Saturday, April 17, 2010

Opera Music

It was almost 30 years ago (just before Bridget was born) when I “discovered” opera.

I had always liked classical music, even in high school, but never listened to opera. It must have been 1981 when I got a sampler album from Maxell (makers of cassette tapes), with various musical selections on it, and one was the closing movement from Verdi’s Requiem. I liked it so much that I wanted to find more music like that, so I checked out some Verdi opera music from the library and liked it. I watched Puccini’s “Tosca” on Boise’s public TV station about this time, and really enjoyed it (it may be my favorite opera to this day). So I graduated from Verdi to Puccini. I liked the Pilgrim’s Chorus from a Mormon Tabernacle Choir tape, so I picked up some Wagner opera music as well. These were my three main composers, as well as some Mozart. I belonged to a classical record club so I added some opera LPs to my collection.

Over the years I’m sure the girls remember going to productions of the Portland Opera downtown. But in recent years I haven’t listened to opera much.

A few weeks ago Steven showed us some music on youtube (“Saul”) that their choir was performing, and it reminded me of Verdi’s Requiem. So I dusted off my old LP and listened to it a bunch. That started the ball rolling again so I have been listening to many of my old LPs and have begun the process of transferring my collection to mp3. Ah, such glorious music!

Here is a link to the beginning of Verdi’s stirring and powerful Requiem.

and the conclusion:

Here is the exquisite finale from Wagner’s “Parsifal”. The goosebumps start kicking in at around 1:55 to 2:55.

Puccini composed so much beautiful music how do I pick one sample? But here is the heart wrenching finale of La Boheme.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More spring

It is a typical spring in the Pacific Northwest. A couple of days of marvelous warm sunny weather, followed by several days of unsettled cool weather. I was riding my bike in shorts and shirtsleeves the other day, luxuriating in the novelty. And then it turned back to winter-like weather. Stormy, windy, cold.
Here is the view today looking west outside my window at work. I take note of the snow on the Coast Range peaks. Granted, it wasn't cold enough to snow down here, but this is an indication of the colder, wet weather we've had the past few days.
My memories of spring weather go back to T-ball games with our smaller children, then high school track meets and tennis matches. I remember watching these one day in warm sunshine, and another in the most unpleasant cold and wind.
Ah, but I love spring. The ever increasing daylight hours and prospects of nice weather (not to be reliably realized until July). The newness of life all around. The blossoms, the many shades of green. And soon the annual planting of flowers in our front yard.