A local radio station was having a CD sale the other day at a community hall, so I went to have a stickybeak, as the Australians say (that’s a great word, I wonder what the Romance language equivalents are for it – it basically means to stick your beak or poke your nose into someone else’s affairs). Unfortunately the community hall did not look like the building in the picture, which is the George Enescu museum in Bucharest, but never mind. More on Georgie later.
It was a classical music radio station so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of foreign language CDs, but there were some pleasant surprises. For the princely sum of three dollars I picked up a two-disc set of Songs and Melodies from Portugal – by someone called Francisco Fialho, accompanied by Jose Maria Fonseca on the Portuguese guitar (which has 12 strings) and Americo Silva on classical guitar. The lyrics to the 25 songs were also included and were translated into English and German as well, and some of the biographical information was given in French and Spanish, so the comprehensive sleeve notes were a multilingual feast. I haven’t had the chance to listen to them yet but will do so soon and post some of the lyrics if they merit it – I hope they are saucy!
Representing France was the CD Comment Te Dire Adieu by Françoise Hardy, who has a lovely voice when you are in the mood for it. It’s an old record from 1968, but of course the CD version is a bit younger than that. Her 12 songs cost me six dollars.
The greatest discovery, in terms of rarity, was a Marco Polo CD Record for Rumania, featuring two Romanian rhapsodies, and two other compositions (Voix de la Nature and Rumanian Poem) by the Romanian composer George Enescu. This CD came out in 1990 and, according to the sleeve notes, it was issued by the Marco Polo label “to raise funds in aid of the Rumanian people”. It cost me only five dollars, which is not going to help solve anyone’s problems, but hopefully whoever bought it first hand helped help someone somewhere in Romania (note how Ro and not Ru seems to be the preferred spelling nowadays). It is very difficult to find CDs of Enescu’s music in Australia, which is a pity as the Rhapsody No. 2 in D major is one of my favourite pieces of classical music, and the Rhapsody No. 1 is very lively. Enescu composed them and the poem when he was very young, in his late teens, and they brought him immediate acclaim. They are based on traditional Romanian folk songs, and can be found easily enough on YouTube if you are interested.
The last two items in my shopping bag were by Enrique Iglesias: a 15-song compilation called The Best Hits which looks suspiciously like a bootleg: the cover is a photocopy and the CD inside is obviously fake. All the songs are in Spanish. The other CD is Viver from 1997 and is the real thing, the sleeve notes include all the lyrics.
Funnily enough, my partner, who is younger than me, is going through a Julio Iglesias phase and has been playing his music in the car. Unfortunately they are mainly his English CDs, which I find to be bland and rather predictable covers of other people’s songs. I think there is a real danger we could fall asleep in the car!
I mean, really, who would you pick in any language, Enrique or Julio?
Give me Enrique every time. 🙂
P.S. There is a Portuguese singer, José Alberto Reis, whom I quite like, I think of him as the Portuguese Julio Iglesias except he is a little bit younger… he’s like 75% Julio and 25% Enrique… if you want to learn Portuguese he is a good one to follow because you can usually hear the words quite clearly.