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May 28, 2017:

THE ECSTASY OF SCRIABIN

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I finally had a whole evening to myself and I was truly grateful for it and look forward to two more before the big push to opening the musical and starting run-throughs of Dial ‘M’ for Murder, as well as planning the Kritzerland show for June.

The day began with rehearsal. First we did the big finale, which is a great way to warm up. Then we did music stuff until noon, at which point we began a run-through, albeit with missing cast members. It went surprisingly well for all that – the flow and pacing are very pleasing to me now and will be even smoother when we actually have our backstage crew helping with the set changes. And it’s running like clockwork at ninety minutes.

After the run, we gave notes (once gain, the note session was really funny and fun), then we ran three or four things for clean up purposes, and then we let everyone go two hours ahead of time. I saw no reason to keep them there just to sit around and maybe run a few things. They’ve been working really hard and deserved the early finish.

I went and picked up one little package, then had a Philly cheese steak sandwich and some onion rings for my meal o’ the day. After that I came home, right at five. I wish I had many interesting things to say, but the fact is, other than answering e-mails and having a couple of telephonic conversations, I did virtually nothing for the entire evening, other than uploading and listening to music. Whilst uploading, I turned my attention to this three-disc set of the music of Alexander Scriabin that I’d picked up at Amoeba for around seven bucks.

Now, I must admit I was woefully ignorant about the music of Mr. Scriabin – the only piece I’d ever heard was his classic The Poem of Ecstasy, which I’d enjoyed via several different performances, none of which were sufficiently compelling to make me want to visit his other symphonies (The Poem of Ecstasy is his fourth symphony). But who could resist a box set for seven bucks? Not me. Well, what a well-spent seven bucks it was. The conductor on these performances is Dmitri Kitaenko – and since the only piece I’d ever heard was The Poem of Ecstasy, I have no frame of reference if these are good or mediocre performances, which is probably the best way to come to any classical music. Certainly the recording is fine, but there are, according to the wags, two superb sets available, one by Ricardo Muti and one by Vladimir Askenazy – since they can be had for a song, I may try one or the other. But I had no problems at all with this set and the music kind of blew me away. Like Mahler, Scriabin seems to have been very ahead of his time and very forward thinking harmonically and in mood – very much music leaning towards and taking us into the twentieth century (Scriabin died in 1915 in his early 40s). The music is filled with beautiful melodies and moods – the symphonies are all like tone poems and brethren to The Poem of Ecstasy. This music must have seemed so new and fresh back in the day – and it was very popular with the populace, but over the years Scriabin was basically forgotten for many years, supplanted by Mahler. If you don’t know this music it is highly recommended by the likes of me. It made me very happy whilst hearing it and I’ll be returning to it many times, in these or perhaps other performances. Also included in the set is his wonderful piano concerto and a short piece called Reverie.

Whilst listening I just kept uploading stuff to hear at later dates – I still have a few things left to upload but I made quite a dent.

Today, we have another rehearsal – we’ll stick to the same schedule – warm up number, music, run-through, notes, problems and finish. I have a party to go to at four at Doug Haverty’s – I probably won’t stay long, though. The evening will be mine all mine, as will my day off – I’ll choose songs for the Kritzerland show and get them to singers and that’s about it.

Tuesday our co-author joins us to see what we’ve been up to, and I’m hoping he’ll be happy – no way to really know. I’M happy, the cast is happy, the creatives are happy – we shall have to see. If there’s anything that he has notes on, they’ll be taken into consideration, of course, and if they’re easy and don’t hurt what we’ve built I’m sure we’ll do them – however, I have the final say on anything regarding the production itself, which is as it should be. From Tuesday to Sunday it will be a run-through every day at noon, working any problem areas or implementing notes if I so choose, that sort of thing, but basically just getting the performances where we need them to be and getting the show as smooth and energetically correct as possible. By Friday I will probably lock the show other than minor directorial things in terms of performances. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I do the double duty thing. And then the following week we load in to the El Portal and tech our show.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, rehearse, attend a party, and then relax. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s free-for-all day, the day in which you dear readers get to make with the topics and we all get to post about them. So, let’s have loads of lovely topics and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have immersed myself in the ecstasy of Scriabin.

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