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Vintage Vanni Broadway

 

Sample Songs

Catch The Wind
In My Room
How Do You Keep The Music Playing
Play Me

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Cry: Love's Journey (Anatomy of a Tear)

(DV-CR-7009921-1)

Introduction and Liner Notes by Miranda Montaign, tpm therapist

Music and the Anatomy of a Tear

The enigma is this: romantic love seldom turns out quite the way we plan it to. A good love song presents the idyllic perfection of what we imagine such a state to be, the fulfillment of a longing that we will not only desire to experience, but live within blissfully forever as an ideal state of being. If it weren’t for the longing for a perfect love, then life’s struggles would be all the greater. Perhaps hope and belief---even faith—would be gone. The other end of the love song message is love lost, the resulting heartache when a relationship doesn’t end in “happily ever after”. When love doesn’t work out the way we felt it should have, we often blame ourselves and/or the other person. In that stage, the insecurities within self have already emerged and expressed themselves as hurt, jealousy, blame, inadequacy, despondency—even turning to resentment or hate, that exact opposite of what we originally intended. And, as if the situation wasn’t perverse enough, we often desire to bring the person back into our lives so we may repossess the ideal (and the misery) for our emptiness wants to re-experience what we thought was love and, thus, be fulfilled.

As the song lyric from Catch the Wind intimates,

In the chilly hours and minutes of uncertainty, I want to be
In the stronghold of your loving mind
To feel you all around me and to take your hand along the sand
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind…

So, even beyond our thinking and wishing and dreaming, love is nevertheless that perfect state of being to which we aspire. Love, in its many forms, seems to represent the pervasive presence in our lives. We are hard-wired for love. In its absence, there’s a niggling at the back of our minds: what is missing? Why do I feel incomplete? What is love? Where is love?

Words and music give us permission to cry about our love affairs. Music evokes emotional cores and trigger points in us. It’s natural, so, at some point, we realize it’s alright to cry. It fact, it’s downright healthful! When you listen to CRY: THE ANATOMY OF A TEAR, give yourself permission to let the music take you on the journey. Once you’ve waded through whatever emotion stimulated your tears, you’ve begun a healing process. The result is that you do not simply heal the immediate issue of heartache, grief, pain, missing someone terribly, etc., but you begin to penetrate the root causes of that that afflicts you. In the end you will discover you were seeking that healthy, vital, and complete part of your self, that has no outside need. Then one is truly prepared to share with another. Having uprooted the neediness, there is now a feeling of perfect freedom from “needing” someone or something else to complete you. Having found that, for many the journey below this feeling of wholeness is a spiritual one. Religion aside, is Divine Love superior to romantic love—or are they different expressions of the same love?

The music and song lyrics in this album take us on a journey of love, tears, and realities about self. Dario Vanni, the gifted and accomplished singer you will hear on this CD, conceived the album during his research in music as therapy. He discovered that until we revisit the scenes of love lost and break down, truly “cry it through,” we cannot move on and heal—and get on with our lives. Taking a musical journey, listening repeatedly to the same song, for example, until we can’t anymore, seems to serve a valuable purpose. Listening to the same song on Monday can be a very different experience on Wednesday. Why? Because we are beginning to experience the layers in the song as it evokes the layers in us. In time, everything changes. “There is something therapeutic about sadness, it invokes a positive journey (just as there are positive aspects in the grieving process) as long as we know the period of time we are in it has boundaries,” Vanni suggests. The object of the game is to not allow despair, that often flounders in self-pity. The final discovery in this musical journey seems to be this: you are complete within your own being; another person can only complement your life, not be the center of it. Big lesson. So, as the story concludes, the singer (on the final track of this album) simply states, “…the way to [be with] a woman…is to love her, love her, love her……” And, maybe, life has no other answer than this to the puzzle of intimate human relationships.

The songs in Volume 1 were carefully chosen by Dario Vanni to take us on this musical discovery about self. Are we willing to go? From Forgive My Heart we hear the eternal lament of love lost and the hope it may be again; in Catch the Wind, we understand the unattainable, unsustainable perfect state of romantic love, that is always elusive; in How Do You Keep the Music Playing?, we have found our mate, but, as the years pass, how do we keep love alive, exciting, or fulfilling as we grow older? I will delineate each song and its lyric-intention as we take this beautifully sung and emotionally powerful mystical adventure into our own hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits. Get that glass of wine, put out the lights, light a candle, turn off the cell phone, sit back, relax, and listen. Someone has invited you to be here now.

Miranda Montaign, tpm therapist

1. Forgive My Heart (Conn/Gallop)

This haunting song begins with Dario’s voice in soft, intimate tones, making us feel the aloneness of loss, regret, and the pain of heartbreak. It is a true lament, including self-recrimination (“Forgive my lips if now and then they speak your name”) and total lack of self worth (“If you are still my only thrill, am I to blame?”). Remember that the music carries the lyric, while the melody perfectly fits the melancholy that pervades the entire song. Even if there is confession in the last phrases, (“Don’t know why you haunt me, but you do!”) the bottom line is still the same: the singer (representing the listener) is still in love with that special someone who changed his or her life.

The short musical interlude is interesting: the sax on the bottom reminds us of the sensuality of the affair, while the very high strings tug at our emotions, reminding us of the haunting, perhaps wholly unattainable, beauty we must have felt during the high-bloom of this romance. When Dario comes back in, the voice is stronger (“Forgive my dreams, in all my dreams, it seems your face appears…”) Is it a momentary spurt of passion, anger, pathos? Yet we know the song ends honestly and sadly and winds down to “I’m still in love with you…”

So why must we forgive our hearts? Because the heart is not always wise, perhaps, and some things only experience teaches. That experience, following its natural course, should lead to wisdom eventually, keeping us from making the same mistakes over and over.

2. Catch the Wind (Donovan)

With only guitar, light soprano voices, and strings, the voice takes us immediately to painting the visual of those “chilly hours and minutes of uncertainty”. If this rendition doesn’t tear your heart out—nothing will! “For me to love you now would be the sweetest thing, would make me sing” presents the ardent perfection of the lover’s vision of what could be. This part of the journey is about longing, but being afraid to act upon it even though the object of the lover’s affection is known. But then there is also a kind of weary dependency afoot here: “I want to hide a while behind your smile” or “I want you near to kill my fears” or please “help me leave all my blues behind”. Is this a nurse or a romantic partner?! We cannot expect our lover to be our cure-all medicine; much of that is personal homework, freedom from dependency on another. The most neutral line, “To feel you all around me and take your hand along the sand,” doesn’t demand of the other person. It is a mutual sharing at the ocean shores at sunset.

As the arrangement changes key upward, there is a subtle, but powerful, anxiousness in the voice, telling us that, after all, it is all sand through the hourglass and in the end, “Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.” Yet what lingers when this song is over is the poignancy of someone just barely out of reach and the dream of what could have been. “When rain has hung the leaves with tears…standing in your heart is where I want to be and long to be…” On the healing, therapeutic side of things, if we can cry over this song, either inside or out and, at the same time, let go of the illusion of what might have been, that’s healthy. Why? Because, more times than not, the self-created image is greater than the reality—and the projection for the beloved remains unrealized. All we have is now. Dreams feed us, ideal fantasies stimulate us into hopefulness that, indeed, there may a right someone for us around the next corner, at the next party, a casual meeting on a plane or someone your friends introduce us to. Or someone you’ve known forever. This is the true thing that keeps us alive—that such wonderful persons can exist in this world—and we can love them and they us.

3. How Do You Keep the Music Playing? (Legrand/Bergman)

Nothing is over until it’s over. There are tears even in finding the love of your life. The unhappy truth is that nothing or no one remains the same. So here you are, married to the perfect man or woman—and ten years down the road you notice subtle changes happening. They say that men and women cannot be friends and be sexually active together at the same time. Is this true? “And since we’re always changing, how can it be the same?” the Bergman lyrics ask. The biggest challenge: “If we can be the best of lovers, yet be the best of friends…” confronts and challenges the partners. Beyond financial security, what is there that keeps them together? And, if the love has changed, can they change with it? Or can no two people truly be in the same place at the same time emotionally?

Vanni’s singing is nothing, if not poignant and sad, as if the couple had already tried more than once, for the bridge tells of a kind of desperation: “I know the way I feel for you it’s now or never, the more I love the more that I’m afraid, that in your eyes I may not see forever…forever…” Wow! That hits the nail on the head! What if you weren’t meant to continue “forever” with that person? What if every relationship simply has different chapters and some are longer than others? And, on the other hand, if you are determined to grow and stick it out together, then “with any luck I suppose the music never ends….”

The delicate yet powerful musical performance on this track is sung by Vanni with perfect balance, the music carrying the power of the lyric. We feel what the singer must have lived through in his own life, for how else could he communicate it so spot-on? Suffering reveals itself in honest expression and that’s what we have here: vulnerability. Dario becomes our spokesperson, helps us tear ourselves down to nothing, until we’re a speck of dust on the floor. Ah, but from there we can build upward from a tiny spark. We must reach the bottom before we can know the top.

This song asks the quintessential question: how long is a long-term relationship supposed to be for each of us with a particular person? And, if we stick it out, how do we keep the music playing?

4. Too Long at the Fair (Billy Barnes)

The child within us never leaves. It is healthy to be child-like in some ways, but not childish as an adult. Childhood is made up of wants and how those wants are met determines, to a reasonable degree, what kind of adult person we turn out to be: a butterfly or a worm? Have you ever stayed too long in a relationship? A job? A friendship or family situation which became intolerable?

This wonderful song begins with reminisces from our nursery, the music box reminding us of the child within who becomes a young person and travels to the big city to “make it big” it all ways. But it’s very different than he imagined. All the things he wanted didn’t manifest and, in the end, he found “I bought some blue ribbons to tie in her hair, but I couldn’t find anybody to care.” What a heart-wrenching place to be in! But we do want the pretend-music to play on forever, we do want to win it all, we do long to live in a 24-hour carnival city “with laughter and love everywhere, I wanted my friends to be thrilling and witty—I {just} wanted somebody to care…”

This musical performance is a marvelous sketched outline, naked and raw and honest. Nothing has worked for this young aspiring star as “the lights of the midway are fading above me, I’d better run home to the people who love me, for I’ve stayed too long at the fair!” To cry over the lost youth is folly, but to cry from a lesson learned is all wisdom. For even this person realizes in the end that “the music has stopped and the children must go now.” Sooner or later, we must grow up, mature into realizing that love is a task, a challenge, an opportunity to bond, unite, grow, unfold within self through the catalytic presence of another person. So, if this song evokes tears, let them roll, have sympathy for the young man or woman who goes unequipped into the world to change it. And, if you’ve done the same journey earlier in your life, grieve it, cry for it, learn from it, move on. For, even if you “found it was easy to capture success, but now {you’re} willing to settle for less,” “success” also comes in many shapes and colors. But it’s not love. Dario’s moving performance here winds down to a bare whisper in the end, as if the tears were overcoming his ability to speak. And we are moved, for we can relate to this outstanding actor-singer who gives us his all and leaves the pieces of his broken heart for you.

5. In My Room (Prieto/Pockriss-Vance)

This emotional tour de force performed here by Dario Vanni knocks us out of any semblance of a comfort zone. This opens the wound, shows us the bitter end, the total disappointment with love, the turning in on self. Perhaps we’ve all been there at one time or another. To remove one’s self from the world and find a “room way at the end of the hall” where you “sit and stare at the wall, each day is just like the last, for I live in the past.” The power in this song lies in knowing this person is actually going through a transforming experience, a genuine grieving—but it won’t be forever. The singer’s despondency here is not the end-game, but a phase of working through a case of intense heartache.

On the positive side, there is still good memory and sympathy in our heartsick young man, for what he had with someone special as Vanni punches out, “Over there on the wall is the picture she took as my bride, over there is the chair where I held her whenever she cried!” But this grief must be cried out. There must exist no bitterness at the other end, but, for now, he’s going through it with both feet immersed and must get over it—or perish: so one feels at the time. It’s a genuine feeling that he’s “hating how lonely I’ve grown, all alone…in my room…” The red-light would go on only if he continues to see that “every night is the same, I play a dangerous game, I keep pretending she’s late—and I sit and I wait…” Waiting in vain for the beloved to return without eventually moving on is the danger, for ever-deepening depression is the name of that continued game. On the other hand, the grieving must happen, one must go through the process, and not be afraid of the other end—how many people are there in the world who could love you? Dario concludes the song with a super-high note that seems to co- notate that the anguished man has never taken this road before and the pain is all but unbearable.

6. Nights in White Satin (Justin Hayward)

This song and, especially, the glowing performance, grow on me. It doesn’t matter how long one has been a critic of life, some things simply touch us and override so many intellectual thoughts we might digress to in evaluating this wonderful opus. What is it really about? Nights in White Satin is about the invisible veil that stands between the consummation of a perfect relationship and the shock or seeming unreality of its demise. “How can this be happening!” we scream to the universe. Like trying to figure out love, we never reach the end. “Beauty I’ve always missed with these eyes before, just what the truth is…I can’t say anymore.” With so many tears behind us, we sense there is almost a spiritual love here as well: “…letters I’ve written, never meaning to send….” What good would it do? When love is lost, there is so much exasperation as the gap between the two grows wider, so, if one isn’t crying on the outside, the tears of heartbreak surely flow internally where the wound is greatest. The singer laments the loss, the assumption that no one else can feel what the lover feels in quiet desperation: “Gazing at people, some hand in hand, just what I’m going through, they can’t understand.” When words fail and the emotions are raw and vulnerable, that cry in the night can only contain what the troubadour sings, “’Cause I love you, yes, I love you, oh…..how I love you!” This kind of love seemed to have a privilege attached to it—was the couple wealthy, hence the white satin sheets? Or is it a metaphor for the luxury that the love itself afforded? When we cry over the mysterious, unexplained or nebulosity of a relationship, eventually we have to embolden ourselves and take an independent stance for our own protection and well being. “Some try to tell me thoughts they cannot defend….just what you want to be, you’ll be in the end…” Ah, the punch line! Like it or not, we attract what happens as a result of our actions. Vanni’s singing here is nothing less than vulnerable and feeling, his emotive power making us feel the pain and frustration. Yet, he ends triumphant on a clear and ringing high note. I cried on this one.

7. Pieces of Dreams (Legrand/Bergman)

Undoubtedly, this 1970 song from a motion picture of the same name is about a woman observing a man she loves. They have a relationship, but it’s pathetic. He’s not in the same space she would like him to be. Like so many women, she wants her man to realize what she regards as his potential and not be so bull-headed and stupid. “Why are you blind?” she pleads with him, “to all you ever were, never were, really are, nearly are?” Her tears are from frustration as well as unfulfilled love. “Will you be ever done traveling, always unraveling you, you?” Then she warns her lover, “Running away could lead you further astray, and as for fishing in streams for pieces of dreams, those pieces will never fit {so} what is the sense of it?!” The anatomy of a tear here is about trying to reach another person by having him see things as you perceive them. Her mistake is trying to convert the man to her own standards of expectation. The human ego would like to have things tucked safely away in controllable order. So she cries for her “little boy lost” and both regrets and resents this man-boy who goes “wondering, wandering, stumbling, tumbling round!” He’s going to lose her, the way he’s going. In the end, she affirms for him, “Little Boy Blue, don’t let your little sheep roam [her], it’s time come blow your horn, meet the morn [owe up to us as a couple], look and see, can you be far from home?” Dario’s poignant recording tears at us, for we feel the angst as if he were the man who knew his shortcomings and was soliloquizing what his lover had been trying to tell him. He gets it when he’s alone, but, when he’s with her, he becomes his old silly-putty self. Did you ever know anyone you were close to who you felt had some hidden kryptonite that was draining you? Maybe that’s his problem.

8. Play Me (Diamond)

Crying about someone who “played you” is very common; she came to his bedside, he gave her permission to be with him. But there’s a lot more here than meets first glance. These two people are opposites; do they attract and, if so, for how long? “She was the morning and I was the night time…” But he takes her from a place of his own unresolved past: “For I’d been lonely and in need of someone, as though I had done someone wrong somewhere, but I don’t know where, come lately.” Nevertheless he confirms to her that “You are the sun, I am the moon, you are the words, I am the tune, play me.” And so they played. But that’s not all, either: “So it was that I came to travel upon a road that was thorned and narrow, [I hoped] another place, another grace would save me…” says the writer. (Dario does not sing these last lyrics in the recording). The singer ends with the irony of loss, “She was the sun, I was the moon, she was the words, I was the tune, she played me…” The games people play as they seek out the fulfillment of their sexual and romantic needs and fantasies leave us remembering our own youths, perhaps. Can it be true, then, that men and women have different agendas from the beginning of a relationship? If so, there is no cure for these tears, simply going through the experience and moving on allows another life lesson.

9. Always On My Mind (Thompson-James-Christopher)

It has been said that women give sex for love, but men give love for sex. Many men have difficulty in getting past the sex part to find the love. Until they realize how many other things they miss about the woman who gave so much of herself. And, in the 21st century, it can be reversed. A woman, seeking love, may use a man occasionally to fulfill her sexual needs until, at some point, she realizes she loves him. After all, a woman’s heart is a deep mystery and, maybe for him, it’s too late. Now the tears begin, for regret is a terrible feeling because we know we cannot bring back the past. So this song is about neglect, that happens a lot in relationships.

At least, the singer is honest and realizes he didn’t make love to her “quite as often as I could have” or treat her “as good as I should have. If I made you feel second best, girl, I’m sorry I was blind, but you were always on my mind….” But that’s not enough, just to be on someone’s mind out of memory and guilt. That means the intention doesn’t match the action. In a simple country song like this, the power of the tune must be found in the interpretation. Dario takes it out of its original context somewhat and broadens the arrangement to make it slightly more universal without losing its country essence. Perhaps the two people in this song represent a long-term relationship or a marriage and neglect is more liable to be part of the equation rather than a new relationship, that is in its first stage of “full-flame” the first six months or so. But, to recap, it is Dario’s interpretation here that allows us to cry if we relate to his tears. It is a good way to close a chapter on one’s relationship life: grieve it properly, honor it for the good it brought—and, then, get on with your life!

10. My One Sin (Mascheroni/Mellin)

This lush and poignant American version of a 1945 Italian tune, brings us instantly to “feeling guilt about loving someone”. The lover’s desire for the beloved is so strong that he or she almost apologizes. The lyrics are very simple, but telling, and an unusually haunting melody carries the lyrics with sad directness. Dario’s vocal interpretation already has a tear in his voice at the onset of the song; strength of conviction enters at the bridge, “You’re my temptation, my heaven, my bliss, I never knew love could thrill me like this.” In the soft passages, we hear that the romantic passion cannot easily be quelled, for, even when the vocal passages are subdued, the intensity is there. At the key change, after the second bridge, Dario lifts the song to the lover’s true assertion that, even if it is wrong in the eyes of the world, even if the lover gets consumed in the fire of passion, even, if the heart and soul are involved, the bottom line is still “my one sin in life is loving you!”

When we feel love this strong in our romantic lives, we usually don’t seem to have a choice: we’re sucked into the frenzy of love-making and obsession with someone for there is no doubt this is also a very physical love. “If it’s wrong to desire lips that set me on fire…” tells us a lot and we get chemically hooked on that certain someone, who does appear as a kind of drug to our vulnerable selves. We become addicted. I’m sure we’ve all been there before. Usually, this is a “feet-first” love affair, with little time for the relationship to build. It is like a meteor that arcs across the heavens above us, traveling at great speed, but, in the end, is bound to burn out, disintegrate. This is pure desire. It may lead to true love after it settles down, but not often. It’s the kind of love affair we chalk up in our 50s and say, “Wow! I did what?!!”

11. Falling in Love with Love (Rodgers & Hart)

Written for a 1938 musical, The Boys from Syracuse, the sentiment herein goes to show there is nothing new under the sun. Interestingly, the song is not done cynically, but conveys a time-honored wisdom that we do indeed fall in love with love itself as if it were never about the other person, but about love-as-objective. It probably stems from some brand of vanity whilst we look in the mirror—“Oh, I’m so attractive—love will love me just as I love me!” While a certain amount of self-esteem is most welcomed, one mustn’t lose one’s self in self, lest we risk getting lost somewhere inside Psyche’s illusion. But, as with all things pertaining to love and tears and laughter, joy and disillusionment, the lyric’s message has deeper layers. “….falling in love with love is playing the fool! Caring too much is such a juvenile fancy, (now comes the punch line), learning to trust is just for children in school.” So, even if we’ve been hurt and know better—even if we come to that terrible place where we trust no one—we risk it all again! For what? “I fell in love with love one night when the moon was full, I was unwise with eyes unable to see…(so) I fell in love with love, with love everlasting, but love fell out with me!”

Dario uses his “Big Broadway” voice in this song; on the second go around he intermixes the lyrics a bit to shade the meaning, but his delivery is sincere and he does not introduce a “showbiz” personality into the tune; he literally sings the song. While we may not cry outwardly upon hearing this song, nevertheless, there is a sobering honesty in its bottom line: when we fall in love with our images of self, there is no room for the other person. Which is why “love fell out with me” lingers in our minds as the tell-tale sign that it may not have been that someone wasn’t simply interested or bored after a while, but that perhaps there was nothing to truly grab on to in order to build a relationship in the first place. Learning to give without expectation is a wonderful way to open the door to love and being loved.

12. How to Handle a Woman (Lerner & Lowe)

Of course, in western culture, very few people actually “handle” each other. I am a woman and personally resent even the premise that some man would wish to “handle” me. Yet control issues are repleat in our society; it seems like every relationship has one dominant and one sub-dominant individual. Perhaps the masculine-feminine balances express themselves in different combinations within each relationship. Example, a man may seem passive if his feminine side is slightly accentuated, whereas a woman may be passive-aggressive or simply dominant if her masculine side is more prominent.

To those of you who follow Broadway’s great musicals, Camelot is one of the classics. Here we have King Arthur, very perplexed about his wife and queen, Guinevere, whom he knows is having an affair with beloved friend and champion-at-arms, Sir Lancelot. Arthur loves them both, yet he cannot permit the liaison to continue. In the quiet of the night, he summons his friend, Merlin, to help him in “handling” this delicate situation and how to save his marriage. The tears of this song come when we realize that the king is more than willing to forgive, but it is too late and his honorable commitment to his beloved is for naught. (Ultimately, guilt-ridden and ashamed, she runs off to a convent for the rest of her life). But….from the nether worlds Merlin does answer Arthur with these simple words, “Just love her, simply love, merely love her, love her…” And so maybe even unto the end of all life, this is all there is, just pure love. We would like for it to be complete and unconditional. But can we be so without being too vulnerable?

13. BONUS SELECTION:

When I Fall in Love from You Will Be My Music (Young/Heyman)

If you enjoyed this album, check out Dario’s marvelous collection of his career recordings of Dario Vanni’s Popular American Standards Songbook collection, Volume 1.