Thursday, September 06, 2007

Two words more (le diro con due parole)

More than a lot of the singers who have gone, Pav feels like everyone's to mourn, and not mine in particular (I know I say this constantly), but a comment on Parterre reminded me of one small story of my connection to the singer, and I'd like it to be my little garland to throw: In 1992 I was on a flight from Austin to Lexington, one of the last times I flew. I'd tried various things to calm my nerves, breathing deeply, thinking good and floaty thoughts, swilling valerian root as if I were backstage at the Moscow Art Theater in the time of Chekhov...what finally made me feel less like I was going to die or more like it would be okay if I did just then was the friend we've just lost. I had taped the first big chunk of Der Rosenkavalier to cassette, and hadn't really found my way into it, hadn't listened with libretto, didn't know why there was suddenly a tenor and then he was gone for the rest of the opera. But I got to "Di rigori armato," and felt a little better, and from there I rewound and relistened, surely a dozen times, and if you know from irrational fear, you will know I mean it when I say it felt just a little like he saved me from something awful. It's a mildly satirical little cameo, but only works if done sincerely and beautifully. In the hands/cords of LP, legato on the words "ahi che resiste" laid on with evident love, impossible runs up to C delivered with a tiny swagger, it is a thing of beauty, enough beauty to cast a pale glint even over the fear of death. That, I guess, is how I think of his voice, even if I feel the loss less than I have for those whose voices brought up stormier things in my soul.

1 comment:

winpal said...

What a beautiful, eloquent and heartfelt tribute. Of all the commentary I've been reading this morning, this is one of the most special and touching. Thank you, Maury.