Saturday, November 22, 2008

O Hail Bright Cecilia

I was searching for something to commemorate today - the Feast of Santa Cecilia and sort of threw around the idea of one of the Handel or Boyce Odes. But going back to last year's post for the same feast it struck me that the best way to celebrate the Patron Saint of Music would be with one of the greatest pieces of music making ever recorded.

Back in 1951 Jussi Björling and Robert Merrill recorded "Au Fond du Temple" from Bizet's The Pearl Fishers in just two takes in the RCA Victor Brooklyn studios and nothing has bettered it since.

There's a wonderful story that when Sir Thomas Beecham was recording La Boheme with Björling and Merrill he kept having them repeat their duet. Finally in desperation Merrill asked him what he was trying to achieve. The avuncular Beecham simply beamed and said: Nothing. I just love to hear the two of you sing!

And to my own bright Cecilia - happy Saint's Day!

22 novembre - Santa Cecilia


evilganome said...

Let me add my own best wishes to our Cecilia on her saint day.

Anonymous said...

This is a great duo. Thanks for putting them on your blog.

Another appropriate piece for the day is the Benjamin Britten "Ode to St. Cecilia". Quite lovely and great text.

Anonymous said...

I'm both smiling and tearing up a bit at the same time. How dear of you to remember! That was a genuinely beautiful piece to hear. And thank you as well EG for the good wishes.

And as you well know, I hated my name as a child :) I grew into it, as it were.



Sling said...

That was truly lovely Will.
I just know Cecilia is gonna love it too.