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June 23, 2017:

SATIESFYING

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, as I write these here notes I am sitting here like so much fish listening to the music of Erik Satie and Friends – that’s the name of the box set of thirteen discs, all in original LP cover paper sleeves. I find much of the music of Satie very SATIEsfying. Of course the first time I heard the Debussy orchestrations for Gymnopedies one and three I became obsessed with those pieces. I’d gotten an LP called The Impressionists, one of those Phase IV things, which I bought because it was conducted by Bernard Herrmann. I listened to the Gymnopedies until there were no grooves left on the LP. Although the LP has never been put on CD, they did break up some of its contents and put it on other CDs, so thankfully I have those Herrmann conducted versions. But since then I’ve heard many fantastic versions – and I just can’t get enough, and the original piano versions are equally lovely. One wishes that Debussy had orchestrated the third one – but alas he did not. However, much later, American composer David Diamond did and it’s wonderful, too. Satie wrote several ballets and those are all fun and interesting and loaded with melody. There’s also a big box set called Tout Satie that has almost everything Satie wrote – almost all the solo piano stuff, and all the ballets. Worth getting. But this set of thirteen discs that I’m listening to are culled from the Columbia and RCA catalogues – several mono recordings of great interest, and then stereo ones, too. It includes the lovely Charles Gerhardt album, The French Touch, worth it for that alone. Other composers represented (the “friends”) include Francaix, Debussy, Faure, Poulenc, Chabrier and others. It’s very eclectic and I just love these kinds of sets, especially when they have the original cover art.

Yesterday was yet another day when the alarm didn’t go off on the iPad alarm clock app. I should just toss it in the trash at this point. So I slept an hour later than planned but that meant I got eight hours of sleep, so no harm no foul. Or is it no foul, no harm? Or is it no harm, no fowl. I did some work on the computer then went and had a really kind of nauseating omelet with bacon and cheese – I don’t know how you ruin an omelet but it was pretty bad. Add to that at least thirty screaming young children being ALLOWED to scream and run around Jerry’s Deli by their entitled barely out of their teens parents and you can imagine that I’ll be taking a long Jerry’s hiatus – either coming late in the day or just foregoing it until the kiddies are back in school.

After that, I picked up a package, then came home. I had a wonderful telephonic conversation with Richard Sherman – he called to say he’d just finished my revision of the Sherman Brothers musical and that he absolutely loved it, so that was very nice to hear. I listened to music, did some more work on the computer, had some telephonic conversations, and then I had a little meeting with some of the Hit Song creative team – only three of us there, but it was fun. We’d each been sent a sweet gift by the producer – we all got a big package of walnuts from some walnut specialty store where they live – and I tried the candied ones and they were pretty amazing. Then I came back home, relaxed for a bit, then it was time to mosey on over to the theater. I got there at five-thirty so I could chat with our set and lighting guy. The set is coming along – one wishes it were finished, but things move slowly. I’m told the majority of it will be finished by this evening’s run-through, including the ceiling on the set. We recorded some lines that are done off-stage, then the cast arrived and we began our run-through.

The pacing seemed quite off in act one – and it was. Somehow we added a whopping five minutes to the run time, so believe you me we will be going back to the tighter run time. There were some very nice things happening, and some low energy things that have to get fixed. Act two was actually a minute shorter, so that was good, and act three ran what it’s been running. The final ten minutes of act three have become so weird in the playing that I began to think I was in the Twilight Zone, so tonight we’re starting with that scene and we’ll work out those kinks and the weirdness.

I didn’t give notes after. I want the notes to be in their heads pre run-through tonight and I want to run the few problem spots. I’ll have thirty to forty minutes to do that before we need to start. Oh, and we heard Grant’s music for the first time (well, I’d heard it) and it works great, and the other sound cues were in and work well and really add to the piece. I’ve added some rain and thunder to the murder scene – very effective. After we finished, I stopped at Gelson’s and got a tiny bit of seafood salad, came home, and ate it and some walnuts for my snack.

Today, I really need to relax. I won’t be going to Jerry’s Deli, that much I can tell you. Not sure where I WILL go, but somewhere close by where I can get right in. Or maybe I’ll just rustle up some pasta and butter here. Then we have our run-through and I’m hoping that at least ninety percent of the set will be finished – I know the floor isn’t going to be painted until Monday – if you saw what it was (left over from Kay Cole’s show) you’d know how irritating it is to look at it every night.

Tomorrow at ten we begin tech. We start with a cue-to-cue, then do a run-through without stops. Then we’ll have notes, then a meal break, then we do another run-through. Sunday is the exact same schedule adding a dress rehearsal for the second run. Then we have Monday off, Tuesday is our final dress, we play invited previews Wednesday and Thursday, and then we open on Friday.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, relax, eat, hopefully pick up packages, and do a run-through. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Friday – what is currently in your CD player and your DVD/Blu and Ray player? I’ll start – CD, Satie and Friends, more Rachmaninov and a lot of other stuff. Blu-ray, The Bird With the Crystal Plumage. Your turn. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, after enjoying such Satiesfying music.

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