Go mbeannai Dia duit.

About Me

My photo
Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It goes like this

The fourth, the fifth

The minor fall, the major lift

The baffled king composing Hallelujah




Hallelujah ~ Leonard Cohen

As my mother will testify, because we are usually haunting her house in the weeks prior to audition time, whichever song Star has chosen is going to be extremely well known by everyone within cooee before she is done because Star does actually rehearse.
This year, after weeks & weeks of angst, she chose Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. Unfortunately of all the available versions to choose from the two Star liked were unsingable by her.  One was too low, the other pitched too high.  So what did Star do?  She meshed the two, dragged out the guitar & spent forever learning chords & her innovative version of a very well known song. 

Now Star in full flight rather reminds me of Mamma Cass of the Mamas & the Pappas.  Some of us remember who they were.  She has the range, the power & that beautiful clarity of tone.  Not that she always displays that for choir but we sure get the full benefit around here ~ & Hallelujah is the sort of song to have everyone humming along so as I drove her into her audition yesterday I was under a strict injunction not to hum along.  My strange child did not forbid my going in with her, only my making strange noises under my breath!

Now auditions are brief, just 10 minutes duration usually.  After 4 years with Alison, Alison has a pretty good idea what's going on with Star's voice so asked if we'd mind waiting while she slipped a new girl in.  Not a problem we thought.  Unfortunately she had a guitar with her & what she chose to sing was ~ yep! Hallelujah!

Star nearly died on the spot.  She prides herself on choosing a one of a kind song that she can be pretty sure no~one else is going to sing.  It rocked her though being carless she had opted to sing a capella as she usually does rather than lug her guitar case around.  Now remember I have heard Star sing this song day in day out for weeks on end.  I know how it is supposed to go, even given what Star had done to it, & the version I was used to hearing wasn't too bad though I have been on her case about her enunciation!  Just the same I thought it sounded ok.

Her audition did not sound ok.    Star went off the air, as she does sometimes, & totally mangled that poor song, which by no stretch of the imagination can be soul droned!  There was at least one really sour note which even made me wince.  Alison stopped her, set up a backing track for a version Star didn't know & off she went again. Ummmm, yeah. She did ok when she was able to follow the music but is was quite different to any of the versions we are used to around here.  Creative, was the term used to describe Star's audition piece.  Make of that what you may.

So while Alison chatted to me about Wicked Star eyed her sight reading piece.  Sight reading is usually something  of a shocker.  Star takes pot luck on hitting a note somewhere in the vicinity ~ or not, as the case may be. Random, opportunistic, totally hit & miss.  Yesterday she nailed it.  There was one really wrong note but Alison was surprised.  I was surprised.  Star was surprised.

Yes, Star's in.  Alison actually likes risk takers & as an educator, as a homeschooler, I know that the only true learners are the risk takers so all's good.  What's more the backing track to Hallelujah has been e~mailed through to Star because with a little work [& minus the Star meddling] it will sound pretty good ~ especially, Alison says, if Star has a listen to K.D Lang ~ which I did because I like K.D Lang.  This version gave me goosebumps.  Wow!


Anonymous said...

Have you heard Renee Fleming's version. Great voice, and she has a lot of fun with the song. I've now heard - and sung - this song so many times that I'm over all other versions, apart from Cohen's. I am happy that it has become his signature tune, though ;->


Bonnie said...

Congratulations to Star and to Momma! Star has done something that more than half the world couldn't do and they so wish they could (me included!).

Ganeida said...

Siano: Nah, Renee's version doesn't do it for me & for me Suzanne will always be Cohen's signature song. I still love it! lol

Bonnie: Oh, she's good Bonnie ~ & a performer to her fingertips. I wish I could sing like she does.

Finding Joy said...

I have heard many versions of this and I do think that KD Lang is one of the best. Cohen's version is also excellent.

Well done to Star:)

Diane Shiffer said...

Oh my goodness.. well Star wins major points from me for bravery, strength of will and sheer guts! I'm so glad she's in☺

And if you can stomach yet one more version of Hallelujah! give a listen to this one by one of my favorite young singers, Bo Steele.
I'm so excited because this boy just got a recording contract and I can actually buy one of his cd's! Someday that'll be Star;-}

Julie said...

I felt socked in the gut when I realized Star wasn't going to be the first to sing the song, and especially when it didn't turn out as well as practiced for. But am so glad for good news....maybe someday those of us who read your blog will be able to say, "I knew little Star when...." :)

Ganeida said...

Jo: I'm a long time Cohen fan. When I was in uni & living on coffee & chocolate while I tried to meet essay deadlines I'd left till the last minute Siano & I would drag out the port, the baileys, the tiramisu ~ whatever we'd stashed for dire emergencies, put on our *music to slash your wrists by* & write till we dropped. Cohen was at the top of our list. lol

Diane: yes, I've been following the Bo saga. Great voice!

Julie: lol the girl wasn't fazed by the screw~up. She turned that into a performance all its own. Her T~shirt should read: Ego out of control

Ganeida said...

Siano: extra thought; recently actually listened again to Cohen's version. lol Song finally made sense to me! lol His version has an internal logic missing from most of the others. Why they changed the order of the verses & added or subtracted I do not know. Maybe they are far more coy about sex than Cohen himself. Interesting experience.

Anonymous said...

Ganeida, you've hit on one of the main reasons I'm not keen on most everyone else's versions of Hallelujah. There is a lot of sly humour in his work that gets lost in translation when it is sanitised. He still knows how to work it, too -- his performance of Hallelujah (and many other songs) last year was vastly different from his performance in 1985 - but at 70-something, the man's still got it!


Ganeida said...

Siano: don't think I have ever, ever heard him live. I still like other versions but as you say, it changes all sorts of things & you end up with a completely different song. I know Star missed a lot of the references but I really don't feel up to explaining the arc d
triumphe or Samson & Delilah on short notice. Bathsheba she did get & just went, "Eeeewwww!"

Sandra said...

Star is ambitious in her choices & I am surprised someone else was as well. This is not an easy song. I love K.D. Lang and her version, but I am a purist and still find Jeff Buckley to be the ultimate. Leonard Cohen is a Canadian treasure we all get to enjoy. I love his song "Democracy is Coming to the USA"!

Ganeida said...

Sandra: Do you think? I never know. Last year she did the theme from Narnia which I thought much, much harder: change of key, change of tempo ~& her first year choice was something of Kate Furtado's that was even harder. I thought she'd reigned herself in somewhat ~ but I'm no musician & figure the girl's not likely to overstretch herself~ but then she's been singing the aria from Queen of the night since she was 7 or 8.{shrugs}

Buckley's version is nice but he changes Cohen's lyrics too. I find that fascinating. What is it about the lyrics that everyone wants to meddle?

Anonymous said...

Ganeida, check the DVD I gave you - think he does Hallelujah on it.


Ganeida said...

Siano: BTW I missed Alan; we had people over for tea. Bummer. Not the people. Missing Alan. He's rather rude & funny ~ or is as a stand up. Have you see his cat routine? *snigger*

Anonymous said...

No, not seen his cat routine - can imagine, tho! Shame you missed him - I found it quite illuminating (really!) and he of course hammed it up beautifully.


seekingmyLord said...

So glad to hear she made it! You had me on pins and needles as I read this post.

If I had been you, I would have had to devour Valerian by the fistful...and tomorrow it is my turn! The Princess will be judged on two memorized piano pieces. I always get more nervous about it than she does, but I will take Valerian with me.

Ganeida said...

Seeking: Just don't take it by the fistful! ☺ And knowing your performer the girl will do just fine. Excellently. Brilliantly.

Jan Lyn said...

Wow, congratulations to both of you. I see that I have been missing a lot here lately.
Sending blessings!
Jan Lyn