Once, in the distant past (a.k.a. the mid-eighties), I bought a cassette tape by a group I'd never heard before: Everything But the Girl. I was disappointed. The songs weren't at all to my taste. Except one. Though I was a teenager I appreciated its sentiment (probably because of my aforementioned fear of nuclear holocaust).
The Night I Heard Caruso Sing (mp3)
(by Everything But the Girl)
The highlands and the lowlands are the roots my fathers knows:
The holidays at Oban and the towns around Montrose.
But even as he sleeps, they're loading bombs into the hills,
And the water in the lochs can run deep but never still.
I've thought of having children but I've gone and changed my mind;
It's hard enough to watch the news let alone explain it to a child,
To cast your eye 'cross nature, over fields of rape and corn,
And tell him without flinching not to fear where he's been born.
Then someone sat me down last night and I heard Caruso sing!
He's almost as good as Presley, and if I only do one thing
I'll sing songs to my father, I'll sing songs to my child.
It's time to hold your loved ones while the chains are loosed
And the world runs wild
And even as we speak they're loading bomb onto a white train
How can we afford to ever sleep so sound again?
Now that I am older, and nuclear holocaust is less on my mind, the song resonates differently, but no less powerfully. The song makes a compelling argument that the little beauties in the little beauties in the world are more significant than the large spots of ugliness: the honeyed voice of one man is enough to compensate for the prospect of war.
I love this song.
Enrico Caruso could sing. He was the most famous tenor in the world, one the most popular recording artist of the early twentieth century. Despite the primitive recording equipment available at the time, the power of Caruso's voice is audible to today's listeners.
I first heard Caruso when I downloaded a recording of "O Sole Mio"(mp3). It was amazing, the first opera recording I'd ever liked (though, admittedly, my exposure to opera has been quite limited). Now I own a couple of Caruso CDs, and though I do not listen to them often, they're sometimes just what I need.
Other Caruso audio clips revealed by a brief search:
- Vesti la giubba MP3 from I Pagliacci (March 1907)
- Bella figlia dell'amore AU from Verdi's Rigoletto (January 1917)
- Mi Par d'udir AIFF
- La Donna e mobile MP3 from Verdi's Rigoletto
On this day at foldedspace.org
2005 — WU Sunriver Weekend 2005 We spent a lovely weekend in Sunriver with our Willamette friends.
2002 — Happy Place II: Mamma Mia For the past ninety minutes I've been listening to a single ABBA song over and over again...