Why I Stopped Singing for 40 years
In voice class at Hunter College I had a boyfriend [not Jewish; that’s how we were in those days], and he deserted, discarded, and abandoned me.
It’s an old story; many people out there go through this.
The song I chose for my final exam, by the German composer Robert Schumann, goes with the lyrics of Heinrich Heine like this:
Ich grolle nicht, und wenn das Herz auch bricht.
ewig verlor'nes Lieb! Ich grolle nicht...
And a loose translation:
I bear no grudge, though my heart is breaking…
I saw you,
in my dreams,
and saw the night in your heart
and the snake…
what a wretch you are!
I bear no grudge.
It was the perfect, angry, miserable song.
He didn’t show up for my performance.
But I kept him in mind all the time, as some people use a punching bag while thinking it’s their enemy’s head.
You won’t hear me singing that song again; it scares me. He died after I sang it; I mean he got sick soon after and died in the hospital.
Shocking, but these things happen out there.
Only one recording on youtube plays the song the way I sang it [but I sang it better], with the pent-up agony, heartache, and rage I felt in those days, here:
If you don’t want to look at the woman playing piano in the background, turn off your computer screen.
I know I’m supposed to tell you about Hoshana Raba and the recording I’m bli neder making the day after tomorrow. Let me have a good cry and punch some holes in the door, and b.n. I’ll tell you tomorrow, between rehearsals [don't worry; this time the song has not one drop of anger].