“Music’s golden tongue Flatter’d to tears this aged man and poor”

By - Sep 1st, 2007 02:52 pm
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By Barry Wightman

If the tongue is a muscle of love, a notorious logo of leering lascivious brown-sugared rock & roll, the taste it produces in our mouths, the perception of flavor, is simultaneously a deeply personal perception of quality, an aesthetic discernment, a judgement we use to assign value in art, literature and music. Like a snake’s tongue testing the dry desert air, a tiny flickering antenna on some strange, primitive wavelength, each of us unfurls an antenna of taste, unique to ourselves, difficult to explain but critical to the art of being human.
Extend your antenna, and taste new flavors.

Like a bite of breakfast at Tiffany’s, Mancini at the Movies, a sumptuous spread of classics by Henry Mancini performed by his Grammy-nominated daughter Monica Mancini comes to the Wilson Center’s Kuttemperoor Auditorium this month. Mary Wilson, one of the original Supremes, brings her tasty, glittery Motown licks to Wisconsin Lutheran College in October. Taste the bittersweet of War and Remembrance: Music in the ‘40s, the still strong, fervent melodic flavors of Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughn Williams performed by the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra have aged well.

From two or three dusty menus from old but familiar countries, the krazy klezmer kosher kings of souped-up Yiddish music, The Klezmatics, come to Alverno’s Pitman Theatre in December and stir Woody Guthrie’s corn-fed lyrics with matzoh and Manishevitz and come up with a blintz of Hanukkah cheer. Sugary and toothsome as a favorite Christmas cookie, the Milwaukee Symphony Pops can’t miss with its traditional Holiday Show at the Marcus Center. The Bel Canto Chorus sings Latin American holiday music by Ariel Ramirez at the Hamilton Fine Arts Center and Basilica of St. Josaphat.

Then in the depths of winter, savor the classic kitchen table American fare of the imposing bluegrass artist Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder at the Schauer Center and Randy Newman, composer, performer and humorist at the Marcus Center in March. His voice is like a gumbo from Lake Charles, Louisiana by way of Southern California, a Tabasco’d taste of America.

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