Sunshine Abroad

The trials and rewards of French translation and beyond

MA Meeting

(That's Musicaholics Anonymous.)

Hi, I'm Allison, and I'm addicted to music.

I think my music collection is too large.

I can't keep it organized. Not years ago, when tapes and CDs lined my bedroom shelves. Not now, even with iTunes and digital music.

For example, you'd think I'd know what was in my musical library, or at least have a vague idea. Yes, there are those times when friends give me 20 CDs worth of music all at once, but I generally know what they're giving me, even if it takes me months to get around to listening to all the new music.

But then I discover things that I had not the slightest clue that I possessed. It's a pleasant surprise, of course, but just a bit startling and confusing.

Three years ago, my first concert with a new chorus included the one-act opera "Cavalleria rusticana," which includes the heart-wrenching final tenor aria "Mamma, Quel Vino È Generoso." I had never heard this piece before. We were lucky enough to perform it with Roberto Alagna, a world-famous (and very attractive) tenor. After the concert, the aria was, of course, stuck in my head. I got home, typed "Cavalleria" into my iTunes search bar, looking for the rehearsal tapes we had been given to prepare for the concert. I also found that same aria. On a CD of operatic arias. By Roberto Alagna.

Sigh.

And now, it's happened again! Tomorrow, I go to perform Berlioz's "L'enfance du Christ," a wonderful holiday oratorio. The chorus has a lovely lullaby called "The Shepherds' Farewell" in the middle of the second part. It has, of course, been stuck in my head for weeks as we've been rehearsing this new-to-me music. But I wasn't even looking for it this time, I just have my 625-song Christmas playlist on shuffle. And what should come up, but the Illinois Brass Band's CD, which apparently includes a beautiful arrangement of that same tune, entitled "The Shepherds' Lullaby."

"Hey, I know that song!"

"Of course you do, dear, you're performing it tomorrow."

I also talk to myself. But that's another support group for another day.