When I was a young man (approximately three eons ago), there was a genre of music known as Mood Music. Usually, Mood Music was recorded by large, string-based orchestras like the 101 Strings or Mantovani and His Orchestra. It was not very cool to like Mood Music but since I loved the standards of the American Songbook, I owned several Mood Music recordings. Yeah, I wasn’t especially cool. I even had a 101 Stings recording titled Backbeat Symphony that consisted of classical music set to a late fifties rock and roll backbeat. As you’ll see by the end of this post, it was pretty dreadful. By the time I reached college age, I’d discovered jazz, where I could hear much hipper versions of the standards I loved and I joined the rest of my contemporaries in referring to Mood Music as Elevator Music.
Headed out today for my Wednesday stint at the local 12-Step office, I plugged my Samsung S5 phone into my car stereo and found a recording by Amici Forever, The Opera Band. Amici Forever is a group of four classically trained singers (a tenor, a baritone and two sopranos) who mix opera with contemporary pop music. This is my favorite track from the album, the beautiful Canto Alla Vita.
It is a song that always changes my mood, inspires me. Operatic ensemble singing gives me a sense that there is more to our poor species than what I read on the day-to-day internet. If, on the other hand, I’d started out with a mild case of the blues, I’d probably have chosen some jazz to lift my spirits, maybe something by Peter White or The Rippingtons’ Caribbean Breeze.
In need of a spiritual lift? Can anyone listen to the Mozart’s Requiem and not feel a Higher calling?
If I needed to be energized there’s nothing like a window-rattling rendition of the Electric Light Orchestra’s It’s a Living Thing or Heart’s Magic Man.
If I want to feel like a young romantic I can listen to Santo and Johnny’s Sleepwalk or The Four Tops’ Reach Out – I’ll Be There. If I need to grieve, I can put on something like John Barber’s Adagio for Strings.
So here’s my question. Given how my favorite music can change my moods, which did we call this Mood Music?