A few days ago, I posted a song on St. Patrick's Day in honor of my grandmother, Rose. That reminded me of this song, which I thought would be appropriate as a companion piece.
My grandmother was born in 1895. She loved to sing and always claimed she had a chance to audience once for the opera -- a claim my mother didn't think was grounded enough to be actually valid, though couldn't swear to it, and it did have a foundation. Among other things, she did sing in her temple's choir for a while, once with an actual opera star.
(Side note: My mother Betty Lou didn't carry on the family tradition. She couldn't carry a note on a shovel. On the rare occasion she'd attempt a song, often, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," the first few bars would be followed by her saying, "Stop laughing," and she'd continue nobly on, though eventually would join in the laughing, albeit a bit petulantly. This was only compounded by the reality that she had been named after her father's very favorite opera singer, Elizabeth Homer. But I digress...)
Once, I asked her what her favorite song was, and she named a turn-of-the-century number I'd never heard of, "Waltz Me Around Again, Willie." She'd sing a bit of the chorus, but that was it. But, oh, did she love that song. It was, to her, the greatest song ever written.
Several years after she passed away, I came across the great album, After the Ball, performed by the husband and wife team of soprano Joan Morris and pianist William Bolcolm (who's also a prize-winner classical music and opera composer). It's an album of turn-of-the-century songs, performed vibrantly, very fresh, yet with a sensibility of the time for which they were written. The recording on a Grammy.
To my pleasure, the album included, "Waltz Me Around Again, Willie." And I finally got my chance to hear my Grandma Rose's favorite song. And it was also a joy to know that her favorite song was admired enough by Bolcolm and Morris to include on the album.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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