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Posts Tagged ‘Max Emanuel Cencic’

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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