Melody is the rarest of musical talents and the most treasured, which is one reason only a handful of 19th-century composers continue to speak to us. Those that do are true melodists as opposed to generic ones: preachers who hear a kind of songfulness no one else has heard rather than parishioners who elaborate on that approach, reducing inspiration to style. The former may be few, yet they seem to arrive in groups, carrying the ball for a paternal titan, as though waiting for a properly melodious climate—Mozart kicking off for Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Schumann; Verdi for Bizet, Tchaikovsky, and Puccini; Berlin for Kern, Rodgers, and Porter. This schema is simplistic, but it helps pass the time as we wait and wait and wait for melody's return. Maybe Mark Chapman just... More >>>