Monday, June 16, 2008

30 days begin now/meaningful lyrics

Attention gentle readers: Prepare for an onslaught of regular blog posts. I hereby pledge to post a new blog post EVERY SINGLE DAY for the next 30 days. I am not saying they will be interesting, just that they will be existent. hehehe.

So let's begin with another installment of "meaningful lyrics", shall we?

Today I find myself humming a gorgeous, haunting tune by Gabriel Faure.... Les Berceaux. Here, a translation and a video (of a violin arrangement.... alas, I couldn't find a vocal recording on youtube that I felt captured the beauty of the piece.)
Along the quay, the great ships
that ride the swell in silence
take no notice of the cradles
that the hands of the women rock.

But the day of farewells will come,
when the women must weep,
and curious men are tempted
towards the horizons that lure them!

And that day the great ships
sailing away from the vanishing port
feel their bulk held back
by the soul of the distant cradles.

It is no secret that Faure is a master of lyrical tunes, and this one puts me immediately at a grey, lonely seaside, full of anxious longing.

It also brings to mind another great great piece of music with a similar theme.... the women's quartet in Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes. This is truly one of the most beautiful moments in operatic history...and story has it that Britten almost cut it from the score as he felt it was to commercial sounding or what have you. Anyway, it is the song of four women who live and work in a fishing village and their relationship with the men there. If you have not heard it, you simply is available on itunes, and it is breathtaking. At once lush and spare and haunting. (Hear a short clip here)

I cannot find a copy of the text but this is what I recall:
From the gutter, why should we trouble at their ribaldries?
And shall we be ashamed because we comfort men from ugliness?
Do we smile or do we weep or wait quietly till they sleep?

When in storm they shelter here and we soothe their fears away.
We know they'll whistle their good-byes next fine day, and put to sea.
On the manly calendar we only mark heroic days.
Do we smile or do we weep or wait quietly till they sleep?

They are children when they weep.
We are mothers when they strive, schooling our own hearts
to keep the bitter treasure of their love.
Do we smile or do we weep or wait quietly till they sleep?
I think what calls to me in both texts is the idea of grown men as children, and the maternal love that is a part of the man/woman relationship. There is so much tenderness and inherent pain.

Ya know, I find I want to share this stuff, but words kind of fail me.... I guess that is what music is all about, really.... expressing a truth that transcends our ability to verbalize. My ability anyway. thank god there is music that will do it for me.

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