Monday, May 14, 2007

Eurovision Song Contest

“Ten million tuned in for Eurovision” claimed the BBC. Wow! And they say that the public has no taste.
I must admit that I have rarely caught more than an accidental glimpse of this moronic performance so I suppose that I am ill qualified to carp about it. But the enduring mystery to me is just what has become of the musicians who used to write memorable songs. And equally, of the singers who sang them.
Tony Bennett was in town the other day, demonstrating at Ronnie Scott’s club just how good songs can be and just how well they can be sung by a professional singer. He’s eighty years old, an age at which most would have hung up their tonsils, but is, apparently, as mellifluous as ever.
He sings songs that are both melodically and harmonically in the same vein as Bach, Beethoven and Borodin. And before anybody says “well, they’re old hat,” I should point out that his rendering of “The Long and Winding Road,” an old Beatles song, is as good as any.
I was fortunate enough to see and hear him at a charity concert in a small town in Ohio. I forget the name of the town and also the charity – but not his performance. After a typically rousing warm-up by the local master of ceremonies, he announced, in strident tones “and now, Mr. Tony Bennett!”
The spotlights illuminated a totally empty stage and a totally baffled MC.
And then Tony Bennett started to sing from a corner of the hall, where he had been leaning nonchalantly on the piano.
He needed neither build-ups nor spotlights. He was there to sing. And when one of his accompanying group, who had been with him since the dawn of time, had a solo spot, he stood there, listening attentively.
Tony Bennett was (and apparently, still is) both an outstanding singer of songs and an outstandingly modest man.
A million miles removed from the tuneless chanting and talentless performers at the Eurovision Song Contest.
I wish I had been there to hear him at Ronnie Scott’s. And I’m glad I wasn’t at the Eurovision Song Contest.

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Blogger CmyC5 said...

Thank you for putting Benny in a spot and place where his peers in music and composition far outshines the lack lustre lighting from the stage and overall setting of that location that tried to compliment the array of repetoir I followed through (only a few & switched it off with a nod and disagreeing sigh...) which presented an uncanny inbalance & mixture of culturally inadequacy but overly pumped by display of artists (more a distraction IMHO) that I wasn't interested in appreciating when the sole purpose is to applaud & hail a well sung or written lyric!!

None of that earned my appreciation from the 7 candidate countries....urghhh.

What a let as sung, and to be appraised and voted on an international scale or level, should be appealing, even if one cannot or does not understand the ethnic origin of the song or melody flowing from it.

It should overcome my senses both in tranquility and sweetness coupled by curiosity to hum or whistle along whatever the genre it depicts from. I could not, I was simply turned & tuned off and it concluded my disappointment on this year's Euro Song contest altogether!

6:59 pm  

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