Bartok is my designated music for walking down the cobblestoned streets of Providence on brisk, gray days. Today was gray and I was walking through Benefit street with the lovely Ashley Tuccero, but a little too cold to think of listening to Bartok. Windy, too.
Maybe I was cold not solely in terms of temperature, but something made the “Oh hot damn / this is my jam / [keep me partying ’til 2 am]” attitude of Bartok’s stuff inappropriate for my current state. As, you see, my hands would not have been “in the ayer,” but in my pockets, had my blazer had pockets.
There is something distinctly warm about French music. Yes, I mean the music of an entire geographic region, and temporally, Couperin to Faure to Hocus Pocus to Joe Dassin to, well, Stephane Pompougnac. If there were a musical analogue of caramel, I think they’ve got it.
For example, Stephane Pompougnac’s version of “ Here’s to You.” There’s something so welcoming and pleasant in the gentle, rustling percussion, the non-cloying use of I-V-vi [because it could go down the road of iii -IV- I – IV – V], perhaps even calypso rhythms? The lyrics also repeat over and over, but with very natural rhythmic improvisation by the singer. Like, if someone told me to make variations, that’s exactly what I’d try. It’s a fantastically comfortable song to listen to.
Here’s to you Nicholas and Bart
Rest forever here in our hearts
The last and final moment is yours
That agony is your triumph!
These lyrics are, somehow, from a series of songs about Sacco and Vanzetti, two anarchists from Massachusetts. I don’t know if I feel like an anarchist. I think I’m just cold.