Tag Archives: Music

My Top 10 Favorite Operas

Every once in awhile I like to put together a post like this one. Most of the time they don’t get a lot of comments because, well, I figure that folks may look at something like this as taking a lot of time, and I know that the particular style of music or movie doesn’t fit everyone.


Opera Singer by Cliff

So why do I do them? Two reasons.

One, because I have lots of interests, and I like to share my thoughts on things every once in awhile.

Two, because I like to consider myself kind of a renaissance guy, and I know a lot of people wouldn’t think that I would be the type of guy to like some of the things I do. I don’t know why not, though; after all, I did do a post showing my 19 favorite classical pieces, my top 10 disco favorites, and my 13 favorite singers, and on the first and third some of what’s below is repeated.

Why opera?

First, I was a music and history major in college, and I grew to enjoy opera a lot while in college, probably because of music history class, where we had to listen to all sorts of songs and be able to give all sorts of information about what we were listening to.

Second, as I listened to a lot of this stuff, I realized just how many of these songs were in the Warner Brothers cartoons I grew up watching and loving.

Third, my dad loved classical music and loved to sing, and every once in awhile he’d be watching opera on TV and I’d sit and listen with him. Whenever I’m on the road, the day I come home always starts with an opera in the early morning, and when it’s done then it’s time for something upbeat. But opera always comes first. 🙂

Did I always know what was going on? Not even close! Sometimes I did, and when I started going to operas, they’d have the lyrics posted above the stage so you can kind of follow along. You see in English what they’re saying in other languages. I’ll tell you the truth, most of the time I love the choruses more than the solo performances, probably because I was in a choir, and my dad loved choir music a lot.

What you see below are my top 10 favorites, in reverse order. I’m not giving the kind of detail I often do with these things, but I will tell a few stories before I start.

For instance, the reason Carmen is at the top of my list is because it’s the first opera I ever saw live.

Porgy & Bess is here because I knew a lot of songs from it before I ever knew it was an opera, and almost all black people at the same time; imagine my surprise at that one.

Lohengrin is on here because I had always planned on having a chorus at my wedding singing the Wedding March, which comes from it, but of course that didn’t happen.

Hansel & Gretel is the first opera I ever remember seeing on TV, and I watched it with my dad.

Most of the rest… well, I love the love stories in operas, even though they don’t usually end well, and most of these are, to a degree, love stories. The Mikado; it just makes me laugh.

Who says I don’t have culture? Anyway, that’s that; enjoy!

10. Tristan & Isolde


https://youtu.be/OAEkTK6aKUM

9. Otello (Kiri Te Kanawa)


https://youtu.be/0EtH3ErPaHo

8. Madame Butterfly (movie)


https://youtu.be/XcQNjV-YSiM

7. Romeo & Juliet


https://youtu.be/VpYXKgg-oWo

6. HMS Pinafore

https://youtu.be/zRhdtpWmzi4

5. Hansel & Gretel


https://youtu.be/-TstW0w3xFc

4. Lohrengrin (wedding march)


https://youtu.be/oqp6zinI7ok

3. Porgy and Bess

(On this one, if you remember the TV show The Jeffersons, the lead singer here was the second Lionel, before they went back to the original for the last year)

2. The Mikado


https://youtu.be/1NLV24qTnlg

1. Carmen


https://youtu.be/K2snTkaD64U

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch Mitchell

I Used To Be A Songwriter, Part Three

Today is the final day of showing off some of my song lyrics from the past. I’d you’d like, you can go check out part one and part two first. Anyway, it’s too bad I can’t share any of the music for some of these songs. Then again, the recordings are all kind of rough. What I used to do, for the most part, was write the music first, then write the lyrics, then rehearse the song many times, then grab my portable recorder with the little square microphone and get it down on tape.

At least that was before I bought what was called the Tascam professional mixing recorder. With that bad boy, I could get up to 10 tracks on one song. I bought a $150 microphone, which was a lot of money back in 1984 (probably still a lot of money), and I’d add extra voices to some of my songs. Yup, I harmonized with myself, as well as added extra instrumentation, although it was all piano. One of these days I’m going to buy one of those things that lets you transfer cassette music into MP3’s; for now, we’re just stuck with lyrics.

This first song I’m sharing today is a love song that turned into a wedding song. It’s the first and only song I sang with a band for a friend’s wedding; I was also in the wedding party. What happened is my friend wanted the song played at the reception and the band was going to perform it. I wanted to just stand back and see how someone else performed my song, and I was busting a gut for it. However, the day of the wedding, the band said that no one had been able to sing it quite right and asked if I’d sing it. So, without rehearsing once with the band, we did the song, and it came out exactly as I’d written it and recorded it, since I gave them a copy of the tape I’d made.

You and Me

So many nights we’ve sat and held hands together
Just the two of us in love forever
Tranquil surroundings bring us closer and closer
To achieving everlasting happiness
And today I proclaim that we’ll never be apart again
Today we say we love each other to the world
And it will be there when we share it with our friends
Who gather around to celebrate our joy
You and me, we will see that our love will last forever
You and me, we will see that our love will last forever

So many bright lights in the Milky Way
Seems like they shine on just the two of us today
There was a chemistry when we met for the first time
The first kiss proved to be the catalyst
The glow that emanates from around us is our love
Who could believe that two could love more than we
I’ll never hurt you, you’ve promised me your hand
I never knew that love could be so grand
You and me, we will see that our love will last forever
You and me, we will see that our love will last forever

There’s nothing more to say, we’d just be repeating anyway
And only time can tell us if this love was meant to be
So let’s give in to our love, it takes care of all our needs
Cause I know you love me, and I love you too
You and me, we will see that our love will last forever
You and me, we will see that our love will last forever
You and me, we will see that our love will last forever
You and me, we will see that our love will last forever

copyright 1986, SUNSETS, by T.T.Mitchell

And finally, the last song I’m sharing with you is actually one of the first wedding songs I ever wrote, and this one turned into a composition instead of just a song. By that, I mean it started out like any other song. I was playing some music, and the lyrics came to me. By the way, you might not believe this, but just like when I write my posts here, my songs were written very fast, usually within 25 to 30 minutes. That was the same with this one, only I was hearing something else that I just had to add. Reminiscent of Barry Manilow’s Could It Be Magic, I changed keys from A flat major to C major and added the second movement of Beethoven’s Pathetiqué Sonata, as well as a little bit more tempo. This was going to be my wedding song; instead, it ended up being the wedding song for another couple in 1999, and it was the very last song I ever played or sang in public, or at home for that matter. And it was the only time I ever got a standing ovation in church.


We Are Love

Today’s a big day
The start of a new life
The day we become man and wife
We are love
Hand in hand
We walk down that silver aisle
Inspired by the rank and file of our love, always
Guided by the angels of God
We will find the way to happiness
We are love

Side by side
The minister performs the rite
And with these rings we will unite
You and I
As we’re here
Testimony to our marital bliss
Our friends and families witness to our love, always
Who’s to say how far we’ll go
We’ll never stop so we’ll never know
It should be eternity
We are love

Today’s a big day
The start of a new life
The day we become man and wife
We are love
Hand in hand
We walk up that silver aisle
Inspired by the rank and file of our love, always
Who’s to say how far we’ll go
We’ll never stop so we’ll never know
It should be eternity
We are love.

Copyright 1983, SEASONS, by T. T. Mitchell

And that’s that. I actually had written more than 100 songs including music I never added words to, lyrics I never added music to, and a couple of collaborations. I was fairly prolific for about 8 years, then work and career took over and that was that. “Nice songs, but no hits”; that’s what I heard often, and I guess I’ll take that at this point. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look back at some of my history.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch Mitchell

I Used To Be A Songwriter, Part Two

Yesterday was the first day of three where I’m sharing my former attempted life as a songwriter. What I didn’t mention yesterday is that my songs normally took on one of two themes. One was metaphysical couched in shadowy language, like yesterday. Two was love songs, mainly unrequited love, but every once in awhile straight up love songs.


Piano by T. Spang

This first song today is neither of those. It’s partially a true song. My sophomore year in college was the first time I knew anyone who had passed away. Her name was Carol, and we didn’t know it early on but she was troubled. She was also very talented, and played the piano for the choir that year. She attempted suicide twice; the second time she succeeded. None of us knew what to say to her to help at the time; she was actually older than all of us, starting college late. Years later, I was thinking about her one night, and wrote this song about her. I never had a crush on her, but she was one of our gang, so to speak, and she was always very nice to me; I just wish, like everyone else, that we could have known what we could do for her.

The Last One She Touched

Funny I remember the curve of her face
The smile as wide as the sea
The beauty so great, the charm of a doll
The lovely Carol Lee, Carol Lee

Carol was raised in a northeastern town surrounded with love and affection
She never was unhappy and never was scared for she had friends and family for protection
Whomever she touched fell in love with her
And everyone was touched, this I know very well
For the last one she touched was me

Carol was as strong as an autumn breeze, as soft as a kiss on the lips
As cute as a squirrel that sits in the tree, as flowing as the drink that we sip
Whomever she touched fell in love with her
And everyone was touched, this I know very well
For the last one she touched was me

Funny I remember the twinkle in her eye
A heart as big as the sea
But Carol’s no more and I know very well
For the last one she touched was me

Copyright 1986, Sunsets by T. T. Mitchell

This next song doesn’t have a lot of lyrics, but it’s my longest song, coming in at around 9 minutes. I wanted to write a long composed piece, reminiscent of Elton John’s song Tonight. In my mind, it was the signature piece of my entire collection called Seasons, which was my first copywritten collection.

Seasons

Another soul is being born
The cycle of life, beginning and end it’s all the same
The rain, the heat, the snow, the cold
Why does it go on, what made the seasons start?

The April showers wash away the stale and the gray
The beautiful May flowers hide the trash and the decay
Nature spawns the young lives but the elders feel it too
And as it warms we see the sun, the clouds in the blue
It’s all so peaceful we really can’t believe
It won’t always be the same, does the beauty have to leave?

Then the skies dim, the winds blow, the rain turns to snow
The trees will sway and the leaves will fray, this middle age our foe
The cold becomes the enemy, no protection for the lea
It’s twilight now and it scares us so for we know what soon will be
Then show and ice and bitter chill, it’s winter by and large
The last step of a life has finally taken charge
Throughout the course of history we see the seasons win
Isn’t it comforting to know that the seasons start again?

Copyright 1983, Seasons by T. T. Mitchell

The final song here, as I decided to do 3 this time, is one of those pure love songs. I’d had this crush on this young lady I went to college with, and I wrote a few songs for and about her. This is part of the Seasons collection, and what I did was actually write all the titles I wanted for the collection before I wrote the songs, to make sure the collection covered every season at least once. Now that’s composing! Oh yeah, I never told her I had a crush on her; too bad…

Autumn Sunsets

Hello, I’m glad that you came to talk to me
Today, this may sound strange but I’ve got to ask
Did you ever know I loved you
You don’t have to be scared to say no
But I don’t believe that you never felt a thing for me
Don’t try to make me believe
We were young, it may not have seemed so at the time
So far away from home, but I knew what I wanted then
It’s not so different from now, and I’m not afraid to say anymore
It’s time to even the score
One of us has gotta say we need each other every day
Autumn sunsets come too soon

I go back to the time I first saw you
Your eyes were so dark, and I wondered what the mind beheld
Deep within those pools of thought
I knew that there was something in your soul
And to this day I believe that we formed a mental bond
Hope I’m not the only one
So I’ll say I’m not sure if this is love
But I care for you more than I ever have for anyone
I want to be with you now, and if forever’s more than I ever thought
Your love is all I want
One of us has gotta say we need each other every day
Autumn sunsets come too soon

I want to be with you now, and if forever’s more than I ever thought
Your love is all I want
One of us has gotta say we need each other every day
Autumn sunsets come too soon.

Copyright 1983, Seasons by T. T. Mitchell

That’s two days down; one more to go, and of course two more stories. Meanwhile here’s the link to part one and here’s the link to part three
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch Mitchell

I Used To Be A Songwriter, Part One

I think I’ve mentioned this somewhere before, but back when I was much younger I used to be a songwriter and singer. Well, at least I was trying to be a songwriter. I would write all these songs, music and lyrics, and I’d send them to publishers hoping to be the next big thing. Instead, I’d get rejection letter after rejection letter, until finally I realized that I just wasn’t going to be a pop song writer and moved in a totally different direction.


At The Piano
by Scott Speck

The thing is, I have a lot of songs copywritten and thus I own them for my entire life. I found there’s a website that lists all copyrights and what’s in them, and that’s what sparked this post because I found my collections and my songs listed there; how freaky is that?

I thought I’d share some of my lyrics here with you, if you don’t mind, to show that indeed I did used to have a different type of creative mind. As I said, all of these songs are copywritten, but I’ll post that as well because, well, if I find them anywhere else, I’m getting some big money! Oh yeah, I’ll also tell the story about the song; doesn’t every song have a story? I’m going to do this over the next few days, so if song lyrics or poetry isn’t your thing, y’all can skip reading these things until Friday, since I’m only putting two lyrics in each post.

The first song was written a year after I graduated from college. I never wanted to graduate college because I knew what was coming. Anyway, it took me 4 years to decide to copyright it because there was a possibility it was going to be performed for a show at my alma mater, State University College at Oswego; it never came to pass.


The Way We Brought It In

I remember the beginning four years ago when we were both young and naive
The music in the streets ran our way of life, though we were easy to deceive
The love in our hearts and the love in our hands were parallel and in time
To the beat and the sounds and the constant chatter of words ending in rhyme
There were moonless nights and sunless days,
Hopeless romantics and transient gays,
Empty reflections lost in the haze of our idle thoughts,
This time together either ends or begins
Let’s take it out the way we brought it in

I remember a time a couple years ago when we were tense and tired of love
The heat of the earth singed our inner souls while the winds circled above
The love in our hearts and the love in our hands were just visions in a crystal ball
With the villains and heroes and lovers all who may have missed their crucial call
There were restless days and sleepless nights,
Relentless passion reaching unknown heights,
Solemn affection overcoming the test of unrequited love,
This time together either ends or begins,
Let’s take it out the way we brought it in

I remember looking back a couple days ago as we wondered what was to pass
With untold drama and unanswered questions, how long can we both last
Moving into an age of fearful resolve
Controversial issues in which we’re not involved,
The colorful circles in which our lives revolve
How many ways can our love evolve in ever changing times,
This time together either ends or begins,
Let’s take it out the way we brought it in.

copyright 1986, SUNSETS, by T.T. Mitchell

This next song also was almost performed at my alma mater, only years earlier. Man, I had a lot of close calls. The other story with this one is that it was the second song with the same title. I’d written the original song but lost the lyrics and couldn’t remember what they were, even though I knew the music. So, I had to write it again, and I think that probably killed the song in a way. Still, I love this song. By the way, it wasn’t until the mid 80’s when I knew I could copyright songs as a collection, so this one was an individual copyright. It was my last individual copyright as well.


Goodbye Ontario

It’s raining Ontario in a most unlikely fashion
My life begins today and I know it’ll soon be passin’
I take care to leave the words of truth inside my diary
In case the chosen ones elect to follow me

The mainstream is the norm and a job becomes a habit
We dream of opportunity so we can take a chance and grab it
The critics pan my every move, my parents take the lead
Can’t anyone out there see my ever present need?

Goodbye Ontario, you’ve been good to me
You warm the hearts of everyone whose eyes can see
Quietly the sum sets off your rocky shore
Beauty the majority ignore, beauty the majority ignore

We lounge around and think of all the things we are
The water takes us through the future very far
Success is ours if we try, failure if we don’t
No one can sit here and tell us that it won’t

It’s sunny Ontario, why do you look so sad?
The waters always shift but the waves don’t get too bad
I’ve taken care to leave the words of truth inside my dairy
And strewn them on your vest and omnipresent summer sea

Goodbye Ontario, you’ve been good to me
You warm the hearts of everyone whose eyes can see
Quietly the sum sets off your rocky shore
Beauty the majority ignore, beauty the majority ignore

copyright 1983, Goodbye Ontario, by T.T. Mitchell

There you go. I hope you enjoyed those; they’re a bit, well, flowery to be sure. What will I have in store tomorrow? Come back and see; here’s the link to part two, and here’s the link to part three.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010-2011 Mitch Mitchell

My 13 Favorite Singers

I figured it was time to lighten things up again, and what better way than one of my “favorites” posts, right? This time around, I’ve selected my favorite 13 singers. This is different than the post I did on the top 100 singers because that was just my commentary on the top 10 singers, which were actually performers, of someone else’s. As far as music is concerned, I also did classical music, and a couple of the folks who I used to help highlight some of those pieces are featured here as well.

The problem with doing a list like this is that you’re really limited by who you know and whom you’ve heard of. At least I’ve mixed genres, but there’s a lot of people I left off this list because, well, these types of posts are kind of time consuming to put together. It’s also hard to find something good for all of them, because I wanted them in the video. Some of the most popular folks have most of their videos with the embed turned off, so I had to search around to find what I’m able to show here. A couple of times I just couldn’t use the song I wanted to use to highlight the person either; so be it. Still, I’d listen to any one of these folks sing names from a phone book, I love their voices so much.

Remember, if you want to purchase something for one of these singers, just click on their name. Love to hear your comments on this list, and of course list your favorite singers, and I highlight singers, not performers. That’s for another time, I figure. And here we go:

13. Paul Robeson – This guy never got the credit he deserved for all the talent he possessed, including his singing. Back in the day, he was labeled a Communist, and that was pretty much that as far as a real career goes. But there was no one else who ever had this deep and powerful a voice.

12. Christina Aguilera – Say what you will with some of her personas, when she wants to sing, this girl can “saaang”, as we like to say. As tiny as she is, you just don’t expect this kind of voice coming out of her, with such power and authority, and she’s had this voice since she was 10.

11. Celine Dion – People love to make a parody out of Celine Dion, but no one can take away her voice from her. One of the most popular songs in history is from the movie Titanic; this here is one of my favorites instead.

10. Barbra Streisand – Younger people might not know just how big a deal Barbra Streisand was at one time. She commanded movies, the stage, and records all at once. There wasn’t any style of music this lady couldn’t sing, and to me it’s a tribute to her that she’s behind the people I have on this list because she easily could have been in my top 5.

9. Luciano Pavarotti – Come on, there was no way I could leave Luciano off this list after having him sing one of my favorite classical music pieces. Talk about a powerful voice, and when he was in better shape than his later years, it looked effortless, like in this video from I Pagliacci.

8. Sarah Brightman – The original Cristine from Phantom of the Opera, some people thought she only got the part because she was married to Andrew Lloyd Webber at the time. That is, until they heard her sing. What a sweet voice, and she can do so many things with it.

7. Josh Groban – Some people can’t believe I like this guy because his music is, well, not all that strong. Who cares when he can sing like he can. I think his voice and his music are just perfect together, and he sings so many uplifting songs like this one.

6. Paul Carrack – This one will be a total surprise to many people, who might not know who he is. There are 3 great songs by groups that had him come in and sing the song. Those songs are How Long by Ace, Tempted by Squeeze, and Living Years by Mike & the Mechanics. What a classic voice; he had to be on this list.

5. Kathleen Battle – If you remember the classical music post, you’ll remember how I said I wanted to marry this one when I was younger. Just an amazing voice, and not bad to look at, and she can hit high notes like very others.

4. Kiri Te Kanawa – Kiri goes the other way. She’s got a powerful also voice that grabs your soul and makes you want to follow her around. She was actually my real introduction into opera singers, as I just wasn’t paying attention to Beverly Sills voice when she was on the Muppet Show; hey, I was in college!

3. Sam Cooke – Man, we lost him way too early. What a voice, and unfortunately, what a terrible video to use to highlight it. But, as I said, I wanted you to see him live. His voice was just so smooth and soulful, even if he was singing a fast song. No, this one’s not fast; but I love it.

2. Mariah Carey – Of course my top two are easy for anyone who knows me. I once told my wife that Mariah is the only woman I’d leave her for, and even then she’d have to sing two songs for me first. This is one of them; I’m not telling you what the other one is. lol

1. Michael Jackson – This one was easy for you to guess, coming from me. Man, I miss him so much, and I hate that anything new that comes out won’t be followed with a new video. I loved lots of songs that he did; this one was probably his most powerful overall.

Michael Jackson Thriller Clock

Michael Jackson Thriller Clock

Price – $43.46


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010-2012 Mitch Mitchell