Sunday, June 14, 2009

I’ve been practicing and trying to perfect a new skill or science. I call it retro-phrenology. It’s based on the old belief, Phrenology, that a person’s personality could be analyzed by studying the lumps and bumps on their head.
In retro-phrenology, however, I believe that I can affect and direct someone’s personality by making lumps on their head. I got the idea from my mother who used to do it to me all the time.

I deserve a lump on the head for not going to see the Atlanta Boy Choir perform when I lived in Atlanta. I lived there for several years and I can't believe that I didn't once go see them. A good friend had a son who sang in the choir and they invited me to go on more than one occasion, but I passed it up thinking I wouldn't like it. I can be such a doofus.

Now I've been listening to their CD Garden of Beauty and it really is very good. I think their sound is a bit like the American Boychoir's. It's smooth and quietly beautiful. It’s interesting that there are no soloists on this album, no voice or voices that rise above the others to lead. It also has a slow tempo so that it sounds serene and contemplative.

The songs are not from the ususal choir repertoire and some of them use text from various poets. Garden Of Beauty comes from poems by an interesting trio of Sara Teasdale, E-Yeh-Shure and William Blake. The words to O Music come from Kalil Gibran and Nigra Sum is from the Song of Solomon.
The oddest one is adapted from an 1120 bestiary by Philippe de Thaun and tells a weird story about the pelican. It begins: “Pelicanus is the word for a certain breed of bird who truly is a crane; Egypt is his domaine.” It says the Pelican kills its young and then, in remorse, pecks its own breast so that its blood will revive them. Hmmm, I never knew that.

This choir has been around for more than 50 years, which is a long time by American standards, and has toured quite a bit. They have performed at the White House and they even won a Grammy award back in 1989.

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