October 28, 2013

After the storm there is singing



I think the frelling rain last night left bruises—hellcritters certainly wanted me to think so—but other than that we got off pretty lightly around here.  I have some seriously unhappy dahlias and a kamikaze geranium but I did NOT lose any of those huge unmovable pots I’ve got braced up in a foolhardy manner at the top of the outside half-flight to the greenhouse and the bins.  I took the little pots down off their various walls and posts and wedged them all in up there between bins, water-butt and house walls (mine and Theodora’s) and they’re all fine . . . so long as I move them back again before someone stumbles up there expecting to be able to walk on the ground.  Me, pre-caffeine, for example.*  I also, very late last night, got out of bed and padded downstairs and out into the screaming gale in my nightgown to unhook the frelling hanging basket from the front of the house.  It and I both came dripping indoors again.**

We do have some trees down and as hellhounds and I were sprinting off toward Nadia at 10:15 this morning there were several tailbacks where the road was down to a single lane:  the heroic road-clearers with their electric vorpal blades had been out since dawn, but they were still at the clear-one-lane-and-get-on-to-next-total-blockage stage.  Tonight the wind is still frisking around rather—making early compost out of all those autumn leaves—and the electricity is also still bleeping off and on, much to the consternation of our older technology***, and the internet did say hahahahahaha you must be joking for a while last night at the cottage.  But according to the meteorologists (if you believe meteorologists) the worst is over.

I made it to Nadia’s.  It has not been a good week, for singing or anything else—some of this will be brought out of the shadows, dusted down, its hands examined for stickiness, and introduced on the blog†—and I went in clutching my music with no great hopes of anything.  But I . . . sang again.  This is almost becoming a habit.  Golly.  I do feel I need to keep reminding you that we are talking relative here.  On an absolute scale where Beverly Sills is a ten and the East Water Vole Debating Society’s surprise performance of CATS in which Old Deuteronomy is played by a Dalmatian dog named Spot is a one, I am somewhere between .0025 and .003, depending on the kind of day I’m having.

This is nonetheless significantly up from being an ungradeable tinny wailing from the void.  I was trying to explain to Nadia that having any voice at all is disconcerting and in a weird way it feels like starting all over again because I have no control over it.  Yes, she said immediately, it’s like when you change up from the 14 hand New Forest pony to the 15.3 thoroughbred.  Yes.  That is very like—even if it’s a thoroughbred you got cheap because nobody else wants it.  It’s still 15.3 . . . which is a lot bigger than your pony . . . and it wants to work.  Which brings me to the next thing I was trying to explain to Nadia:  I now sort-of have a voice, which I have attained by ridiculous struggle, but here it is.  And there is apparently responsibility involved.  How more-than-ridiculous is that.  It’s like a dog is for life and not just for Christmas:  if I don’t give my voice regular exercise and attention it sits in a corner looking at me with large sad forlorn eyes.  MCKINLEY.  GET A GRIP.††

I still frelling go to frelling pieces as soon as I have to sing an actual song.  Let’s just stay with exercises where I have a prayer of remembering everything.  THERE’S TOO MUCH TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO SING A REAL SONG.  And I don’t mean memorizing the lyrics, although when I do—usually inadvertently, from pounding through the poor thing so often bits of it helplessly adhere—that actually helps because it’s one less thing to have to remember consciously†††.  Meanwhile you’re trying to negotiate the jungle full of things with teeth of maintaining air space and support, keeping your huge fat tongue out of the way, melody, dynamics, meaning, emotional commitment and expressiveness, twiddly bits and so on. . . .

I’m presently rather madly floundering among not one, not two but three Mozart arias, all in Italian.  Well, I love Mozart, I can just about sing Italian‡, and the prospect of my ever singing Verdi even as an amateur doofus are not at all good.‡‡ And then Nadia told me I had done very well with my first German song‡ AND SHE GAVE ME A NEW ONE TO LEARN.


* * *

* Gwyn_sully

I hope none of you are at your best and brightest when you’re reading it and, if I’m lucky, making amusing/interesting/engaged comments on the forum.

Oh yes. I read this blog as part of my morning routine during the work week. Aka prior to caffeine ingestion. . . .

You can READ before caffeine?!?  You can make your EYES FOCUS and your BRAIN TRANSLATE THOSE SQUIGGLES BEFORE CAFFEINE?  I’m so impressed.

** I would probably have risked it for myself but I was having visions of a freak tornado throwing it through some neighbour’s window.

*** I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR SELF-SETTING CLOCKS.  Especially when frelling Daylight Savings Time has just begun/ended less than twenty-four hours before a major power-chopping storm.

† And some of it won’t.

†† The development of some kind of singing capacity is not unlike my struggles on the end of a bell-rope.  When I was a young ringing thing groping through trebling to bob doubles . . . progressing in time to the horror the horror of ringing bob doubles inside . . . the idea of ringing Stedman was beyond my capability to imagine.  And that was just Stedman doubles.  Stedman triples was something that only happened among superhumans.

Well.  No.  I ring Stedman triples.  I don’t ring it very frelling well, I’d better be on the one or, if it’s a only plain course, maybe the two and I’m totally dependent on the rest of the band being SUPERB to get through a touch at all.  But I do ring it.  This was inconceivable to me nine years ago.

You wouldn’t want to hear me singing Voi che sapete—or Dido’s Lament or Linden Lea.  But I am singing them.

††† Which is just great till I suddenly REALISE I’m singing the lyric from memory and then panic.  And forget, of course.  This happens regularly with Nadia.  Sigh.

‡ It sure beats singing in English:  all those consonants.  All those diphthongs.  But I haven’t given up on Linden Lea.  Or The Roadside Fire or Finzi’s Fear No More.  I am a sap.

‡‡ Maybe Azucena.  Siiiiiiiigh.  Stride la vampa is even in my Big Cheezy Book of Mezzo Opera Arias.  With Voi che sapete and Dido’s Lament.

‡‡‡ Mind you it’s taken something like six months.  Maybe more.  I thought I never would get my head around those frelling words.  And then quite suddenly it started becoming possible.  I still sound about as German as a chipmunk sounds like Brigitte Fassbaender . . . but I sound a lot more German than I did six months ago, and I don’t just keep breaking down spewing gggrrrrmmmmvvvvzzzzzgrzldblgggg any more.



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