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Archive for the ‘13’ Category

I am listening to one of the first CDs I ever bought. When I was 13 my mother took me to the newly opened Borders in the town. I selected two CDs to buy with my allowance that remain among my favorites in my now considerable collection. Exultate is a Vienna Boychoir CD featuring soloist Max Emanuel Cencic.  Only one track does not have him as a soloist, and only two tracks actually involve the choir. The rest are purely Max solos (or duets). I didn’t know that when I bought it, but I was pretty happy about it when I realized it. When I initially brought them home, Exultate was my preferred CD. I didn’t much care for the other after giving it a thorough listen.

That other is The Music of Westminster Cathedral Choir. Many of the tracks are 20th century works, and my 13-year-old ears didn’t care for that music. A few years later, however, my preference switched. I guess I matured enough and learned how to listen enough to enjoy the more modern music.

As I listen to the music tonight, the Unknowable Longing is in full force. Listening to those sublime boys’ voices, sweet clear, gentle or forceful according to the demands of the song, that familiar, almost friendly melancholy overtakes me and I race and struggle to put a name to it. (The power of the name.) All the usual suspects are considered and, as usual, set aside but not dismissed.

I love the music. The glorious, perfect beauty of the Renaissance polyphony. The exciting, exhilarating power of the 20th century compositions. So many different types of songs from different eras. I want to sing them, yes. I want to hear them life. But that’s not quite it. Hearing kjese songs, or performing them with women’s voices would be wonderful, but wouldn’t fulfill that longing. The boys’ voices are very important. Singing the Mendelssohn “Ave Maria“, I would feel this longing even in the middle of the performance. Yet when I consider singing it with boys, I still can’t conceive being satisfied.

If I were to go to London and join the Westminster Cathedral Choir I’m sure I’d still feel this way.

One last possibility occurs to me. One I hope is not true. Maybe this longing isn’t to sing with boys, but as a boy. To be a cusping 13-year-old (alas, my voice changed at 11, so I never had that pleasure) whose voice would soar through those Palestrina motets and Britten and Martin masses. If that is the answer, then I can never fulfill this need no matter how long I live, how much I accomplish.

However, if the name has as much power as it is said (I suspect is does) I feel that simply speaking (or writing) that desire would give some modicum of satisfaction. It doesn’t. It should be a relief just to know what I want. So it doesn’t feel like the answer. So along with singing the music and singing with boys, wanting to sing as a boy goes in the category of “true, but not the answer.”

It also occurs to me that how I feel has nothing to do with boylove. I think I mentioned that before. That, too, doesn’t feel quite true, but it’s worth considering. Maybe this feeling which manifests so deeply, primally, is the nature of music. Maybe music is an expression of a feeling that has no name. Do non-boylover-music-lovers experience this Unknowable Longing when they hear the music they love best? What half-formed imagery flits through their minds, ungraspable?

Sometimes I wish I could speak to a psychologist. Someone who knows how to poke around in the subconscious to help me name my desires.

 


 

Sometimes, when I feel this way, it makes me think that I should never listen to this music again. Save myself the pain. But writing about it really helped today. The Longing is still there, but it has its pleasant bittersweet quality now. Pen and paper. Cheaper than a shrink.

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I foolishly left my journal at home yesterday.  Well, not so much foolishly as forgetfully.  I meant to bring it, knowing I was working a double.  In actuality, though, I worked a tripple.  The AM shift had two banquets overlapping.

Anyway, The Restaurant seems to have hired a pair of children.  (I assume they are 14.)  The one is about 5’8″, red headed, changed voice, and slightly overweight.  The other, on the other hand, is 5’6″ (still tall for my usual taste), brown haired, skinny, unchanged voice, and has a very cute face.  And beautiful skin.  Quite attractive.  They were stationed by the dish washer to clear a la carte servers’ trays.

Also that day, in my second room, there was a boy probably about nine years old who looked a lot like a slightly younger version of the boy in the JCPenny’s comercials on Hulu.  (The Ice/Nice one.)  Every time I walked out of the kitchen, or carried a tray toward it, he would watch me openly.  He probably watched all the servers as they did their jobs, since the impression I got from him was one of strong curiosity.  He was very cute.  It seems to me that he was watching to see how the job worked.  Where we went, who was where, what we were bringing in/carrying out.

He’s not the first boy to watch me so closely while I waited tables.  Many weeks ago, near my beginning but after my training, there was a wedding when I had my tray stand right next to a boy I took to be around 10.  He also openly watched my every move.  I spent the whole time hoping he ‘d ask me questions.  He never did, of course.

With the dish boy in the kitchen and the JCP boy in the dining room, I noticed that I worked harder, more diligently.  I moved with greater purpose, made sure to smile, follow procedure, do everything with greater efficiency.  It’s something I’ve thought of before, and even considered writing about but never did, in part because I never had this tool –  the journal – that is so welcoming to such observations.

The observation being: boys inspire me.  I mean, really.  They have shaped me since I started noticing them.  While being a pedophile/boylover in an intollerant society has shaped me in various ways – some positive, some negative – the boys themselves have only ever been positive influences.

So many pivotal moments can be dated to when I was 13.  Christmas when I was 13 I discovered (rediscovered) my great-uncle’s colection of English men and boys choirs Christmas carol albums.  Those recordings inspired more interest in the other classical LPs in the basement.  I was drawn to them because of the boys’ voices, but in listening raptly I learned to love the music and the genre as well.  I’d always had an interest in classical music, but that’s when it became a passion.  In those other LPs I discovered Mozart, and then as my ears matured, Bach and Beethoven.

I bought from Boarders two CDs of boy music, also when I was 13 I think.  A compilation recording of Westminster Cathedral Choir and a Vienna Boys’ Choir CD featuring mostly solos by an also 13yo Max Emanuel Cencic.  The Cencic CD I loved, with its Handel, Mozart, Schubert and Strauss.  At first I didn’t like all the 20th century stuff on the Westminster CD, but again the voices inspired me to grow.  It eventually became my favorite CD.

A leadership position got me over my first hump in Boy Scouts (13 yo), but it was the boys (Candy, Orange Hat, Owl, CIA, N, Casper, Little Man, Fox, and finally The Beloved) that got me over the second, so I stayed to and beyond Eagle Scout.

Boys are the reason I joined the Citadel, and that has been an excellent post to have for many reasons.

I’m sure there are many more examples, but now I must eat, shave, change and go to work, yet again.

*I found some pages of skit scripts I wrote for skit night at music camp.  Kinda funny.  I was 14 when I wrote them, I think.  I had horrible handwriting.

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