Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Innocence and Despair and a Bunch of Eight and Nine Year Olds

<strong>http://www.keyofz.com/langley/ (Must be checked out!)

Me (in an email):

To Whomever May Get This:

I'm a cynical old fart. I'm 63 and not getting any younger. Last Saturday, June 26, 2010, I was browsing around at Déjà Vu Discs in the Kennedy Commons Mall in the former Scarborough, now part of Metropolitan Toronto. The store was playing a CD of a bunch of kids singing in an immediately pleasing way.

The more I listened the more I liked what I heard till I reached the point of loving it. I had the store hold the CD for me and call me when it was available for purchase and made a separate trip back to the store to get it last Monday, June 28, 2010, after a long day's work, dragging my wife, a former elementary school principal, along with me. (I'm a lawyer and grew up in Vancouver from ages 13-24.)

It's now Wednesday June 29th, about to become June 30th, and I'm for the first time listening to Innocence and Despair straight through on an old, but fairly decent system and it's wonderful and quite cynicism-dissolving, It would be hard to improve on what John Zorn is quoted as saying, "This is beauty. This is truth. This is music that touches the heart in a way no other music ever has, or ever could."

One thing for sure: the songs the kids sing have direct meaning for them and they understand them, I feel, as those songs translate into their own experience, especially In My Room and To Know Him Is to Love Him. I sense that any kid who had Hans Fenger for a music teacher was a lucky kid indeed and was never once patronized or condescended to.

Yours Sincerely,

Itzik Basman

Back to me:


I'm glad that the LSMP had such an impact on you. I too am a cynical old fart (59), but these recordings moved me tremendously when I first discovered them, and they never fail to do so ten years later.

After we released it in 2001, we heard from a steady stream of former students of Hans Fenger, all of whom referred to him as "Mr. Fenger" and recalled him with fondness. Too bad he didn't write down his arrangements (not that the kids could've read them). It would be great to try to re-create them. Then again, maybe they cannot be replicated. Hard to recapture that kind of magic.

Thanks for writing, and thanks for having the soul to appreciate these recordings.

Best to you,
Irwin Chusid
Producer, The Langley Schools Music Project

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