Music of the Gods

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Mon, 2008-04-21 06:11

"The emotion involved in art is not an emotion in the ordinary meaning of the term. It is experienced more as a 'sense' or a 'feel,' but it has two characteristics pertaining to emotions: it is automatically immediate and it has an intense, profoundly personal (yet undefined) value-meaning to the individual experiencing it.

"The value involved is life, and the words naming the emotion are: 'This is what life means to me.' Regardless of the nature or content of an artist’s metaphysical views, what an art work expresses, fundamentally, under all of its lesser aspects is: 'This is life as I see it.' The essential meaning of a viewer’s or reader’s response, under all of its lesser elements is, 'This is (or is not) life as I see it.'"

—Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto


As often happens, I am in hot water—this time on the "RACH” thread—for fulminating against “headbanging caterwauling” and touting the superiority of Romantic music. I am in hot water with the fans of caterwauling for daring to diss their favoured offal, and with a serious music aficionado who insists “Romanticism” should include sundry post-Romantic meanderers and blowhards. He has ranked some thirty Romantic and post-Romantic works according to merit (according to him) in what looks suspiciously like a J. Evans Pritchard modus operandi.

Here I propose to deal only with the “arguments” of the caterwaulers; the case for or against including the likes of Mahler among the Great Romantics will have to wait ... except to say, paraphrasing Shakespeare: “Brevity is the soul of beauty.”

First, a preliminary question: why does this matter matter? Why do I get so exercised about it? Why can’t I just “live and let live” and leave empty heads and deformed souls alone to wallow in their frightful cacophonies?

My answer: I am perfectly prepared to do that—but they’re not prepared to leave me or any other decent, innocent human being alone. They shove their filth at us at every turn, and I am beyond fed up with it. As Rand might say, "These are the commandos of the haters' army, who crawl out of the sewer of centuries and shake themselves in public, splattering muck over the passers-by. ... The passers-by are the rest of us, who have to live, breathe and work in this atmosphere."

As I said in my RACH editorial:

“They do not rule the world officially but they have taken it over. They have taken over the shopping malls, the shops, the bars and restaurants, the gyms and rugby fields, the interludes between television programmes and even the programmes themselves. Nothing is uncorrupted by these aliens—even opera singers perform with them.

“It’s time to shame these aesthetic thugs into oblivion. Musical masochism is for consenting adults in private; it shouldn’t be sadistically imposed on unconsenting adults in public. Ideally its perpetrators should follow the logic of one of their number, the Slipknot drummer who, when told his was music to commit suicide by, said, ‘We must be doing something right.’ I would certainly encourage that alien and all its fellows to top themselves and leave the earth to human beings.”

Since it’s unlikely that they’ll opt for suicide, unfortunately, it is they who need to be admonished to “live and let live” (if you can call what they do living). They should not be averse to a campaign for the voluntary clearing away of their pollution from places where it’s unsolicited.

Rand said:

"I am not willing to surrender the world to the jerky contortions of self-inducedly brainless bodies with empty eye sockets who perform in stinking basements the immemorial rituals of staving off terror, which are a dime a dozen in any jungle—and to the quavering witch doctors who call it 'art.'"

Well dears, neither am I. When some skunk squirts its filth in my face without my consent, I will punch its snout. And I shall campaign against skunkery in general.

I should say that the reason this essay has taken a while is that it was becoming an academic-style treatise on Romanticism in music. Well, the Internet is replete with such treatises, by people better qualified than I. All I ever intended was an informed layman’s polemic against The Age of Crap as manifest in music, and against the idea that music is somehow exempt from the standard, healthy Objectivist strictures against cultural relativism. Realising I had departed from my brief, I had to start over to get back on course.

I have used Dr. Richard Goode as my foil in this essay because, like Everest, he’s there, and because, in this debate, he is perfect in his immorality (I say this in a caring kind of way). He is delectably quintessential!

Cutting to the chase

So why do I feel entitled to pile on value-judgments such as “sub-human,” “skunks,” “filth” and so on in the realm of music? Didn’t Rand herself say:

“Until a conceptual vocabulary is discovered and defined, no objectively valid criterion of esthetic judgment is possible in the field of music … No one, therefore, can claim the objective superiority of his choices over the choices of others. Where no objective proof is available, it's every man for himself—and only for himself”?

Yes, she did. And, I submit, she was wrong.

Note the practical implication of her dictum: that no one can claim the objective superiority of the Tchaikovsky and Beethoven posted on the Van Cliburn thread over the Slayer posted on the RACH thread. This is absurd on its face—but of course, “on its face” won’t do for those who seize on Rand’s statement as an excuse to remain in the sewer. So let’s keep going.

What did Rand mean by “conceptual vocabulary”?

She tells us. Such a vocabulary would explain how a work evokes the emotions it does. “Why does a succession of sounds produce an emotional reaction? Why does it involve man’s deepest emotions and his crucial, metaphysical values? How can sounds reach man’s emotions directly, in a manner that seems to bypass his intellect? What does a certain combination of sounds do to man’s consciousness to make him identify it as gay or sad?”

Why need we know these things in order to pass objective judgment? What difference would it make? That she doesn’t tell us. But she does reiterate:

“The formulation of a common vocabulary of music would require these answers. It would require: a translation of the musical experience, the inner experience, into conceptual terms; an explanation of why certain sounds strike us a certain way; a definition of the axioms of musical perception, from which the appropriate esthetic principles could be derived, which would serve as a base for the objective validation of esthetic judgments.”


This, Rand goes on, means we need to do what we currently cannot do in musical perception--separate subject and object:

“In listening to music, a man cannot tell clearly, neither to himself nor to others—and therefore, cannot prove—which aspects of his experience are inherent in the music and which are contributed by his own consciousness. He experiences it as an indivisible whole, he feels as if the magnificent exaltation were there in the music—and he is helplessly bewildered when he discovers that some men do experience it and some do not. In regard to the nature of music, mankind is still on the perceptual level of awareness.”

Now, it is my contention that Rand has set the bar way too high here—we don’t need to know all that in order to judge—and that furthermore, my contention has her imprimatur:

“The deadly monotony of primitive music—the endless repetition of a few notes and of a rhythmic pattern that beats against the brain with the regularity of the ancient torture of water drops falling on a man’s skull—paralyses cognitive processes, obliterates awareness and disintegrates the mind. ... Primitive music becomes his narcotic [that of a modern man brought up as a 'mentally helpless savage']: it wipes out the groping, it reassures him and reinforces his lethargy, it offers him temporarily the sense of a reality to which his stagnant torpor is appropriate.” (Note, incidentally, what she is describing as primitive music is still a slight advance on rap, which was embryonic in her time: rap has no notes!)

If that’s not passing judgment I don’t know what is! So, is Rand seriously arguing that she would then baulk at the final hurdle and decline to pronounce primitive music inferior to Romantic? She already has so pronounced it!

And with good reason.

Romanticism vs. Headbanging

See, “the endless repetition of a few notes and of a rhythmic pattern that beats against the brain with the regularity of the ancient torture of water drops falling on a man’s skull” is a near-perfect description of, to cite a convenient example, the track, “Rain of Blood” by “thrash metal” band Slayer, linked to on RACH. (Apparently “thrash metal” is a sibling of “death metal.”) The piece is certainly melodically challenged. The rhythm is faster than water drops, to be sure, but the way it beats against the brain is definitely torture (which some clearly enjoy, but I’ll come to that). The description omits, since it wasn’t specifically what Rand had in mind, lyrics that are inaudible (and, on further investigation, unintelligible) rendered by a voice that is unlistenable, the voice of someone being tortured. It omits the seemingly deliberate over-amping of the guitars to effect distortion. It says nothing about harmony—but then, there’s not much to say anyway. Overall, the description could easily be of “Rain of Blood.”

By way of cleansing contrast, let us remind ourselves what makes Romantic music Romantic music, and what we know about music itself that permits us to judge.

We know that the primary components of music are melody, harmony and rhythm—and the greatest of these is melody, the ordering of tones. Melody is fundamental. As plot is to literature, so melody is to music. Whistle a tune, unaccompanied (no harmonies), each note equal in length (no rhythm)—it’s still music. No melody—no music. “It’s the toon, stoopid!”

We know that certain simultaneous combinations of tones (harmony), because of the mathematical relationship of their frequencies, are, as a matter of metaphysical fact, integratable by the human brain (consonant) and others are not (dissonant); that this is true for all human beings apart from the tone-deaf; that the resolution of dissonance into consonance helps give a piece suspense, sophistication and satisfaction, a sense of home-coming; and so we may rightly judge the deliberate refusal to resolve for the sake of refusal to resolve to be an act of sabotage and assassination.

We know that in the Romantic period (nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) composers and performers pushed the boundaries of every musical element, primary and secondary, achieving an unprecedented emotional expressiveness while avoiding the descent into the atonal anarchy that followed. New instruments, bigger orchestras; new forms, and the expansion of old forms; the coming of age of opera and ballet; virtuoso stars, like our modern-day “celebs” only with talent; the cult of the conductor; more inventive melodies using bigger intervals between notes; greater dynamic range—fff (fortississimo: very, very loud) to ppp (pianississimo: very, very soft); more daring harmonies (chromatic and dissonant, without recourse to the sabotage or assassination that became de rigueur later) modulating more frequently into other keys; more rhythmic variety, including greater use of syncopation, rubato (bending of the rhythm), accelerando (speeding up) and ritardando (slowing down), changing of the time signature within movements, etc. They honored but were not straitjacketed by the formalism of classicism, stretching but not eschewing the rules that make music cohere. They knew with their predecessors that coherence was integral to integration, and integration to harmoniousness, and harmoniousness to beauty. They exercised freedom within the rule of law—the perfect mirror of what was going on politically.

Thus did they bring individualism to music—they were each distinguishable from the other; each imposed his distinctive stamp upon the form without going out of it (at least not to the point of disintegration). They united the idiomatic with the idiosyncratic, reason with emotion, Apollo with Dionysus (albeit with a leaning towards the latter, via, it must be admitted, that villain Rousseau). They transformed the “universal language” into an individual language. As one commentary puts it:

“Romantic-era composers kept the forms of Classical music. But the Romantic composer did not feel constrained by form. Breaking through boundaries was now an honorable goal shared by the scientist, the inventor, and the political liberator. Music was no longer universal; it was deeply personal and sometimes nationalistic. The personal sufferings and triumphs of the composer could be reflected in stormy music that might even place a higher value on emotion than on beauty. Music was not just happy or sad; it could be wildly joyous, terrified, despairing, or filled with deep longings.”

We know that, in Objectivist terms, they projected as never before, if not for the first time, man the passionate valuer—their symphonies and concerti were “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield” set to music and writ large. We know that Rand's description of Richard Halley's Concerto of Deliverance could only have been of a Romantic composition:

"It was a symphony of triumph. The notes flowed up. They spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that had ascent as its motive. It was a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open. It had the freedom of release and the tension of purpose. It swept space clean and left nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort. Only a faint echo within the sounds spoke of that from which the music had escaped, but spoke in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had had to be. It was the song of an immense deliverance." (Rach 3, anyone—how about the middle section of the second movement?)

In short, we know that in every important aspect of it one can name, music—demonstrably, empirically, as a matter of fact—reached its apogee in the Romantic era. Romanticism was the culmination of what preceded it, and the transcending of it; it was the high point of musical evolution to date; it was the “total height”—and it remains so. (What came after was disintegration into vagueness, gratuitous dissonance, ostentation, random plinkety-plonk, silly silences and traffic noise.) Not knowing the physiology of how music evokes the responses that it does in us, not knowing how many parts object and how many part subject are involved, cannot gainsay this fact, the supreme stature of Romantic music, and its superiority over any modern throwback to “primitive music” such as that of Slayer, which it seems ludicrous to mention in the same breath.

This superiority can also be ascribed, I should add, to the myriad forms of what one might call “mini-Romanticism” such as operetta, musical comedy, jazz (the intelligible kind), pre-80s pop, movie scores, Ayn Rand’s “tiddly-wink music” and so on. The standard pop tune of my youth was a veritable miniature sonata with a clear theme, stated, developed then reiterated (A-B-A), value-orientated (usually about love!) with meaningful if unchallenging lyrics, audibly articulated. Any of the foregoing is superior to Slayer and all other headbanging caterwauling.

Romanticism and sense of life

Now at this point someone might object: “All this is very well, but you’re over-emphasizing the technical and structural aspects of the compositions and glossing over the business of one’s emotional response to them. After all, headbangers can be complex and clever too. And the fact is, whether you approve or not, Slayer hits my emotional spot and Rach doesn’t. End of story.”

And of course, it is the end of the story if you want it to be, if you’re content with that. Let’s just not continue to tout the relativist fiction that all music is created equal.

And let’s see what can be observed about the emotional response, since the objector is quite right: that is the whole point of the exercise, and music, like no other art form, gets to the point straight away.

I assume that what the objector and I seek from music is the same thing: what I call value-swoon: “This is life as I see it”—in my case, in the form of a spiritual orgasm born of orgiastic love-making between me, the artist, the composer and life itself. Value-swoon consummated by tears. If there are no tears, I haven’t fully value-swooned. Tears of joy, poignance, worship, “unclouded exaltation” in the presence of gods and the godly, of beauty inexpressible in words. The solemn gaze on Van Cliburn’s face as he looks up at his conductor at the conclusion of the aforementioned Tchaikovsky (Piano Concert #1, Movement Three), having thundered spectacularly up and down the length and breadth of the piano and pressed down the final home-coming tonic chord, says it all. Breathes there the man with soul so dead he cannot behold this and exult: “What a piece of work is man!”? This response, of course, is life-affirming, and so, by Objectivist standards, good. Moreover, it is the response the work and the performance are intended to evoke, so the subject’s reaction is consistent with the content of the object.

Now, it's true that one needn't seek the full monty every time, which would be rather exhausting, and there are less weighty but perfectly legitimate reasons one might listen to some types of music. "Objectively superior," after all, implies an answer to the questions, "Superior to what, in what respect and for what purpose?" Country is best for a good laugh (who can resist the hilarity of some retard yodelling about his wife leaving him for the horse?), for instance, and The Carpenters are great for getting to sleep. But it turns out metal fans do actually seek the full monty. Or at least, at first glance, they claim to. Dr. (PhD in philosophy) Richard Goode, Slayer’s cheerleader on the RACH thread, said there:

“Honestly, if you don't feel glad to be alive after a good pounding by Slayer, the Queens of the Stone Age or even Hayseed Dixie, then there’s something wrong with you.” (Note, there’s something wrong with you. Evidently it’s OK to say there’s something wrong with you if you don’t like Slayer but not OK to say there’s something wrong with you if you do!)

But hang on a minute! Pressed by me to explain just how a “good pounding by Slayer” made him “glad to be alive,” Dr. Goode responded as follows:

“Anger. Energy. Passion. Defiance. Catharsis. Slayer are musical genius.”

So, is it anger, etc., that makes Dr. Goode feel glad to be alive, that gives him his value-swoons? I tried to find out:

“Anger about what? Passion for what? Defiance of what? Given that ‘catharthis’ is the release of pent-up emotions, why are your emotions pent up (I did warn you that pomowanking makes one passionless)? Wherein lies Slayer's ‘musical genius’?”

Alas, my inquiries elicited no further response.

Which entitles us to assume, I think, that the anger is not a justified, discrete anger about some particular injustice or other, else Dr. Goode would have mentioned it; it is a generalised, metaphysical anger at life itself that makes Goode feel good!

Now, remember what Rand said about the way music affects us:

“Psycho-epistemologically, the pattern of the response to music seems to be as follows: one perceives the music, one grasps the suggestion of a certain emotional state and, with one's sense of life serving as the criterion, one appraises this state as enjoyable or painful, desirable or undesirable, significant or negligible, according to whether it corresponds to or contradicts one's fundamental feeling about life.”

In the case of Dr. Goode and Slayer, he perceives their music, grasps the suggestion of anger and defiance and appraises it as enjoyable, desirable and significant, since it corresponds to his fundamental feeling about life. He says, “This is life as I see it.” Which, I respectfully submit, taking it at its own word, is anti-life—and the anti-life, need I point out, is, according to Objectivism, bad! Calling it and what evoked it “inferior” is letting it off lightly!

Inferior Music and Philosophy

None of this occurs in a vacuum. It’s no coincidence, but rather entirely congruent, that among Dr. Goode’s other pin-up boys is the philosopher David Hume, who taught that concepts, the means by which human beings make sense of reality, have no basis in reality; there are just brute facts, and the act of integrating them into concepts is entirely arbitrary.

Here’s Rand on Hume:

“When Hume declared that he saw objects moving about, but never saw such a thing as ‘causality’—it was the voice of Attila that men were hearing. It was Attila’s soul that spoke when Hume declared that he experienced a flow of fleeting states inside his skull, such as sensations, feelings or memories, but had never caught the experience of such a thing as consciousness or self. When Hume declared that the apparent existence of an object did not guarantee that it would not vanish spontaneously next moment, and the sunrise of today did not prove that the sun would rise tomorrow; when he declared that philosophical speculation was like a game, like chess or hunting, of no significance whatever to the practical course of human existence, since reason proved that existence was unintelligible, and only the ignorant maintained the illusion of knowledge—all of this accompanied by vehement opposition to the mysticism of the Witch Doctor and by protestations of loyalty to reason and science—what men were hearing was the manifesto of a philosophical movement that can be designated only as Attila-ism.”

Here’s Goode on the significance or otherwise of philosophy, in a SOLO exchange with James Valliant:

Valliant: As a philosopher, can you tell me what the practical upshot of your work is, i.e., its implications to human life?

Goode: Hahaha. You're kidding, right?

Stretching too long a bow?

Hume was a destroyer. Slayer, whose headbanging has included “songs” sympathetic to the 9/11 terrorists and Joseph Mengele, are destroyers. And all other headbangers. They are Hume’s chickens come home to roost. Richard, who claims there is no basis in reason for freedom, is an enabler of the destroyers (I grant he’d be horrified to think so). All three are archetypes. Hume, the clever/stupid philosopher, for whom logic and facts ne’er will meet; Goode, the modern “cool” sophisticat, monotoned and sardonic, getting his kicks from clever-dick nitpicking and word games; Slayer, the ugly reality behind the philosophers’ pseudo-civilized veneer, like so many “metal” bands of whichever variety—“thrash,” “death” or otherwise. It’s useful and instructive to see them all appropriately aligned—all nihilists together in this post-modern Age of Nihilism.


Nihilism is as objectively bad in esthetics as it is in any other realm—and in music as in any other part of esthetics, Rand notwithstanding. Appraising a positive response to musical nihilists as good, as Goode does, is bad. These animals intend to purvey ugliness and mindless rage and like nothing better in response than the perverted value-swoon of the nihilist, the pomowanker’s snicker of approval, perhaps more accurately called the "anti-value swoon." Again, the subject's response is congruent with the object's content.

We all hear the same thing. We all recognise deliberate ugliness and rage for ugliness’s and rage’s sake, just as surely as we all hear a minor chord as somber and a major chord as cheerful. It’s our responses to the ugliness and rage that differ, and the issue here is: evaluating the responses. It’s a question of values, not physiology. Life-affirming values = good; life-negating values (anti-values) = bad. So, if you respond with approval to deliberate ugliness and gratuitous rage, if you seek out and wallow in the anti-value swoon, then, in Dr. Goode’s immortal words, “There’s something wrong with you.” And that’s a fact.

I’m reminded of a painter friend from years ago who read The Fountainhead. He got it. He understood it as well as I. But he chose to blank it out, because, “If I take it seriously it’ll turn my life upside down” (his life being in thrall to axe-through-head tutors).

In his exceptional SOLO essay, “Something Better than Rage, Pain, Anger and Hurt,” Peter Cresswell exhorts:

“Music is our food of the spirit. So do try to be careful what you eat.”

(This admonition, by the way, doesn’t mean we all have to like the same music any more than we have to like the same food. It means we should eat food rather than feces.)

Musically speaking, we have whole generations eating poo and militantly relishing it. It ill-behoves Objectivists to tell them there’s no objective reason not to do so. Objectivism is nothing if not a command to rise. To those addicted to feces but wanting to rise from the sewer, I commend Mr. Cresswell’s essay. He knows whereof he speaks. He has himself risen!

Just these last few days on SOLO, artist Michael Newberry has recounted the story of someone who presented plastic-wrapped blood from her miscarriages as an artwork, and asked:

“Many of you here are freaked out about the possibility of radical Muslims taking over the world. But what is it that could weaken the West so much that it could fall victim to a primitive anti-modern society? When I see America, I see and experience many great things, lots of freedoms. It's much easier to do what you like here than in the other countries I have lived in. But, I also see the postmodern art world everywhere, with its cynical, disintegrated, anti-conceptual mind-set, and pathetic sense of life. That is America too. What if art plays a major role in the health, flourishing, and spirit of country or a culture? If that is so, aren't we more in trouble from the inside than the outside?”

We’re certainly in trouble from the inside. I quote finally from my inaugural speech at SOLOC 1 in 2001. The "jungle cacophony" alluded to is Eminem—I had just compared Johann Strauss and Eminem as exemplars of two contrasting cultures, antipodal pop icons, one danced to by human beings, the other jerked to by the eyeless-socketed ones:

“ ... get out there in the marketplace and promote good art as zealously as you promote good philosophy, both being necessary for the preservation of freedom. The tide is against us at the moment—wherever we turn our ears are assaulted by jungle cacophony of the kind we've just heard. In the visual realm … well, we've just been reading on the SOLO Forum about the Canadian artist I alluded to earlier who won a prestigious award for ejaculating into vials; there was the Turner Award in Britain, recently bestowed on someone whose ‘artwork’ was a room with an electric light in it. These abominations are a dime a dozen right now; it is, as I often say, the Age of Crap. I want SOLO to wage an intellectual war on it every bit as relentless as the physical War on Terrorism.”

That war should include the unabashed proclamation of Romantic music’s objective superiority.

Romantic music is composed and performed by the heroes in our midst. It speaks and appeals to the best within us. It awakens our capacity for rapture. It is appreciated and adored by the passionately enlightened. It is inspired by and inspires the most intensely life-affirming value-swoons possible to man. If the expression, "total passion for the total height" means anything, it finds that meaning in Romantic music. In terms of what went into it and what can be taken out of it, Romantic music is simply the best.

And that’s a fact.

( categories: )

Mario Lanza Discovered!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

To avoid the over-used and much-abused word "incredible" on this occasion when in its literal meaning—impossible to believe—it is the word to use, I shall say instead that listening to the latest Sepia Mario Lanza CD I was incredulous. I found it impossible to believe what I was hearing. I have loved Mario Lanza since the age of seven, but hearing these reproductions of original acetate recordings was like hearing him for the first time all over again. This is The Voice that accompanist Callinicos thought was a trick being played on him. In their raw authenticity these recordings display the soft and loud pedals lyricist Sammy Cahn said Mario had in his throat. Sammy joked that when Mario was satisfied he was startling you sufficiently, he would push the loud pedal even further and scare the hell out of you. This is The Voice of which Callinicos said if it didn't exist it would be unimaginable.

I shan't attempt a track-by-track rundown, since Master of Compilations Derek McGovern has done his customarily informative and eloquent job of doing just that in his liner notes. For another thing, after the first few tracks I was so transported to Planet Ecstasy I forgot to take notes! The hitherto-unreleased, miraculous My Destiny, though, deserves special mention for the exquisite synchronising between Mario and pianist Jakob Gimpel; The Lord's Prayer for the same thing with organist Wesley Tourtelotte. Love Me Tonight offers definitive proof that The Voice had lost none of its thrill or bloom in the last weeks of Mario's life. And what a revelation to hear Mario for the entirety of the Lucia sextet, and that the High C at the end of Di Quella Pira didn't go flat after all!

This is Sepia's 10th Lanza CD, and inarguably its most extraordinary. One can only hope that there are more acetates wherever this collection came from. It's called The Undiscovered Mario Lanza. It could equally be called Mario Lanza Discovered.


Dio and Lanza and ATLAS SHRUGGED

Jmaurone's picture

Dio and Lanza:

"Ronald James “Dio” Padavona was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Italian-American parents from Cortland, New York. Padavona listened to a great deal of opera while growing up, and was influenced vocally by tenor Mario Lanza. His first formal musical training began at age 5, learning to play the trumpet....

"Despite being known for his powerful singing voice, Padavona claimed to have never received any vocal training. He instead attributed his singing ability to the use of breathing techniques he learned while playing trumpet."


"It’s no surprise that he grew up listening to another marvellously over-the-top musical form, opera and that he was a fan of the great tenor Mario Lanza, with whom he shared an American-Italian background."

3. "Because heavy metal was not invented, Ronnie loved to listen to opera as a child and was a fan of Mario Lanza. 'I couldn’t believe his incredible voice,' he told USA Today. 'I wanted to use that aspect of vocalisation in the rock’n’roll context. I guess that’s the connection people see between my operatic style and music as heavy as possible.'"


"Ronnie James Dio was thanked in the end credits of the 2011 film Atlas Shrugged: Part I, due to his being 'one of the people who kept the project alive.'"

IMDB Credits:
"Thanks "
Andrew Breitbart ... special thanks
Ronnie James Dio ... special thanks
Jason Jones ... special thanks

"Who'd have thunk it?"

Something's Wrong Here?!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Lead "singer" for headbangers Led Zep says his first-ever "stop and have goosebumps" moment was Mario Lanza?

Do I have to take it all back?

Best Antidote to The Filth

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Remember, The Filth = all contemporary politicians (especially, in NZ, ACT), the media, Academia (especially philosophy departments), and by and large the moronnial Zombies whom they, Academia, have Zombified down to their own sub-human level. Here are two clear exceptions, playing repertoire from the objectively best, Western, as opposed to the agenda promoted by Only Black Lives Matter in our universities, whereby all instruments should be played through the nose:

A Christmas Gift

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I don't expect anyone in this age of goldfish attention spans to follow the Saint-Saens, but fast-forward to 37' 30" for one of the most beautiful Silent Nights you'll ever hear. It's under 5' 00" long, so most humans over 50 should be able to cope!:

Lady Second Movement Slapper!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The 1st and 4th concerti are unjustly neglected because of the glories of 2 and 3. ALL are glorious. Every Rach note ever is ecstasy!! Smiling

Sunlit Uplands...

Olivia's picture

That’s what this piece is - and I didn’t go straight to the second movement this time. Smiling

And some of the motifs and other melodies which came later, to his great glory, are hinted at in this work.

Antidote to Woke-Fascism

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The fact that in 2021, in Moscow of all places, a beautiful young man can perform Rachmaninoff's 1st Piano Concerto—with the entire violin section comprised of females (selected, one would assume, on MERIT)—with such aplomb and to such a rapturous reception offers hope to a world drowning in the tsunami of evil that is Woke-Fascism (the culmination of nihilistic post-modernism). It tells the Woke-Fascists: "Beauty and freedom still matter, and still happen, you loathsome, sub-human bastards!"

Mario Centennial CD!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

'This CD celebrates Mario Lanza's centenary with a collection spanning his entire career from his radio broadcasts to studio gems from the last months of his brief life. Four of the songs are making their first appearance on a commercial CD; a spectacular rehearsal of "Some Day" and extended versions from Lanza's own archives of material recorded for The Great Caruso. Other rarities include live performances of duets from The Student Prince and Verdi's Otello. Throughout the CD, Lanza's celebrated versatility is on full display, with every musical genre in which he excelled represented here.'

What the Woke-Fascists Wish to Destroy

Lindsay Perigo's picture

'Pianos made with colonial ivory and artefacts linked to Messiah composer George Frideric Handel, who invested in the slave trade, could potentially be problematic.

'The Sunday Telegraph understands that “there will undoubtedly be some items in the collection, which has been built up over two centuries,” that the Academy “will want to look at more closely through a decolonisation lens.

' “We intend to collaborate closely with the Academy’s equality, diversity and inclusion group in doing this, with a view to highlighting, reinterpreting and disposing of some items.” '

Such as this, of unsurpassed beauty?!

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion groups must be cancelled forthwith. These sub-humans are as evil as they are talentless. Just withdraw their taxpayer funding, and they'll die for want of support from one decent, self-respecting human being.

Class of '21, Continued

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Happy Birthday, Pippo!

(If you make it through this with dry eyes, you're a bot! Smiling )

When Agnostics Make Belief Almost Irresistible

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Two of the greatest religious musical works in the pantheon of the greatest civilisation—Western—are by agnostics: the Requiems of Verdi and Brahms. That's a paradox I can't explain, other than to say it reinforces the need to retrieve the very human need for a sense of the sacred from the stranglehold of superstitions. Tchaikovsky said much the same thing in explaining his glorious tribute to St John Chrysostum: he remained wedded to the sense of life of the Church while rejecting its dogma.

Here's the Brahms. Ecstasy doesn't get much more intense than this. Note the overwhelming talent and handsomeness of the young Bryn Terfel, Lanza fan:

Happy Birthday Mario!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

And yet another!

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I have been listening to this piece obsessively of late, seeking solace in the very dark, Woke-Fascist world into which we have been manipulated. This is my favourite thus far. Beware, though: the on-screen German text contains several mis-spellings. Obviously the result of some Big Tech computer programme. Fucking morons run the world!!

Here's another version ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... recording quality better. Taking nothing away from the sublimity of the Ferrier performance:

Incredibly beautiful...

Olivia's picture

Certainly a civilisational gem. That melody!
I remember when you first shared this with me many years ago - another whole dimension to Brahms opened up.

"One of the most beautiful pieces in all of Western music"

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Make the most of this before the Woke-Fascists complete their "de-center whiteness" project, consigning all Dead White Males to the Memory Hole and banning any reference to "Western music." As one YouTube comment has it:

'This has to be one of the most beautiful and moving pieces in all of Western music. When she soars above the chorus with that sublime theme, "Ist auf deinem Psalter, Vater der Liebe ..." it just takes your breath away.'

Carreras Christmas!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Leukemia survivor Jose Carreras, now 74, teams up with current superstar Jonas Kaufmann for an iconic carol. His voice is shot, but what the heck?!

The Woke-Fascists haven't managed to cancel Christmas yet!

Better Than As Good As It Gets

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Tchaikovsky's #2 Piano Concerto: better, I would argue, than the superlative #1. A definitive refutation, without the need for words, of The Filth: Hollywood, Academia, Media (HAM), Obleftivism, Woke-Fascism, screeching Social Justice Warriors and all the rest. Played here incomparably.

More Sinful Excitement!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

"Like honey!" said the lady behind me to another lady behind me at St Andrews on the Terrace on Sunday. She was exulting over the tone produced by Benedict van Leuven on the clarinet in Weber's Clarinet Concerto No. 2, performed with the Wellington Youth Orchestra. Evidently in my review of their last concert I described their playing as "almost sinfully exciting." On this occasion I would remove "almost" and add that sin was seldom this exciting, nor honey this sweet.

It helped that the entire programme was from the Romantic genre. No token post-modern contemporary excrement to endure just for the sheer literal hell of it. Weber was arguably the very first true Romantic, and this concerto is a thrilling testament to the expressive liberation and virtuosic dare-devilry that the dawn of the Romantic Era heralded. The dashing Benedict was every inch the virtuoso, ducking and diving, bobbing and weaving, wooing and caressing ... and then, at the end of it all, blushing most fetchingly at the thunderous ovation that was so rightly lavished upon him. Weber was no doubt participating from the Beyond. As one of the first-ever dedicated conductors, Weber would also have been applauding Mark Carter's inspired, animated and laser-precise direction from the podium.

The performances of the other works in the programme, culminating in the Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition, whose finale would have brought down a low-flying plane, were equally electrifying. It was reassuring to see these intelligent young faces awake to the beauty of what they were purveying, and one hopes that such repertoire will not be a casualty of the current Woke crusade against anything "pale, stale and male." The sinful talent of these youngsters would be wasted on anything less!

In Apprehension How Like a God!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

What a Piece of Work Is a Man!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

"In action how like an angel. In apprehension how like a god."

Sense of Life

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Mario and Raphaela:

Watch This ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... before the Woke-Fascists get it taken down. Britain prior to Islamisation and Wokery. Land of Hope and Glory.

Here are the lyrics. Pump up the volume and sing your heart out!

Land of hope and glory, mother of the free
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet
Land of hope and glory, mother of the free
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?

The Ultimate in Duelling Tenors: Mario vs Lanza

Lindsay Perigo's picture

God at the Piano

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The Gods' Work

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Again, an informed amateur, an intelligent and authentic human, captures the essence of Mario in a way no Woke musicologist ever could:


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A supreme victim of "hatred of the good for being the good," Mario fights back ... and conquers!

A Loving, Intelligent Amateur ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... is worth more than a thousand musicologists with PhDs!! Here is a beautiful exegesis of Mario's greatest album by an informed fan:

And yet ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Romanticism remains the Apogee. And it lives, still! Not all millennials are moronnials:


Lindsay Perigo's picture

The great Senator Chocolate once wise-cracked that time is what prevents everything happening all at once. Bach proved him wrong. Here, everything does happen all at once. It's a miracle!

Magnificent and Unwoke

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I expect Showboat will be banned when the Woke-Fascists get round to it:

RIP Ennio

Lindsay Perigo's picture

As noted in my lead essay on this thread, it fell to Hollywood, before it too was swamped by The Filth, to be the last hold-out of Romanticism in music, via composers such as Max Steiner, Miklós Rózsa and Ennio Morricone. Morricone has just passed away. Among his very first musical projects as a youth, way back in 1958, was doing the orchestral arrangements for Mario's great Neapolitan album, "Mario!" with Maestro Franco Ferrara, including the incomparable version of "Passione" I posted here a few days back.

Ennio was a fervent devotee of St. Francis. Don't tell the ARId Obleftvists:

UnWoke Mario

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Ordinarily of course I'd object strenuously to "gonna" instead of "going to." But the sense of life here is so terrific, and it is so badly what we need in these Woke, funless times, that I'm prepared to forego my usual qualms:

Taiwan Also

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Another hold-out against The Filth. Here are members of the Taipei Medical University Symphony Orchestra. Remember they're not professional musicians, they're medical students!


Lindsay Perigo's picture

The Japanese, our enemy in WW2, seem to be the last best hold-out against The Filth in 2020.

The Russians do Romantic Music proud too:

Japan sure don’t mind them some “whiteness”

Bruno's picture

Glad somewhere in the world old dead white men are appreciated as opposed to demonized:

Death to the Jacobins! - popular revolt of the “lower” classes

Bruno's picture

Glorious revolt of Southern Italy against ‘La republique’ leaves us with a very catchy song two centuries later:

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan

Bruno's picture

Perfect enunciation; fry-quackers of the world must watch, listen and learn.

The Original, dal Coro della Cappella Sistina

Bruno's picture

The Original, dal Coro della Cappella Sistina

Bruno's picture

Vive la Monarchie Française, merci beaucoup Maestro Tchaikovsky

Bruno's picture

Take me Home - popular music from real-America

Bruno's picture

Beyond moronnials, and beyond sublime

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Goodbye, Thank You and God Bless, Gallant Dame Vera!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

How we need the likes of her as much as ever in this time of Islamo-Nazism and Woke-Fascism!

Balm for the Soul

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Johann Pachelbel is a Dead White Male—since 1706, in fact—who wrote glorious music during the Baroque period, part of the tradition that shows anew the supremacy of Western Civilisation and is especially soothing at a time when grotesque savages are looting, burning and killing in their efforts to bring that civilisation down. NEVER KNEEL!


Lindsay Perigo's picture

This was not unheard Mario after all, but doctored Mario to make it seem unheard. Those with ears and a musical brain latched on after a few hearings. One has posted the authentic version anew. It's magnificent:

Hitherto Unheard Mario

Lindsay Perigo's picture

In 1948, Mario appeared at the Hollywood Bowl and sang Nessun Dorma and Agnus Dei with orchestra conducted by the legendary Miklos Rosza. The actual performance has long been available, but now there has surfaced what appears to be a rehearsal, with no audience present. For a rehearsal it's amazingly seamless, and utterly electrifying. Note, the audio is running ever so slightly fast, and the sound remains, as it always was, thin ... but this is still a stunner!

The Unaccompanied Human Voice

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Thomas Tallis. In my dreams, lover and soul-mate!

Sergei Wrote ONLY Tunes!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

This was his tribute to Tchaikovsky, written immediately upon Tchaikovsky's death.

When Richard Wrote a Tune ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Costa plays Chopin

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Mario's accompanist played some solos at Lanza's Royal Albert Hall concert in 1958. I especially rejoice in reading the NYT's reportage (when that's what they did) that Mario sold out within four hours of ticket sales opening. In those days, humans were human!!

Stjepan Again!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Liszt Reincarnated

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Palestrina and Caravaggio

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What could be more heavenly?!

The Spiritual Solidarity of the Decent vs The Evil Woke

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The old girl at the end overcome with tears is the ultimate answer to the Evil Woke: Islamo-terrorists, Islamo-Marxists, Obleftivists, pomowankers, SJWs, snowflakes, the Perennially Offended, Putrid Pelosi, Satanic Soros, fry-quacking moronnials, Huawei, Hollywood, Academia, the media and all the rest of the fashionably odious. "Sing for the night is o'er"!!

Here's the same hymn sung by the woefully under-celebrated Charles Craig:

From Freddy

Lindsay Perigo's picture

For Kiwis: Freddy is right—the time sucks! 4 am Sunday NZ time. But I shall certainly be getting up for it.

Dear Lindsay,

well... I have been roped into one... I will play or "livestream" 1 Beethoven sonata live on t' internet... at 6pm European time, just thinking that is pretty rubbish for NZ(!) But that is how it is - Beethoven Op. 111. It is a joint venture by Munich's largest (tabloid) paper and our local concert hall. Just in case you think anyone will want to wake up or stay up it is as I said 6pm European time, Saturday 18th April. The newspaper's server is:

With the concert hall website:


This is a sort of consolation for all the local public/readers as a sort of offering to go on until life gets more normal...

All the best,


Gesendet von Outlook Mobile

Here is the work Freddy will be performing. If one wanted proof of God, this would be it:

Here It Is

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Bocelli from Il Duomo, Milan

Lindsay Perigo's picture

5 am Easter Monday NZ time:

Easter Offering

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Another visual as well as aural and spiritual feast:

Joyful Jacques!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Phenomenal Fiddling

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Libiamo! Let's libate!

Something a Little Different

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Here's Operatunity, with whom I toured for the Great Mario Lanza show in 2016, making the most of being grounded. That's my madcap nephew doing MC honours and singing, along with some of the other operatuners:


Olivia's picture

The unseemliness of it! Hair flopping, talent AND emotions! tsk tsk

Our Old Friend the Hair-Flopper!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Haven't featured Stjepan here for a while:

Beethoven 9, Last Movement: Ode to Joy

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Thanks for that Linz...

Olivia's picture

such a beautiful, reaching sonata.
And inspired by Satan rather than the Gods.
Evil Evil

Crikey, that was good!

PhilipD's picture

Crikey, that was good!

Dizzyingly Diabolical

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Hat-tip: Lady Olivia

From the YT Comments section:

The story goes Giuseppe had a hard time getting money and getting booked for playing his violin, one day he decided to kill himself but before he wanted to sleep one more night. He began to have a dream of the devil walking up to the side of his bed telling Giuseppe he would make him the most famous violinist in the world, if he gave himself to the devil. Before Giuseppe could respond the devil pulls out a violin and started playing the most beautiful song Giuseppe had ever heard in his life, Giuseppe awoke in the middle of the night and jumped out of bed, ran to his violin in order to re-create the song. Till this day nobody has still ever exactly replicated the song just as Giuseppe. Written in diaries and notebooks from the mid 17 century it is said that during the performance you could hear bells and chimes while feeling like the room gets smaller and smaller. Some notebooks say that after the performance they have about of body experience seeing the devil clapping from the corner of the theaters he would play in.

Life—I'm Lovin' It!!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

"To drink of life's fullness and take all it can give ..."

Vivacious Vivaldi

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Baroque Rock & Roll!

Dazzling Dvorak

Lindsay Perigo's picture


Lindsay Perigo's picture

Feast for the eyes, as well as ears and soul. Crank that volume up!

Terrific! One every day: an

PhilipD's picture

One every day: an essential service...

Divinity vs the Comchina Virus

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I'll put one of these up every day until the Comchina Virus is Trumped. The idea is simply to close your eyes and be transported away from Apocalypsia straight to Heaven:

That's very well said!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Brilliant by Scruton. Alas, one cultured voice in a wilderness of barbarism.

The tyranny of pop music

Bruno's picture

We must clear the air of noise:

Race Relations as They Might Be and Ought to Be—Via Music!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Visuals from The Toast of New Orleans, 1950. 2' 04" in. Adorable!!

Not to mention romantic relations as they might be and ought to be. Mario sings with his penis as much as his larynx. And what a climax! Would not be allowed nowadays.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Ennio Morricone is a film composer genius. Here's a 2018 expansion of one of his works by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.

Music of the God Robert

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The German Schumann's First Symphony played by ... horreurs! ... an orchestra of pretty Jewish boys and girls. I've really had it with the anti-Israel low-lifes, the grotesque Congresswimmin Omars of this world, so post this while thumbing my nose at them, knowing they won't get a note of the music or a smidgeon of the decency. Such sub-humans could begin their redemption by listening to the second movement, beginning at 10' 40". They would first need to realise that it's not music for concentration camps:

Mission Impossible

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

High-quality interpretation.

Music Beyond the Gods!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Cello Sonata by the god Chopin. He really was a hero. Integrity, truth to himself and unprecedented capacity to create aural beauty oozing from every pore:

RIP Goddess Montserrat

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Music of the God Max

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Bruch's Kol Nidrei, played by Luka Sulic :

And sung by the great Jan Peerce:


Bruno's picture

Beautiful piece by God Carl! Thanks for sharing, Linzio!

The theme reminded me of the finale to Vivaldi's Juditha Triumphans, which Venetian-nationalists/separatists in Italy have successfully made into a popularly recognizable national anthem for future independent Venetia. The oratorio was written by Antonio to celebrate the victory of Venice over the mohammedan Turks at the island of Corfu in 1716.

"Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernis barbarie (Judith triumphant over the barbarians of Holofernes), RV 644, is an oratorio by Antonio Vivaldi, the only survivor of the four that he is known to have composed. Although the rest of the oratorio survives completely intact, the overture has been lost. The Latin libretto was written by Iacopo Cassetti based upon the Book of Judith.

The exact date of composition and performance of Juditha triumphans are not known, but the allegorical treatment of the Venetian defense of Corfu dominated public discussion in Venice throughout 1716. This work was an allegorical description of the victory of the Venetians (the Christians) over the Turks in August 1716. The work was commissioned to celebrate the victory of the Republic of Venice over the Turks during the siege of Corfu: in July 1716, the Turks had landed on Corfu and set siege to the island. The population resisted the occupation and, in August, Venice signed an alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor. On 18 August, under the leadership of count Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg, the decisive battle was won and the Turks abandoned the island."

Yes, the music is pre-Romanticism, but still. A good tune for a national anthem. Here's the lyrics to the finale, Salve Invicta Juditha:

Salve invicta Juditha formosa [Hail, undefeated, prosperous Judith]
Patriae splendor spes nostrae salutis. [Splendor of the fatherland, hope of our salvation]
Summae norma tu vere virtutis [True example of utmost virtue]
Eris semper in mundo gloriosa. [Ever to the world you shall be glorious]

Debellato sic barbaro Trace [So defeated the Thracian* barbarian]
Triumphatrix sit Maris Regina. [Triumphant be the Queen of the Sea]
Et placata sic ira divina [And god's ire now placated]
Adria vivat, et regnet in pace. [Adria** will live, and reign, in peace]

*Thrace is the area surrounding, and including, Istanbul/Constantinople, the capital of the mussulman caliphate.
**Adria is a poetic name for Venice, indicating she is the city with dominion over the Adriatic sea.

Music of the God Carl

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The first full-on Romantic furnished these programme notes for what was in effect his 3rd piano concerto:

(F minor; Larghetto affetuoso): "A châtelaine sits alone on her balcony, gazing off in the distance. Her knight has gone on a Crusade to the Holy Land. Years have passed, battles have been fought; is he still alive? Will she ever see him again?"
(F minor; Allegro passionato): "Her excited imagination summons a vision of her noble husband lying wounded and forsaken on the battlefield. Could she not fly to his side and die with him? She falls back, unconscious. Then from the distance comes the sound of a trumpet. There in the forest something flashes in the sunlight as it comes nearer and nearer"
(C major: Tempo di marcia): "Knights and squires, with the Crusaders' cross and banners waving, are acclaimed by the crowd. And there her husband is among them! She sinks into his arms."
(F major, Presto giocoso): "Happiness without end! The woods and waves sing a song of love, while a thousand voices proclaim its victory".

So you can savour Romanticism in music and triumph over Islamosavagery simultaneously!

Music of the God Franz

Lindsay Perigo's picture

It KASSed to find this today, with so much of The Filth on such prominent display of late.

God Zoltan Kocsis, Hungarian, is no slouch when it comes to playing the works of god Franz Liszt, another Hungarian. (We're very pro-Hungarian right now, with Islamenablers Soros and Bwook both so anti.) On this occasion he steps aside for god Denis Matsuev and up to the podium. All the more poignant and powerful because Zoltan left us not so long ago. This recording is from 2014. Here is my answer to The Filth. Soros and Bwook have no chance:

Just wonderful. Absolutely

PhilipD's picture

Just wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

I need to hear more of Jonas Kaufmann...

God Yes ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

That's a value-swoon aria, and Anna's version is right up there. A goddess!

Turandot is one of the few decent pieces of serious music written in the twentieth century. After WW1, decent composers—since serious music was hijacked by terrorists, who took their cue from Wagner—repaired to operetta, musical comedy and pop—including, to a limited extent, jazz and rock & roll (till the advent of headbanging caterwauling). Mario's hit, Be My Love by Brodsky was a steal from Brahms, as was the Serenade from The Student Prince by Romberg. Taking nothing away from these guys, since they nicked just little bits and turned them into something different and equally magical—that's just where they as gods as opposed to sub-humans had to go. The realm of the gods had been conquered by sub-humans such as Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Webern, et al. It hasn't yet been reclaimed.


Olivia's picture

Yes, Jonas' face - such a noble look of pride and gleeful satisfaction. Wonderful to behold!

Ed and I got to see opening night of romantic Turandot at the Sydney Opera House a few years ago - it remains the best highlight of our time out on a town together. It was spontaneous you see - didn't even know it was playing until we got there. Smiling

I adore this little aria sung by the ill-fated servant girl, Liu:

Sir, listen! Ah, sir, listen!
Liu can bear no more!
Her heart is breaking! My, how long I’ve walked
With your name in my soul
With your name on these lips!
But if your destiny
Tomorrow, will be decided,
We will die on the road of exile.
He’ll lose his son
I, the shadow of a smile.
Liù can bear no more! Ah! Ah!

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