Since I am sick and haven’t sewn in the last week or finished Katie’s dress yet, I thought I would
treat you to bore you with some thoughts on music. I think my BFF Cayce would agree with me here when I say that I can be a bit dramatic. Oh and possibly my sister would agree too. Oh and maybe everyone I have ever known. Now if that’s not a dramatic introduction, I don’t know what is.
Back when I used to sing for my supper I had grandiose plans for my retirement concert. I wonder if other singers do that? I programmed the entire concert, down to the last encore song (because, of course, there would be more than one encore, right?). I have always had a major love affair with song repertoire, German Lieder in particular. While singing opera with an orchestra and other singers on stage is wonderful and exciting, I adored the intimacy and gem-like qualities of art song, poetry set to music. German composers like Wolf and Strauss were my favorites. But there was one Schubert song that I have always revered, An die Musik (poet: Franz von Schober). Written for voice and piano, it is an ode to music with a hymn-like simplicity but deeply felt melodic line. I loved this song so much I even undertook to learn the piano music for it so I could accompany myself whenever I felt like singing it (I am not a good pianist by any measure).
Here is the text:
An die Musik
Du holde Kunst, in wieviel grauen Stunden,
Wo mich des Lebens wilder Kreis umstrickt,
Hast du mein Herz zu warmer Lieb’ entzunden,
Hast mich in eine beßre Welt entrückt!
Oft hat ein Seufzer, deiner Harf’ entflossen,
Ein süßer, heiliger Akkord von dir
Den Himmel beßrer Zeiten mir erschlossen,
Du holde Kunst, ich danke dir dafür!
English translation (not my own):
|Oh lovely Art, in how many grey hours,
When life’s fierce orbit ensnared me,
Have you kindled my heart to warm love,
Carried me away into a better world!How often has a sigh escaping from your harp,
A sweet, sacred chord of yours
Opened up for me the heaven of better times,
Oh lovely Art, for that I thank you!
And here is Dame Janet Baker singing this wonderful song.
The funny thing is: I never had a retirement concert. One day I was pursuing music as my career and then the next, I wasn’t. There was no wind-down, no last concert. I was unaware that my last concert was indeed my last concert. So I never sang my last encore. Ah, hubris.
So what does this have to do with sewing? Well, honestly, not much. But it started me to wondering what the sewing equivalent of a last encore song would be. Would it be a one of a kind, complex dress like a wedding dress? Would it be a sewn gift to someone you love?
Or maybe there isn’t an equivalent in sewing at all since we never have to “retire”. We can sew as long as we want. Our audience is ourselves. We can sew into our 80’s and 90’s if we want. Never knowing which garment is to be our encore.
So, humor me, what do you think? Does sewing have a swan song? If so, what is it?