Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Golden Voices and Melodies

Rabbi Sonsino
I have always been drawn by the beauty of the human voice. Even though I love instrumental music, I find that good male or female voices can reach the innermost recesses of the heart, and allow us to transform ourselves in spiritual ecstasy. Whenever I have an opportunity, I turn to my favorite singers, whether classical or pop, or, for that matter, to western as well as oriental musicians, for a transcendental experience.

Over the years I have had many favorites. Here below I wish to share with you my three choices. I hope you, too, will find them exhilarating.

a) “Morning Has Broken” by Cat Stevens:

This is a hymn that gives thanks for each day. It originally appeared in the “Songs of Praise” (1931), a Christian hymnal, and was popularized by the British-born singer and songwriter Cat Stevens, who now calls himself Yusuf Islam, reaching the No. 1 spot in the musical charts.

b) “Beklenen Sarki” (in Turkish, ‘The Long Awaited Song”)  by Zeki Muren:

Born in Turkey (1931), this incredible singer became famous for his compelling and sweet voice, precise articulation of exquisite Turkish poetry and flashy appearance (a la Liberace) in his long career (he died in 1966).  When I was young in Istanbul, I did not pay much attention to him, but now I have rediscovered him and realized what a great musician he was. In this love song, he hopes that his beloved will not have other dreams but those directed at him.

c) “Ah, Perdonna al primo affetto” from “La Clemenza di Tito” by Mozart.

In this short but sweet two-act opera, two lovers sing, each asking the other, “to forgive my former love.” In this version the duet is sung by Elena Xanthoudakis and Rosel Labone. I hope you like it.

Rifat Sonsino

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