Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Blessed Cecilia, Appear in Visions to All Musicians, Appear and Inspire

Many years ago, I dropped temporarily out of college so that I could do something really important, which at that time, so I thought, was performing in off-off-Broadway experimental theater. Along with a close friend, I fell in with a group of Bohemian-living dancers and actors. That I could sing made me cast-able in whatever obscure, abstruse, or opaque – usually all three – spectacle was undertaken. I performed at some well-known venues for this sort of thing, and once got a good review in the Village Voice, but my friendships with this group ended in an unexpected conflagration, and I eventually made my way back to classical singing. Part of this was the influence of the man who would become my first husband. An artist himself, he prodded me to do what I could really do well. So I threw myself into my craft, partly to earn his respect, and partly because, as one of my former Bohemian friends had put it, singing was the only thing I had, and I ought to cultivate it no matter what the circumstances.

Now, many years later, I am about to give my doctoral dissertation recital tomorrow night (which is the reason I haven’t posted much lately). I’m having the feeling of seeing my life as an artist pass before my eyes right now, and I will write more about the recital after it’s over. One thing that makes me glad is that I’m beginning with Beethoven’s great song “Adelaide,” which I started singing when my son was a tiny baby. He knows the song quite well by now, for a two-year-old, and often asks to hear it (he calls it “Aïda”), even filling in the German words at the ends of phrases in his happy loud voice.

Those of you who read this, please say a little prayer tomorrow night that my work will be pleasing both to God and to the adjudicating committee.


Anonymous said...

"The only wisdom we can hope to obtain is the wisdom of humility. Humility is endless." T.S. Eliot

Pentimento said...

And humility is so hard-won, but it's what I've been praying for: to sing with humility. The recital went extremely well, Deo gratias; I'll post about it soon.

Fallen Sparrow said...

I'm sorry I was late for the prayer, but glad to read it went well! Congratulations, and a beautiful post.