31 October 2009

Music for an Autumn Day

It is the stretched soul that makes music. . . .
~ Eric Hoffer

It is raining and gray outside. The kettle is whistling and the tea leaves are swirling in a dance of calm joy. It is the perfect autumn day and I have the perfect music to go with it. Because yesterday I struck music gold twice!

On my regular Starbucks morning stop before heading to the office, I was getting ready to pay for my Earl Grey Latte, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw Glen Hansard. Well, not the real Glen Hansard, but his picture on an album. You may remember him and his singing partner, Marketa Irglova from the hit indie flick, Once [if you haven't seen it, get thee to Netflix right now and add it to your queue ~ you will buy the soundtrack soon after!]

Glen and Marketa have collaborated on a new album: Strict Joy. I immediately snatched it up and took it along with my latte to my desk and spent the rest of the day listening to it over and over while I typed up minutes and proofread and edited reports. None of the tracks have quite the haunting and mesmerizing quality of Falling Slowly or If You Want Me, but the album overall seems a well-thought out effort and both Hansard and Irglova's composing abilities still blow me away.

For instance, Fantasy Man contains the stark and beautiful The story of two lovers / Who danced both edges of the knife ~ a lyric that makes me shiver and wish I had written it! Another favorite is In These Arms with lines like You were restless / I was somewhere less secure. Back Broke is another favorite, with a great melody that weaves in and out, surging in just the right places and pulling you in: I came on your command / Don't give me false hope. Last but possibly the track I played as much Back Broke, is I Have Loved You Wrong for its sheer beauty and the longing ache of a lover who let her beloved go.

Later in the evening, wrapping myself in soft, fuzzy blankets and drinking vanilla chamomile tea mixed with a rather large shot of Maker's Mark to stave off any autumnal virus that might be lurking around, I pulled up my Netflix account and watched Cowboys and Angels which reviewers said was a nice, albeit cheesy, "chick flick". What can I say? I am a romantic and a push over for a good love story.

So there were definitely scenes that had enough cheese to make a pizza. But overall, I loved it! It was well done and the shots of the countryside in Utah were breathtaking. And the love story was beautiful ~ and amazingly for Hollywood ~ clean and closer to reality. But being a musicophile, I was struck most by the soundtrack. I searched everywhere, but could not find one.

However, another fan posted somewhere that he had bought Sasha Lazard's The Myth of Red as the song Angeli is feature in the film. What a voice! Myth is a great album along the lines of Mario Frangoulis or Amici Forever: classical opera mixed with pop ~ a genre I am particularly fond of.

So download these albums, make a cup of tea and relax with Glen, Marketa, and Sasha. It is the perfect day for it.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

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