Friday, January 07, 2005
It’s funny about music. You listen and you know. It makes the connection or it doesn’t.
For a long time I have been listening to Susan Graham’s album “La Belle Epoque”, the songs of Reynaldo Hahn. Before this I had only heard “L’Heure Exquise,” but he wrote a lot of other music, apparently. Who knew? I had heard only of this one song. I’m very fussy about how people sing French, and Susan Graham doesn’t completely pass the test. But I’m still listening.
It’s like you want the place where this is. And the place is the Paris of Debussy and Gertrude Stein. Gertrude never wanted to escape to a desert island like Gauguin. She was at home and at peace in Paris. And so are the songs of Reynaldo Hahn. These songs are at peace with themselves. One takes a sip of chocolate between songs. “Let us believe this is the moment; this is the exquisite moment.”
These songs are not striving, and Susan doesn’t strive with them either. They stay within her voice and her emotions. Try not to think too much.