Like many singers, I’m starting to look forward to stepping back into some version, at least, of the regular rhythm of rehearsing and performing which has been part of the structure of my life for—jings—4 decades now. At an informal sing in someone’s garden the other week (I can’t really dignify it by the title of rehearsal!) it was chastening to realise how much our voices have suffered from separation and silence. But it was still delicious to come together to make music, croaky and awkward as it was. I love the way Lisel Mueller honours and articulates the particular joy of live music (in the poem’s case, of listening to it). Read ‘Brendel Playing Schubert‘ or have it read to you (press the little arrow at the top. Poem starts c. 3.10.)
I can’t pretend that the noises I make in the choirs I sing in, might be as transporting as what’s described in the poem. But I do recognise that sense of ‘gratitude…/ for the two hours we’ve spent/ out of our bodies and away/ from our guardian selves/ in the nowhere where the enchanted live’. Listening to music played live, mediated afresh for you by a skilled and sensitive performer, is such a treat. And there is a similar rapture, a sense of transport, in being part of one body which unites to make a single, multi-layered noise.
If either listening or music making is one of your drugs, too, I wish you much joy in coming back to it (all being well) over the coming weeks. Bliss.