Sunday, 17 July 2011

Ave Maria + Bach + Gounod + Youth = Gorgeous

The words

The Bach/Gounod Ave Maria is certainly the most well known of all sacred 'pot boilers' - now there has to be a reason why it withstands time and all the ravages of bad singing, average singing, lovely singing and truly brilliant singing, and my theory is that the underlying Bach Prelude which acts as the accompaniment to a melody composed by Gounod is like the most steadfast rock upon which nothing can falter.

The Master Bach

The keys it moves through and the wonderfully satisfying resolutions have left listeners through the ages with a sense of complete satisfaction and the feeling of 'coming home'.

The arranger Gounod

Last night my young 14 year old soprano R performed it for my Austrian guests, and once more it's magic wove a ribbon of musical delight around the room. The Latin text of the Ave Maria is timeless and cherished by all, Catholics and Protestants alike, and the Bach piano accompaniment is so perfect that the singer can simply ride over the top of it like a surfer on a large and unstoppable wave.

Sometimes we just forget how beautiful these popular pieces are, and how we must treat them with the same respect as supposedly more intellectual music. After all, music is just music, and a shining young voice singing this lovely melody is a delight. At the RAM prize in May, as some of you may recall, I heard a very young tenor sing the self same aria, full of heart and like young R, full of joy as well as all the endearing imperfections which make it so vulnerable and fragile.

The Performer (in the middle, the others are my grandchildren!)

My friends were both delighted and astonished that such a sound came from such a small body - ah well, you see, it is all in the production not the pounds and ounces !

Well done young R, you did me proud.

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