I had an intriguing dream the night before last.
I was dreaming that me and a few people were going to sit and listen to a Beatles album and follow along in my copy of The Beatles- Complete Scores just for the pleasure of it. It seemed like the perfect way to spend a lovely late afternoon with loved ones. As we were deliberating whether we should listen to a stero mix or if anyone had it on vinyl, and the other people went to look if they could locate a record, I heard the music in my head and followed along in the score.
I’ve never heard anything so clearly as the Beatles playing and singing this song, and seeing the notes on the paper so intensely that they were burned into my brain as each was sung. The music and the atmosphere were so exquisite- I was floating.
Then the UPS man rang the doorbell. I didn’t answer because I thought it was the exterminator wanting to be buzzed into the building (first Saturday of the month), and didn’t find out til I got up hours later that I’d actually missed a package, but the instant effect was that my reverie was shattered. I woke up and the hole left by that feeling was partially filled only by the melody that still lingered in my head. It was several minutes of unconsciously humming it to myself before I realized that it’s not a Beatles song at all. It’s the aria from Francis Heilbut’s musical that I sang at the concert on Monday.
It’s called “Love must be heavenly,” and annoyingly I can’t tell you anything else about it because my copy seems to be missing, but I know he wrote music for a show called “Keep your shirt on buster” so it might be from that, as might be this other song that the other girl sang that’s labeled c 1971, and “B. French, lyrics”- so I am hypothesizing that all these things apply to “Love must be heavenly” but I’m kind of just guessing.
Anyways, it’s an extremely schmaltzy operetta-style aria that I never gave a second thought. I think I read it through once or twice before the dress rehearsal, but it was really hard to read because it’s handwritten and with charts instead of a full accompaniment. I was still basically sight-reading at the dress rehearsal, and pretty much felt like I knew it by the performance but didn’t take my eyes off the score. If I did think about it, it was only to wrinkle my nose in distaste at the old-fashioned and not particularly well-crafted lyrics. They are way too heterocentric to be considered PC today (the first line is “There’s a boy for every girl”), and go on and on about how worthless life is when you’re single. And then, why is the hook “Love must be heavenly” when the song is about how she’s finally in love? Poor matching of catch phrase with plot!
Anyways it was so weird to hear it as Beatles song. It was amazing. I must have had it confused with Across the Universe I think, because the second line is “somewhere in this universe”? But it went from a cheesy operetta song that I sight-read in public and blow them away with a nice Bb at the end, to this amazing musical moment in imaginary rock history.
It made me think about other rock ballads and operetta arias, and trying to interchange them. I’m sitting here singing “Creep” and “While my guitar gently weeps” as Lehar songs. Not so much luck. What about other operetta arias that could be sung by rock bands? I’m trying to put “My Hero” from the Chocolate Soldier in the mouth of Freddie Mercury without success.
It’s a fun mental game though. Let me know if anyone thinks of a good one!