Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

“Just as Long as I Have Breath”

The gift of a song at the “right” time


Sometimes your first experience of a song can come at such a ripe, “right” time, it feels as if it were written expressly for you. The words seem to speak directly to you, and the state or space you’re currently in. Today that happened to me at church (www.uusf.org), thanks to the following hymn.

The entire song was beautifully relevant to me…but the third verse, in particular shot straight through to my heart. I am so thankful I attended the service. You just never know when a gift like this, including the entire rest of the beautiful and cohesive liturgy (crafted and led by recently ordained Denis Letourneau Paul and Lindasusan Ulrich), is going to come along. This inspiration is what drew me to become a member of the community a few years ago, and what keeps me going back.

After the service, I speedily went into the church office with hymnal in hand and asked them if I could make an (illegal) copy of it! Thankfully, the very helpful office asst. made me not one, but three copies. It’s not a text I would want to have lost track of! I hope you find it meaningful too.

As an aside, the other musical offerings, by Hans York, my favorite occasional music minister at our church were transcendent and joy-filled, as always. Enjoy samples of his music on iLike.

“Just as Long as I Have Breath”

Words by Alicia S. Carpenter (1930- )
Music by Johann G. Ebeling (1637-1676)

Just as long as I have breath, I must answer, “Yes,” to life;
though with pain I made my way, still with hope I meet each day.
If they ask what I did well, tell them I said, “Yes,” to life.

Just as long as vision lasts, I must answer, “Yes,” to truth;
in my dream and in my dark, always: that elusive spark.
If they ask what I did well, tell them I said, “Yes,” to truth.

Just as long as my heart beats, I must answer, “Yes,” to love;
disappointment pierced me through, still I kept on loving you.
If they ask what I did best, tell them I said, “Yes,” to love.

Words: © 1981 Alicia S. Carpenter

Parterrians Partake in Gaiety @ The Pagoda!

Brace yourself for this historic and tragic first-ever NorCal gathering of parterre.com fans and followers! La Cieca has sanctioned it with an amusing post. We hope you can join us…I know I’m just itchin’ to get on with it. Opera fanciers, queens and lovers are encouraged and welcome too.

What?

A SF/Bay Area parterre.com Soiréedare I say: Demented Mini-Conference? Perhaps our fair Queen Mum herself, La Cieca will descend upon our happy occasion and lead us in some gaiety. Although, Nilsson, Tebaldi and Rysanek’s attendance is more likely.

Where?

Chinese Pagoda (pictured below), on Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Location details: eastern tip of Stow Lake island, just south of Stow Lake waterfall, just southwest of the red star on this map.

We can mosey over to the Verdi Statue, towards the end for “Va Pensiero” and a knelt adoration. And, I’ll be sure to pass by the Beethoven Statue too on the walk home to make sure he doesn’t feel left out.

When?

12 noon – 3pm, Saturday, July 31st
(If too foggy, wet or cold, our back-up date is: Saturday, August 28th.)

What to bring?

Please bring something to share, by last name, as below. (If you object or have a terribly pinched wallet, you are still welcome to come, but please let me know.) Opera-or-Chinoiserie-related themes encouraged, but random, store-bought lameness fine too:

A – F: savory dish, finger food, or substantial snack
G – M: salad
N – S: beverages…chinese tea anyone?
T – Z: dessert

Activities

All (good/festive/opera-related ideas) welcome! I plan to shoot a Wenarto-inspired video shoot, involving those who are interested. If you have any operatic accessories (particularly Chinese), please bring/wear them to spice up our video.

Music

My iPod will be chock full of apropos selections, but feel free to bring yours as well, if you’re compelled. Again, orientalism encouraged (given our setting).

If we find a bevy of pigeons or a rival encampment has already inhabited the pagoda, we’ll be forced to shift our location, so it’s best if you RSVP beforehand, so I can give you my cell phone number, in case we should need to move.

Until then!

A Very Short Video History of “Bel Canto”

My submission to La Cieca’s You Can Ring My Bel Cantocompetition, over at parterre.com was deemed one of four runners-up, from what must have been close to 50 submissions, I’m guessing.

The challenge? To post a youtube video that serves as a sterling example of the art of bel canto, including narrative explaining why. Enjoy it here:

A Brief youtube History of Bel Canto

It includes offerings by Orgonasova (‘94), Baltsa & Gruberova (‘84), Pavarotti (‘68), Steber (‘58), Gigli (‘33), and Barrientos (‘18, pictured above). I will always jump to the defense of my favored, and less touted bel cantists!

Many submissions honored the greats: Muzio, Callas, Kraus, Sutherland, Horne, Caballé, Sills, and so on. However, this offering, by Shirley Verrett, although not a winner or runner-up was the most exciting new find for me:

Now, please share your bel canto favorites!

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