Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cole Porter's Music

I love Cole Porter's music. Even though I can no longer hear it the way I know it should sound I keep practicing in hopes that one day I will truly enjoy the beautiful music of my youth.

Many of you know that I have a severe hearing loss and that I had a cochlear implant a few years ago. I was told that I would probably lose the sound of music. It was a difficult choice to make; hearing conversation again or continuing to enjoy music.

Music has been so much a part of my life that I had to think long and hard before making the decision. However, I was not functioning as a deaf person and I made my choice. Since that time I keep listening to music that I am familiar with. If I know the melody I can usually pick it up as I listen and then memory fills in the blanks. I am at a loss with unfamiliar melodies. I hope you will bear with me, therefore, when I drag out some very old Golden Oldies.

I will start my musical journey with four of my favorite Cole Porter melodies. You Tube did not identify the singer of Begin the Beguine but I am very sure it's Thomas Hampton. I have his CD with this song on it and I can tell that it sounds the same.

I am especially fond of Cole Porter, not only for his beautiful melodies, but for the story he tells with his lyrics. He paints a picture and in this song you can visualize the shore with the Island Band and the swaying palms. As you listen you are transported to a tropical night with a full moon and romance is in the air.

The next haunting melody is Night and Day from the movie De-Lovely.

The next song features Rachel York singing the hauntingly beautiful So In Love.

Strange dear, but true dear,
When I'm close to you, dear,
The stars fill the sky,
So in love with you am I.
Even without you,
My arms fold about you,
You know darling why,
So in love with you am I.
In love with the night mysterious,
The night when you first were there,
In love with my joy delirious,
When I knew that you could care,
So taunt me, and hurt me,
Deceive me, desert me,
I'm yours, till I die.....
So in love.... So in love....
So in love with you, my love... am I....

Cole Porter was born June 9, 1891 in Peru, Indiana to a wealthy family.
He took violin lessons, but did not like the harsh sound of the instrument and switched to the piano. He was composing songs at the age of ten.

Cole's music teacher, Dr. Abercrombe, told him "Words and music must be so inseparably wedded to each other that they are like one." This was a lesson that Cole certainly took to heart.

Cole attended Yale and wrote Fight songs that are still being sung there. To satisfy his wealthy grandfather he started Law School at Harvard, but changed to drama and the arts, writing songs for plays.

Cole spend the war years in France in the company of socialites and was very popular. Of course, now everyone knows that Cole was gay, and many of his love songs were written to men and not his wife. Love is love and these songs are beloved by sweethearts everywhere. Cole's marriage to Linda Thomas was one born of a close friendship that lasted until her death.

I will end my tribute to Cole Porter with another of my favorites. In the Still Of the Night. Popular singers sing this as a bouncy tune and I like the slow tempo of this choral group. I don't have a clue who they are.

I confess that Cole Porter's music leaves me feeling sad. I really don't know why.


Betty said...

So many of Cole Porter's songs have haunting melodies, even if the lyrics are not particularly sad. I can see why you feel a bit depressed, but still like his music.

Rummuser said...

I didn't know that with cochlear implants one loses the ability to enjoy music. That is an important lesson. Thank you. Cole Porter is a favourite of mine too.

Darlene said...

*Betty - Maybe it is the haunting melodies. Thank you for pointing that out. It makes sense to me.

*Rummuser - You have to train your brain to recognize sounds after an implant. I am still trying. At first the bass notes were just a rumble but now I can detect a note now and then.

la peregrina said...

I understand Cole Porter making you feel sad, even his cowboy song, "Don't Fence Me In," makes me feel sad. When I sing it, which I do in the shower, I always choke up on the lyric,

Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze,
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees...

The idea of cottonwood leaves rustling in the wind always makes me homesick for Colorado.

Oh, and thank you for reminding me that Cole Porter and I share the same birth date, I had forgotten.

Darlene said...

*la peregrina - I guess I have been away from Colorado for so many years that I don't get homesick anymore, but I missed Pikes Peak terribly for a very long time.

My goodness, to share Cole's birth date is quite exciting.

Kay Dennison said...

I love Cole Porter!!!! He was an absolute genius. Choose a favorite? For me, that's impossible! My daddy loved to sing and his favorites were buy Cole Porter and George Gershwin and he used to sing to us a lot.

Thank you!!!

Darlene said...

* Kay - What a lucky girl you were to have a daddy that sang to you. Especially since he sang Porter and Gershwin. Love them both.

20th Century Woman said...

I think they are sad because they are from a past that will not come again. And there is a kind of darkness to many of them.

Hattie said...

He belongs to the great period of the American popular song. It is the perfect wedding of music and lyrics that makes them so wonderful, as you point out.

Darlene said...

* 20th Century Woman - I hadn't thought of it as darkness, but I think you might have a point. Perhaps Cole was not always the happy partying guy he was reputed to be and an underlying sadness shows up in his music. His lyrics are often of a lost love.

Also, it does remind me that my future in now in the past.

*Hattie - I think there is a hunger for the kind of music that Cole wrote instead of much of the modern stuff that is often just a strong beat with ungrammatical lyrics.

tnlib said...

I admire your tenacity, I grew up on music (Sat. afternoons with the Texaco Metropolitan Opera) and love it dearly. I used to dance and sing (off-key) to Gershwin and Porter to my heart's content. Thanks for the memories.

joared said...

These are some really good music selections by artists I enjoy. I do wish you could hear them as you once did, but glad you have the memories.

Darlene said...

*tnlib - You sang off key? Ha Ha. I am sure I do now, although before my implant I had perfect pitch.

*Joared - Yes, I am grateful that during the first half of my life I had perfect hearing and was able to enjoy music. I hear it in my head now - the soaring violins, the oriental oboes, etc. But when I listen to the actual music the violins screech and the oboe sounds like a cello.