Not too long ago, G descended from his mountain cabin to spend some time in Manhattan. One night, we went to the Metropolitan Opera to see Puccini’s La Boheme. This time the Met did it right. It was a beautiful performance not because of the sets but of the singers. Their voices magically carried the conflicted messages of love and death.
We rarely eat and drink before a nighttime performance because they dull the senses. After the performance we went to G’s favorite hotel, The Michelangelo, to have a bite to eat. This Italian family owned hotel stands above the others because of its elegance and class. While we were reminiscing about opera, I became curious about G’s experience with women and music and whether it played an important part in his encounters.
He smiled very broadly and answered,
“You bet. It’s one of the keys to open the doors.”
Our dinner or supper, as G likes to call it, ended, and he wanted to have his cognac and smoke his pipe, which is his nightly ritual. In Manhattan, the latter could only happen in his suite. The cognac arrived, he lighted his pipe and surprised the hell out of me. He delivered a mini- discourse on the history of music of which I’ll just briefly point out a few of his points. He concentrated on the Roman concept of music and how it impacts not only the individual but an entire culture. It was taught in schools on an equal level as mathematics and science. It was considered a significant moral force which encourages civilized behavior. But the Romans also strongly believed that there is “bad” music which leads to destructive behavior and weakens people and countries. G believes that’s happening in our country, and he’s really worried about this.
After his impassioned delivery, he took a small gulp of his cognac, puffed on his pipe and asked,
“Does that answer your question?” “No, G. You got off the beaten track. I asked about your experiences with music and women and not a lecture on its history.” He burst out into laughter, as he usually does when caught off-guard, which reflects his rich sense of humor. I then asked, “Is there such a thing as good or bad music with your lady friends?”
“Lorenzo, you’ve got to remember that in my heyday day there were no CD’s or cell phones but only radios. I never, and I mean never, turned on the TV. That’s how you lose the rhythm of being with a woman. Though I don’t recall discussing music in our book, I almost always turned on the radio after we entered my suite and searched for soft music with voices that could deliver a mellow mood like Frank Sinatra and Roberta Flack. No Elvis Presley or Jersey boys were allowed!”
“G, here’s a tough question to answer for there may be no words to explain it. What does music do to a woman?”
“Good question and, by the way, it also has an impact on men, though I’m only an expert on me. I have thought about what would be a single word to describe it. It’s receptivity. We talked about receptivity before in detail in the book. It’s when the woman is relaxed and sends you a message that she has crossed the Rubicon and open to further pursuit. Music helps make that happen.”
“How do you know when she’s receptive?”
“It’s all in her body language and what she says or even does not say. Some men can sense it and others can’t.
“Now here’s something that will surprise you. Certain women are turned on by classical and somber types of music. Let me tell you of two encounters that happened not too long ago: I was in my cabin with a lady in her late 40’s. After we ate my homemade pasta and had a few very robust drinks, I decided to play a CD of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, one of my favorites. It really turned her on, and she asked me to replay it. And would you believe, I did for almost the rest of the night! Recently, here at the Michelangelo, I was with a highly intelligent, uptight woman. I had just bought a CD of the great tenor, Jose Carreras, singing serious, mellow Catalan folk songs. She told me she loved it. She began to become receptive so I played it again- and again!
“Much music today is hyperactive- you know what I mean. Maybe times have changed, particularly in our drug culture, but to spend serious time with a woman listening to hyperactive music for me is counterproductive. It’s got to be calm. William Congreve is famous for his quote but it’s a misquote. The misquote is, “Music hath the power to soothe the savage beast” but what he actually wrote was, “Music hath the power to soothe the savage breast.”’
“G, what’s a savage breast?”
“That’s a complicated question. Let’s talk about it another time.”
We were about ready to call it a night when he once more burst out into laughter. “Lorenzo, I forgot about Ravel’s Bolero. Over 40 years ago, I met a young lady at an opera rehearsal at the grand Ansonia hotel here in Manhattan. One thing lead to another, and I ended up in her small studio apartment. She really liked her marijuana; that I vividly remember. Anyway, she played, at high volume, Ravel’s Bolero over and over again and boy, did it turn her on. To tell the truth I was also infected with the rhythm, and we had an exceptionally energetic session. I almost had a heart attack, even at my then young age. To the readers who don’t know the piece please go to YouTube, listen and give it a try.
“Lorenzo, last point and an extremely important tip: After love-making is over and you’re sitting down with a woman to enjoy some tranquil last minutes together, turn off the goddamn radio right away! I can’t explain why, but it very counterproductive to the mood and even a downer which takes away from the total hit of the evening.”