In the recent blog post I was writing about my falling in love with a song. My very recent experience. Obviously there are more songs and compositions, that have had a crucial impact on my musical taste, even on my life. So I have used this recent experience and ‘traveled back in time’ to revisit more of those important musical moments which I call the ‘Alegría Moments’ (the explanation is below). Following songs are in no particular order as they are all important for me:
1. Mistreated – Deep Purple from their album Burn… I had to start with the band Deep Purple. With them my musical journey started. My mom bought me my first LP (a vinyl record) – the Fireball from Deep Purple basically by mistake. And thus the hard rock music marks my teenage years. This song was playing on my parent’s gramophone for weeks. I couldn’t get enough of the musical expressiveness that was so different from the 70’s music playing on the radio.
2. Alegría – Cirque du Soleil … Graduated from the university, didn’t have a dime, started to live with a roommate in a similar situation. And for more than two weeks both of us had obsessively listened to this song and enjoyed life in this new country of ours – Canada. From that time we call such experiences the ‘Alegría Moment’ (alegría means joy, or happiness in Spanish) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68483tVx0eA
3. Martha’s Song – Deep Forrest … Before listening to this song, I couldn’t imagine how music from my corner of the world could be made this particularly attractive.
4. Conquest of Paradise from the album 1492 – Vangelis with his synthesizers, orchestras and choirs has had always a special place in my life. This music and movie was released to celebrate the discovery of America quincentenary. And it marked also my first ever study trip to this very continent. Few from my CDs got that much use as this one.
5. On Silent Wings – Tina Turner … helped with the broken heart
6. Harmonica Man Song – Ennio Morricone, from the movie Once Upon a Time in the West. This is one of the very few movies I could watch more than once – because of the music… and gorgeous Claudia Cardinale as well.
7. Second movement from the 7th Symfony – Ludwig van Beethoven … the Italian movie ‘Police thanks’ (La Polizia ringrazia), the main hero just got killed. And for the first time I realized how dirty game the politics is. It is a beautiful music, but for me has always had this sad political undertone.
8. 4th Piano Concerto – Beethoven … this list couldn’t exist without at least two pieces from the great classical composer. And my first encounter was again in a French movie – Pianist . This is how happiness sounds to me.
9. Come nave in mezzo all’onde – Cecilia Bartoli. Her album Sacrificium is fantastic, in particular this song from the baroque composer Nicola Porpora – teacher of the famous castrato Farinelli. This one gives me always goose bumps. Unbelievable what a great voice can accomplish. How immensly intense is this music composed 300 years ago.
10. Going Home from the Local Hero – Mark Knopfler … Summer of 1996 and my first extended stay in the Western Europe. A trip to the most western point of the continental Europe – Cascais in Portugal. The corrida arena is bursting in fireworks as the culmination of Mark Knopfler’s concert. And they play this farewell song. A moment of big life decisions. This is how the victory sounds to me.
11. Crockett’s Theme from Miami Vice – Jan Hammer. I loved this TV series for great cars and yachts, fancy garb, but mostly for the great music composed by my countryman Jan Hammer.
12. Cold Song – Klaus Nomi by Henry Purcell. This unique German countertenor found for me the great baroque composer Henry Purcell. I don’t know about any better musical expression of a freezing cold temperature.
13. Gloria – Libera by Camille Saint-Saëns, the boys choir adapted part of Saint-Saëns’ 3rd symphony, the ‘Organ Symphony’ and it is pure music from Heaven. Celebration of life.
14. Don’t Give Up – Peter Gabriel with Kate Bush. When things don’t work well…
15. Venezuela by Pablo H. Ibarz and Jose L. A. Sanchez. I had never experienced such pure genuine patriotism and a great pride about someones’ country, until I met my wife who is from Venezuela. This beautiful land is very well depicted and described in this beautiful sentimental song. I fell in love with the song as I fell in love with my wife. This song follows us since the beginning of our relationship. Nowadays we sing it often with our children. But instead of the joy the song raises concerns and worries about our family members who still live in this sorely tried country.
16. The Living Years – Mike & The Mechanics … when I miss my late father. And yes, there are songs like this, when words matter as much as music.
17. Great Gig In The Sky – Pink Floyd … This song inspired me, for the first time, to free myself from the constraints of the classical music education and to allow myself to start improvising on the piano. My friend tried to play on the clarinet the famous vocal part sung originally by Clare Torry.
So here I am in front of you – bare naked. That’s how this feels now …
Will you uncover yourself too? What are your loved songs and tunes?
If you decide to respond, please don’t fall into the trap I almost did. Don’t write about your favorite songs – those could be hundreds if you are an avid music aficionado. What I would like you to come up with is music that has had much bigger impact on you in a positive way. Music you fell in love with almost immediately. Music that’s changed your life.
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There is a growing body of psychological research on how musical preferences can explain your personality, predict your future behavior, even success. I will explore this in one of my future posts on the topic.