Give me a laundry list and I'll set it to music.
Most people, if they are not opera lovers, don't know anything about Rossini except for two things, the famous Figaro aria (Figaro, Figaro) and the William Tell Overture, (thanks to the Lone Ranger), but then only the last part of it.
That Rossini was a genius there is no doubt. He wrote 36 operas, both comic and tragic, beginning at about the age of 12. As a young man he went to hear a performance of an opera by one of the established composers. A day or two after, he went to see the composer with the voice and piano score of the composer's opera which Rossini had written out from memory. He said that if he had another week he could give him the score with all the orchestrations.
That was an amazing feat of memory. But it's not that unusual. In the 17th Centry a man named Grigori Allegri wrote many religious works for the Vatican. One of them composed for Holy Week, Miserere Mei, was considered by the Pope, Urban VIII so beautiful he decreed it should never leave the Vatican and should never be published. But in 1770 Mozart went to the Vatican, heard the piece, went home and copied it out from memory. It eventually found it's way to England where it was printed and so now we have the pleasure of hearing it.
There are people who can go to a lecture and then go and copy it out from memory word for word. There are chess masters who can recall every move of a chess game they played yeas ago, and painters who can reproduce a painting they once saw.
That kind of memory totally astonishes me. I will recognize a piece of music if I've heard it once and a film, once I've seen it. But I could never reproduce anything as faithfully as those masters do. I wouldn't even attempt it.
I can remember roles I played years ago, but that's because I went through them a great many times, not once.
The fact that some people are capable of that kind of retention and recall is a sign that most of us are capable of more than we do, at least as far as mentality is concerned. That's a truism. No one would doubt it. But for most of us those who can exercise such extreme mental abilities seemingly without much effort is a challenge. Are we up to it?
(This is not a contest.)
Given the resources and opportunity, what one thing do you want to do in 2010 that you've never done before.
You have all Winter to answer. Answers will be posted on the first day of Spring.
20 responses so far.
DB - The Vagabond