Thursday, December 09, 2010

"silence is music for me"

Friday evening, as Christmas lights glittered outside the window of his Central Park hotel suite, Andrea Bocelli was doing his best to explain himself in English. At his side was gracious Italian translator Maria Galetta, ready to help out. But the singer remained determined to find the right words himself.

Ten years ago, at a peak of his international stardom, Bocelli wrote an ingratiating memoir. He frankly described his blindness, the pains and prejudices he confronted as a kid, and the years he scraped by as a piano singer in bars and clubs in his native Tuscany. Why had he called his book "The Music of Silence"?

Bocelli, 52, furrowed his brow and leaned forward. He was unshaven and wearing a white-knit sweater, open at the neck. He had a day off from his Christmas tour, which arrives Friday at Staples Center, and had the look of a perennial performer glad to be free for a moment from his tailored suits and image. A seriousness took hold.

"First, silence is part of music," he said slowly in English. "In the scores, the pauses are very important. Second, because in our society, what we really miss is the silence. We live in a society full of big sounds, big confusion, big mess, you know? Everywhere there is music, in the elevator, in the restaurant, in the cars, at theaters. Cars, they make noise, the engines. There's no place where we can feel the peace of silence. For this reason I discovered that silence is music for me."

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