The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

14 February
Comments Off on Jan Vermeer’s 1670 Masterpiece Is Just Right For Valentine’s Day

Jan Vermeer’s 1670 Masterpiece Is Just Right For Valentine’s Day

The Dutch artist Jan Vermeer painted “The Love Letter” around 1670 but the mood is timeless and so appropriate for Valentine’s Day….capturing that glorious moment of surrender to the magic of loving and being loved….

The subject of this painting is love. This is evident in the presence of musical references (the instrument held by the woman and the musical score on the chair in the foreground) which were commonly used as a metaphor for harmony between two people and the letter which the young woman holds, undoubtedly from a loved one whom she speaks of with the servant. The painters of interior scenes often included paintings within paintings to clarify the meaning of the composition. In this case the paintings on the end wall, a landscape with a man and woman and a seascape, undoubtedly refer to the absence of the loved one….

Across 350 years we are in that house. We see their faces and we can almost hear their voices.

That is the power of art….

That is the power of love….

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16 December
Comments Off on Louis Armstrong Does Romantic With Edith Piaf Classic

Louis Armstrong Does Romantic With Edith Piaf Classic

Louis Armstrong plays and sings Edith Piaf’s love song “La vie en rose”. Not only does he manage to convey the romantic message of the lyrics with his gruff and gravelly voice but he proceeds to offer a masterclass in jazz trumpet…..

Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me, Heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose….

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17 May
Comments Off on Across A Crowded Room – The Music Of Romance

Across A Crowded Room – The Music Of Romance

Remember this?

Some enchanted evening
When you find your true love,
When you feel her call you
Across a crowded room,
Then fly to her side,
And make her your own
Or all through your life you
May dream all alone.

Am I out of sync with this 21st century world when I say the words of that beautiful song still send shivers up and down my spine. In this world of “relationships” rather than marriages, of “partners” instead of husbands/wives, is the sentiment behind it a curious relic of a bygone age?

I wonder.

We live in a society where certain political and commercial cartels appear to have an interest in engulfing our cultural antennae with a constantly recurring tsunami of sexuality until every taboo has been swept aside. So, is there room for that notion of romance – the sheer unbounding sense of exhilaration when a man or a woman wants to be by your side and where sex is merely one manifestation of that sweet surrender of oneself to another?

For many years western popular music proved a reliable and universally acceptable vehicle for expressing the magic of that moment, either via gentle, light hearted joy

…or with the the bittersweet emotion of parting

Sometimes we wanted to broadcast to the whole of mankind that we were together by going anywhere and everywhere arm in arm

On the other hand it could be a more wistful almost ethereal dreamscape where the rest of the world scarcely mattered

Romance could sometimes be a roller coaster of emotion marked by a deep sense of yearning when your other half was elsewhere and all you had was emptiness

A cascade of words could splash the canvas of love with shimmering, vibrant colours of devotion

But a love could also be so deep that being together in itself was sufficient and no words were needed

So do songs like these have no resonance with young (or even old) people today?

I would wager that they do but as a modern music of the underground, the new cultural samizdat, publicly disowned but privately treasured…

…and these words, easily mocked by a corrupt and cynical media, must surely still strike a chord across a million crowded rooms…

Once you have found her,
Never let her go.
Once you have found her,
Never let her go!

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