"I absolutely cannot do without music. It is a necessary of life . . .
Without music, life would be a blank to me."
~Mrs. Elton in Emma, Chapter 32
Sometimes my husband buys me outdoorsy men's sandals as a holiday present, but on other holidays, he gets it right. This Valentine's day, I am happy to say, he got it right. My Prince Charming bought us tickets to see jazz singer Jane Monheit in concert. We are about as fond of Jane Monheit around here as we are of Jane Austen. Must be the name. We like her so much that my preschooler will ask for her CD tracks by their titles, even though he can't get past "E" in the alphabet song. "Honeysuckle Rose" (or "honeysuckle woze") is his favorite.
On Monday evening, Jane Monheit performed with her pianist, bassist, and drummer in a gilded concert hall that had red velvet seats, crystal chandeliers, and not nearly enough concessions. After two hours of listening to Jane's honeyed voice, I turned to see my husband looking at her with his mouth agape, his head slightly tilted, and his faced smeared with a gooey smile: he was in love. I would have been jealous, but I was in love with her, too.
I'm like a moth to a flame when it comes to singers. Maybe it is because my mother is a singer, or because I have a musical heart. More likely it is because opposites attract. Jane Monheit sings and it sounds like satin. I sing and it sounds like Miss Piggy with a head cold. This is why I always find myself accompanying singers on the piano instead of joining them in their lyrics. In fact, I would happily exhibit my passable piano skills for you in an evening of Austenesque entertainment, but I'm quite sure you would enjoy a number from Jane Monheit much, much more.
Here is Jane Monheit singing "I Won't Dance" . . .
I listen to Jane Monheit and I can't help but think of Jane Austen's unforgettable character Lady Catherine de Burgh. Lady Catherine is a crotchety moth ball, but I feel sorry that she is excluded from the world of music. It is a similar pang that I get when I hear good singers sing. Perhaps if Lady Catherine and I had "learnt" some of Monheit's vocal magic, she and I would have been "great proficients . . ."
May you all have a day filled with music, whether it comes from you or your CD players.
Happy Austen Week!