Thursday, September 3, 2015

September 3

Musings from your blogger:
A question of talent vs. taste

24-year-old Seann Miley Moore brought the house down at auditions for Britain’s television talent competition, X Factor 2015. The Australian singer had moved to London to audition for the show. Before he sang a note, the audience witnessed an attention hungry contestant clad in oversized hoop earrings, a vinyl skirt, sheer mesh top, metal waist synching belt, a mangy faux-fur jacket, platform boots, a backwards leather baseball cap and enough lipstick and makeup to make Tammy Faye Baker jealous. Not sure I’d want to be seen walking down the street with him.

Then he opened his mouth to sing. Broadcast viewers who had been perhaps rolling their eyes a few moments before sat transfixed, witnessing a display of talent so massive that everyone was overwhelmed. Pitch-perfect, confident, singular, powerful, emotionally over the top, Mr. Moore gave us a never-to-be-forgotten rendition of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On,” a Freddie Mercury torch song from the last months of his life before he died of AIDS in 1991. I was flabbergasted by Moore’s performance. He seemed to suck all the air from the room.

When it comes to taste in music, few of us think exactly alike. To most of us, the only good music is music we like. We tend to discount or even scoff at people who like music we don’t like. I make my living as a classical musician – a keyboardist (piano, organ, harpsichord) and conductor. More than a few of my peers look down on my interest in jazz, nuevo-tango and rock music as slumming amongst “low-brow” genres. Poppycock. Even though I have conducted the Opera House Orchestra at D.C.’s Kennedy Center, I am seldom touched by classical music the way I am transported by the bandoneon played by Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) headlining a tango ensemble. I am enraptured by the melodies, harmonies, emotional impact and throbbing rhythms of nuevo tango. One style of music is not “better” than the other* – they’re just different. No matter the genre, I am a sucker for talent, whether composers or performers. There is crappy classical music (a lot of it, actually), lousy jazz and mediocre nuevo-tango. I seek out the best works and performers in whatever genre interests me at the moment. Blue grass music usually leaves me cold, but I recently attended a videotaping of an episode of “Songs of the Mountain” in Marion, VA. I was blown away – songs that had harmonic interest and top drawer lyrics were performed by first rate singers and instrumentalists (who knew that a mandolin could be played with such artistry and finesse?). I was astonished when having breakfast with some of the performers the next morning that they did not have major careers in music. They were dental assistants, hairdressers and accountants moonlighting in order to perform blue grass, their first love. The fact that performers of this talent level could not sustain full-time music careers nearly made my head explode.

*That said, I rank “folk music” near the bottom of my list; how often can one listen to the same three chords performed by voices that should never have been encouraged in the first place? But that’s just my assessment.It doesn't hold my interest. A friend loved an obscure Indie-Rock band (I've forgotten their name), and he played his favorite track for me. It was five words repeated over and over layered atop two chords - for more than five minutes. Give me a break -- I'd ask for my money back. Five words and two chords is not worth a 99-cent MP3 file.

But enough about me, however. Let’s get back to Seann Miley Moore. If your eyes can’t take the trappings of his fashion statement, turn away from the screen and just listen to this amazing performance. You won't forget it. The music starts at the 2:00 timing mark.

Baker's Dozen: Selfies

Shavers - for a smooth look:

1 comment:

  1. # 1
    Bro like to cross paths with you and check out the equipment from to bottom