ANOTHER lasting influence was the lush, soothing character of easy listening music that my parents listened avidly to. At a time when everything seemed secondary to Manila's socio-political agitations, easy listening music was the perfect metaphor: it had unpredictable moments, yet it quietly fell into the background, moving along unnoticed unless it skipped on a scratched surface. Moreover, as background music, its sophistication matched the formality of family gatherings. (Those were the days of sartorial elegance: people dressed up even for dinner. Mama used to attire my siblings and me in similar, unobtrusive shirts and pants—yet another case of things falling into the background!)

At home, I soaked up the orchestral sounds coming from Papa's Marantz™ and Lenco™ turntables. My parents owned hundreds of vinyl records, open-reel tapes, and eight-track tapes of recordings ranging from Enoch Light Orchestra and Electric Light Orchestra to Nana Mouskouri and Nina Simone. The most frequently played sounds were the sweeping melodies of Ray Conniff, Arthur Fiedler, Hugo Montenegro, James Last, Michel Legrand, Henry Mancini, Mantovani, Paul Mauriat, and Peter Nero. The music of these orchestras all sounded the same, but since Papa played them at 6 in the morning and in the evenings till eleven o'clock, it became easy for me to figure out which version was playing!

Listen to Michel Legrand's “Theme from ‘Summer of ’42’” using Adobe® Flash® Player. Performed by Peter Nero
and The Fort Worth Symphony Pops. Running time 3:27 min.

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