In an earlier post about our summer vacation I did not mention the musical evenings at the Old Wheeler Hotel, in Wheeler, OR. After dinner at the only restaurant in town that was open, we returned to the hotel to what turned out to be an evening of music. At the “welcome tour” the guide had shown us the Music Room, which has a various kinds of recorded music to play and a piano, complete with very old sheet music.And all of that was not simply to look at; we were invited to play the piano, etc. So I did!
I sat down and played through most of the sheet music — Deep Purple, some show tunes, and several very old things I had never heard of. In this case “old” means 1908, 1924, etc. To say the least, this very old music provided postmodern ears fleeing the harshness of much current music, with an antidote and kind of reconnection to the past that was refreshing!
After a little while, people in the adjoining rooms began to come out their doors and joined me. At first they sat quietly and listened; some while reading their books. I played a few of the pieces again and then asked if anyone else played or sang. Two people declared their abilities as singers and we had a somewhat hilarious, spontaneous music evening. The fact that the singing wasn’t exactly good didn’t appear to lessen the pleasure of such a simple and out-of-date form of entertainment. It was so clearly not what we usually do, and not from the world we live in, that the musical evening itself was a kind of trip to another time and place.
One of the pieces, complete with a melodramatic cover of a Gypsy woman, hand holding a branch of flowers, raised to her forehead and a man lying on the ground playing a lute — Heartache by F. Paolo Frontini, 1908 — stuck with me so much that I asked for a copy of the music so that I might play it at home.
The next day, instead of a copy of the music, which some how did not fit a modern copy machine, they gave me that sheet music.
I am not advocating for a return to sentimentality in music and world views, but I deeply enjoy this music. I welcome the intensity of overt emotion that makes NO effort at all to hide behind any kind of “cool”.
This kind of music is probably an acquired taste. I still enjoy this extremely old fashioned music from another day, even if no one else seems to enjoy quite as much as do. At any rate, if you want to hear it, let me know and I will be glad to play it for you at my house.