Sunday, November 26, 2006


Other vocal performances that have hushed the audience and left hair standing on end in addition to Erie Mills singing Caro Nome were: Dano Raffanti in Houston, singing Una Furtiva Lagrima (apparently not all that highly regarded, that day he sang that song better than I've ever heard it sung, live or recorded, by anybody; and the entire audience thought so, too); Kathleen Battle at a recital here in bad weather (she was in an ill humor because of the low turnout, but we were well rewarded); and Tish Hinojosa singing Estrellita (Ponce) on stage at the Paramount. She must have recorded it, because I recently heard it on the radio, and that version, too, stopped me in my tracks. Symphonic music, unaccompanied by a chorus, has never had this effect, but marching-band music, piano music, choral music, and organ music can be stirring in that way. Just as some people seem to smell not much and taste not much more than salt and grease, I think that many are unaffected by music, really. I always feel very sorry for those who love music dearly but have never been able to carry a tune. I knew the tune of Estrellita as a kid; some adult would play it sentimentally as a parlor piece, but I never knew that there were words. There's a vocal version on this, acquired as a dollar CD, but the sample catches only a salon-style orchestra phrase and the singer is over-dramatic and not young. "No puedo, sin tu amor, vivir." In addition to another Ponce song (A la orilla de un palmar), this album does have a good salon-style Sobre Las Olas.


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