Today I dug out a CD that I hadn’t listened to in quite a while: In The Pink, music of Henry Mancini played by James Galway and a jazz orchestra. This was one of the first CDs I ever heard, back when CD players were rare and expensive. I think we had about three CDs at first, with the other two being Mozart overtures and John Williams movie themes.
Late at night, after my parents had gone upstairs for the night, I used to turn off the lights in the living room and play a CD. I’d dance around the living room with my sister (aged two or three or four) on my hip, or I’d dance and she’d rock on her spring-loaded rocking horse. There was just something neat about having the room dark and hearing this music. I wonder if she remembers this.
In The Pink was a favorite, in part because I knew some of the songs already. As I was listening to it today I realized that even then I must’ve been listening more for harmony than melody, although it’d be several years before I learned anything useful about harmony. My favorite track was one which also had a harp in it, and I remember trying to play the harp part I was hearing on the lever harp we were renting (I think?) while I took harp lessons. At some point I discovered there was a sheet music book for the CD, flute and piano accompaniment. I was excited to see what the music for my favorite track looked like, and was rather stunned to see that the flute part was actually very boring and repetitive. The beauty of the music was almost entirely in the accompaniment, with the melody more like the canvas holding it together. This is pretty much the opposite of how I usually think of music, with the melody decorating the underpinning of bass line and harmony.
I’ve remembered the music pretty well, after probably hundreds of times playing the recording. And yet, today I heard two chords, either guitar or synth, that I’d never heard before. It’s a good reminder to actually listen to the originals now and again, not just play them back in my head as I usually do.