Friday, July 13, 2018

Musical Musings



I love musicals and I love listening to soundtracks and cast recordings of musicals. Lately, I’ve been listening to The Sound of Music soundtrack.  It’s fascinating to me how music can trigger such clear strong memories.On this particular soundtrack, I think every song invokes "Something Good". 😉

Indulge me as I break down the songs and memories. They are some of my favorite things.


Growing up we had a 7 foot (+?) stereo console. The top lifted up to reveal the radio and record player like this one, though ours had additional wood panels that folded 180˚ to either cover or reveal the front speakers on either end. (I spent countless hours sitting and belting out in front of a speaker The Bee Gee’s, Olivia Newton-John and Lynda Rondstadt amongst others.) 


I remember my mom playing "The Sound of Music" record over and over, singing along while she worked around the house, blasting it from the console.  Every Easter we would watch the movie when it was shown on TV. My dad preferred The Ten Commandments but was outnumbered 3-to-1. He silently resigned himself to catching what he could when he flipped to it during commercial breaks. 

I never really realized just how much the music is a part of my life's fabric until I recently put it on.

From “Maria” I learned Catholic vernacular such as “wimple”, “penitence” and “abbey”.

“I Have Confidence” was the song that was cut short (or cut altogether) to go to a commercial break. I remember this disappointed my mom, (also a lover of musicals) who would verbally note the omission.


In high school, I performed the gazebo scene and sang a duet of “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” with my classmate, Vernon. It was such a fun and iconic scene.  (We got an “A”.)

As I was recently listening to it, “My Favorite Things” came on and Mitchel made sure to let me know that Christmas is MANY months away.  I had to tell him that Christmas appropriated the song for itself, but it is in fact, *not* a Christmas song!

“Do-Re-Mi” is always a fun one to sing. When Morgan was 12, her aunt took her to Europe with their family and while they were in Vienna, they went on the Sound of Music Tour.  Knowing she got to see the places where they sang this in the movie (and that she was familiar with it before going) makes me happy she had such a great opportunity.

While I was singing along to “The Lonely Goatherd”, my mind went to Wanda.  Wanda was a friend from church who had a beautiful voice (among other beautiful qualities). Wanda could also yodel. It was fun to hear and she was always willing to indulge us, and ending it with laughter.

With both “The Sound of Music” and “Edelweiss”, my mind shoots straight to my “niece”, Krista. Krista is a cinephile and doesn’t let age discriminate against her actor crushes (of which there are many). Christopher Plummer is on that list and so when he sings, I think of her. (It was also mamny many years until I figured out the lark wasn't learning to pray.)

What Sound of Music lover hasn't sung/danced or at least partially acted out “So Long, Farewell”? I have to say though, the part where all the dignitaries and guests dressed in their formal attire wave and sing “goodbye” to the children makes me shake my head every-single-time.  (Hmmmm. It looks like they served some cheese with that champagne.) But, that’s a musical for you. 

I don’t know that I’ve ever made it through the whole song of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”. (Which, let’s pause for a minute just to look at the title.  Did “Ev’ry” really need to be changed into a contraction?  It didn’t save much type-space and songwriters seem to be very liberal with their interpretations of rhymes, syllables & pronunciations to necessitate the change.) Anyhow, that Mother Superior’s voice grates on my nerves.  (UGH_ and it's such a BORING scene!) If I’m ever in control of the remote or device, I get about 20 seconds in and *skip*!

I learned “Something Good” from our LP of the soundtrack.  It skipped.  I still get tripped up when I’m singing the beginning, “Perhaps I had a wicked”… the word is “childhood” but our record just played “child” and skipped “hood”. My mom would sing and laugh.  (She also took the opportunity to explain that good things don’t come from karma, but from Jesus.)

I never understood why the nuns couldn’t go into Maria’s wedding (“Wedding Processional”). A simple Google search 40 years later would explain another Catholic term to me; “cloistered”. I also read other facts about real life vs. the movie that I would have been happy to go on never knowing.

I also didn’t understand the significance of “Edelweiss” and how Captain von Trapp was mourning his home. When I was in 8th grade, my parents went to Europe and brought back for me an Edelweiss flower and that's what I think of during the song. That and his voice cracking in the second rendition.

In the final scene, when the movie von Trapps are crossing the Alps into Switzerland, I couldn’t imagine how the Captain carried Gretyl on his back, because I somehow got it in my head that he carried her the whole way.

My friend Dina has never seen the movie. For something that has made a significant mark in my life, it’s hard for me to imagine it! She once told me she didn't like musicals but I convinced her to come along to a live production with me and she said liked it. Maybe I’ll get her singing & twirling one day.


Do you have memories associated with the soundtrack or movie?