the charming Mr Monk, assistant to the police force in solving mysterious deaths.

For instance, though I baulk at the thought of drinking tap water, I dont have my kitchen counters piled right to the ceiling with BOTTLED water, just in case theres a sudden shortage of that particular commodity! However, watching his amusing character traits en-route to solving the mystery of the murder of the individual at whose funeral hes more involved with trimming the flower arrangements so the stems are all of equal length than listening to plaudits about the mans character, I had to laugh at mySELF - for, at that very moment, I was noticing that the collection of green candles Id moved in order to dust my entertainment unit were now UN-evenly spaced, and such was my preoccupation with THAT fact that I was missing out on several clues which might have assisted me in guessing whodunnit!

And THAT particular memorial service may well have been the reason I found myself dwelling, at bedtime, on the fact that I keep changing my mind about the music Id like played at my OWN funeral one day! Perhaps thats because, in my hobby of music-collecting now the twilight years are upon me, I keep coming across fresh pieces that move me more than the ones I had in mind five or even ten years back. Friends and family are constantly teasing me and saying that anyone would think I shall personally be seated right there in the front pew in order to enjoy the musical concert! About a decade ago I had a lengthy list of songs appended to my will; more recently Ive narrowed it down to just two or three. However, it was whilst putting together a mellow musical medley recently on my computer (for my own listening pleasure) that I came across a name Id not heard in a long while, and that was John Miles. His famous composition, simply titled Music has been recorded in Italian by the delectable quartet known as Il Divo (as Musica), and its a truly passionate rendition they give!

Now, my memorys normally pretty good, and MOST of the words to the ORIGINAL Music could be recalled, yet I had to go to a website specialising in listing words of songs in order to fill in a gap here and there. And, now that Ive written down these two simple verses (which are repeated over and over, passionately and melodically) Ive reached the conclusion that just this ONE song will say it all. Everything people need to know about me especially in the LAST phase of my life - can be summed up by THESE simple words that come from the mind, the pen (and probably the heart) of John Miles, if I may be permitted to quote them here:

Music was my first love: And it will be my last/ Music of the future/ And music of the past To live without my music Would be impossible to do / Cause in this world of troubles / My music pulls me through

Yes, indeed, its been building up a fine collection of classics and excellent covers of pop classics these past few years thats seen me through a few miserable spells of both physical and mental pain (the details of which I shall spare you) that has resulted in an enormous collection of musical medleys compiled personally that bring me enormous enjoyment (and comfort, too, let it be said) when I have to take to my bed for brief bouts of relief from chronic back pain.

In fact, Ive just spent a highly enjoyable week (having been housebound, due to a bad fall never a good thing when ones passed the Big Six-O) riffling through my female soprano collection, since Ive been in the mood for the virtues of some gentle vocalising as opposed to too many wordy pieces. And on this score Id like to make mention of a Variety of Voluptuously Versatile Virtuosos, many well-known, others perhaps less so.

Im particularly fond of a Barbra Streisand album called simply Classical Barbra which features a collection of famous works my particular favourite being Lascia chio pianga, which I also have by a whole variety of other wonderful sopranos but also some sheer vocalising of an almost dreamlike quality. Then theres Sarah Brightman, whos enjoyed her fair share of the musical limelight for several decades, yet it was really only when I very recently purchased two albums Id not considered before namely Time To Say Goodbye, which features several superb duets (apart from that particular one with Andrea Bocelli), my favourites being Just Show Me How To Love You and also There For Me with Jos Cura, and her eponymous album, released in the UK in 1999! that I found I enjoyed her voice more than Id imagined I would after seeing her perform in the flesh, so to speak, on television over the years. I also had a lucky break in picking up, on sale from the CNA., her rather oceanically-themed album called Dive, which has also become a treasured addition to The Media Library of Moi!

Natasha Marsh and Katherine Jenkins, two Welsh-born singers, also delight with their style and range (on Natashas album, Amour, Im particularly fond of the track just called Vocalise) And a more recent discovery for me, at any rate has been the twosome known collectively as Opera Babes (namely Rebecca Knight and Karen England) who, on their album Beyond Imagination, churn out a wealth of well-known and beloved classics, but done with their own inimitable twist!

On this CD Ive decided my two favourites are Theres a Place (from The New World Symphony) and You Live On In My Heart (from Cinema Paradiso) though ALL 15 tracks are well executed and enjoyabl, IF you like their style. Also, one cant fail to include Charlotte Church (in her early days, that is) and then, my ALL-time favourite female performer, New Zealander, Hayley Westenra, where Id be EXTREMELY hard-pressed to voice a preference for any ONE single favourite track, as there are just SO many truly terrific ones from her many different albums!

And THAT is how MY month has gone Resting & Recuperating, Musing on Music (and Mortality!) and Making Medleys!

And right now Durbans facing July Season with all the fun & frolics THAT entails so let us pray this absolutely wondrous weather weve enjoyed during our winter thus far will continue just a LITTLE longer! Till next time Keep the Music Playing! - Bev Pul (30 June 2008)




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