Skip to content

Summer nights

September 13, 2012

“Summer nights” for once does not refer to John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, however good they were and however much sex appeal they oozed.

Unlike many contemporaries I never really had much of a thing for the latter: variously described as ONJ, the “Neutron Bomb”, and (per Eric Morecambe) Three Lovely Fellers, but she wasn’t the one that I wanted.

Mine was more  punk pin-up Hazel O’Connor, but only to listen to, and only when she sang Will You?  Otherwise she was pretty scary. Singing Decadent Days on Top of the Pops in 1981, strutting agressively around wearing tight black trousers and a black bra, she should perhaps have been more attractive to a boy in late adolescence, but this one was cowering  behind the sofa. (Dad, meanwhile, was looking on with disapproval, but whether it was the song, the performance, the skimpiness of the upper clothing or its colour that he objected to, I can’t clearly remember.)

It was the singer of Will You?  – a beautiful, haunting, slow song, the last third of which is a mesmerising sax solo – that drew me, rather than Hazel herself. It’s easy to understand if the music is right. Mum says that the true love of Dad’s life was really soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Dad says nothing, sniggering behind his hand because Mum has forgotten his passion for Dame Janet Baker.

Which brings us back to Summer nights. Or, to come clean, Les Nuits d’Été, a cycle of six songs by Berlioz, on a recording by Janet Baker we picked up recently at a charity shop. Berlioz isn’t usually first choice for me, and I am not conscious of having heard any other recording of these songs, but the richness of this is beyond beautiful.  It’s absolutely the right combination of music and performance.  I’m with Dad on this: Janet Baker is the business.

And the accompaniment to these remarks? The Psychedelic Furs, Forever Now. But let me assure you, it’s purely platonic.


From → Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. Links to Will You? and Decadent Days should be embedded. But just in case, here they are (hopefully) again:

    Janet Baker – Nuits d’ete
    Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (sound only)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

the dancing professor

building back the habit of writing, one day at a time

Eric Schlehlein, Author

(re)Living History, with occasional attempts at humor and the rare pot-luck subject. Sorry, it's BYOB. All I have is Hamm's.

Janh1: Mainly fair with occasional rain.

Mediocre revelations of a part-time hedonist.

fionaok's Blog

The greatest site in all the land!

Sian is Me

A library of thoughts

Dave's Corner of the Universe

Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide


Concert, Opera, Recital

Walk the Self-Talk

Breathing Thoughts into Life

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness


Just Click It


Nominated for The Deli Magazines Artist of The Month

tanja stark

art words ideas

MarLa Sink Druzgal

"Traveling MarLa"

Fasting, Food and other musings by determined34

This is a blog started with a 'reboot your life' 3 day challenge and has developed into random posts about family, travel, food, life and other adventures

LoveLee Adulting

Take the journey to Adulthood with me.

Classical Conditioning

Let's talk about classical music

Every record tells a story

A Blog About Music, Vinyl, More Music and (Sometimes) Music...

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

Inside Croydon

Living life on the fringes of London


The greatest site in all the land!


10 Facts to Get You Started

notabarrister - thoughts from the clerk's room

"I clerk therefore I am" - Des a clerk

The Well-Read Sherlockian

Take a look inside the tin dispatch box....


Random musings

The Blog

...and sometimes he sings it instead

%d bloggers like this: