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July 16, 2017:

LYRICS-WISE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we had us our final run-through of the Kay Cole show and it was splendidly splendid. I do these with some people in attendance because it invariably helps the performer hear what the reaction’s going to be and helps with their nerves and getting said nervousness out of their system as much as possible. And we could not have asked for a better reaction from our nine people. From the minute the music began and Kay entered and gave John Boswell a sly smile, we had them. I’ll tell you what the opening is after the show tomorrow – but it’s just about my favorite opening I’ve ever come up with for anyone. One of the bits I added the day before got a HUGE laugh – in fact the whole number got nice big laughs and it’s not a comedy song – it’s just a really clever arrangement of a great song. The structure worked beautifully, and they loved the stories – so few people know her incredible history from the time she was a kid, so they just sit there delighted to hear these fun stories. She went up a couple of times on the patter – just lost her place because dots weren’t being connected, but she handled it exactly as we planned – by having fun with it and playing off John, who always knows where she is. I could tell she was so happy to get the big laughs throughout, but we don’t stint on the touching stuff. And one of the final things I added a couple of days ago, well, there wasn’t a dry eye in my house. So, after everyone left I gave a couple of tiny notes, mostly to do with energy boosts, and she went home to rest her voice and mind. She did just great, though, and neither she nor I nor Boswell could have been happier.

Prior to that I’d gotten very little sleep – maybe four hours tops. I fell asleep at one and woke up at three and couldn’t fall back asleep – so alive were the windmills of my mind – mostly with Mancini/Kritzerland thoughts. So, I got up, assigned all the songs (finally!) and then I decided to actually do something I’ve been wanting to do for a long, long time. I discovered Mancini with his score to Blake Edwards’ High Time, which I first saw at a sneak preview at the Village Theater a few months before it actually opened. I totally fell in love with the music. Like most humans, I of course knew the Peter Gunn music but I didn’t really associate it with a name. With High Time the name Mancini became ingrained in my head. When the movie was finally released, Mancini did one of his many studio re-recordings for the “soundtrack” album. I bought it immediately and wore the damn thing out – first in mono, then in stereo. Funnily, the hit song from the film, The Second Time Around, wasn’t by Mancini. No, he wouldn’t have his number one hit until a year later with Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Moon River. But I always loved the main title march – so infectious and with a killer classic Mancini tune, and also the slow cue called Moon Talk – you can hear them on YouTube if you’ve never heard them. I used to hum those two pieces of music over and over and always wanted them to have lyrics, but alas they never did. So, in the middle of the night last night, in a sheer act of overtired chutzpah, I wrote lyrics to both using Mancini’s titles of High Time and Moon Talk. Even in rough form I thought they worked pretty well. Then I got my additional two hours of sleep, then spent a bit of time finessing the two lyrics and making them smoother – after, I was very happy with both and added both to the Kritzerland show.

She of the Evil Eye arrived and after a while I went and did some stuff – including having a fruit cup at Jerry’s Deli – it wasn’t very good but I needed something that resembled sweet, so it hit the spot. I picked up a couple of packages, then came back home. I listened to some music and then Kay and John arrived, we ran the section we changed and then waited for our nine guinea pigs.

After everyone left, I began listening to the four Rachmaninov piano concertos – I only had one set of them, a famous one with Earl Wild and Jascha Horenstein, which I’ve always enjoyed, despite the muddy sound. A few weeks ago I’d gotten a CD of classical music for piano used in movies from the pianist Valentina Lisitsa and I’d liked that so much, especially the sound, that I thought I should take the chance on her Rachmaninov set. And I’m happy I did – it’s superb. She’s superb, the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor are supberb, and just as importantly, the recording is impeccably produced and engineered – crystal clear and simply gorgeous. It’s now surpasses the Earl Wild, which sounds like it has a blanket over it. Then I had my first Freshly meal – baked penne with Eyetalian sausage. It was great – my favorite so far. Then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

I turned on the TV and sound, put the remote in my hand trying to decide whether to watch a movie on Blu and Ray or Netflix and while I was thinking about it I promptly fell asleep for an hour. Then it was too late to watch anything, so I continued listening to music – the rest of the Pletnev Rachmaninov set – after a very wonderful first symphony and an equally pleasing second symphony, he kind of fell apart with the third, which, while decent, has none of the magic of my favorite performances. The same goes with his Symphonic Dances – just not very interesting. But the first two symphonies are wonderfully done. Then I listened to what are considered classic Carl Nielsen performances in mono – while they are indeed good, the sound is, unfortunately, very sketchy. Then I moved on the a set I found in my closet – the Michael Tippett symphonies, which are, as I remembered them being, very enjoyable. Then I ate my second Freshly meal, six hours after the first and my final Freshly meal until the next batch arrive on Wednesday afternoon. This one was a barbecued chicken breast sitting on a sweet potato mash, with some weird but good vegetables. While this one was probably my least favorite of the six, it was till really good. I’m happy with Freshly so far.

I got the report that last night’s performance was really good and we had a very nice house of close to sixty, and I suspect we’ll have a similar size house for today’s matinee. Then, since it was such a lyrics day, I wrote a lyric for a song I think I want to add to Levi – the end of an act two scene is crying out for a song and I don’t want to do yet another reprise. The scene has a great ending line that also is a perfect song title and it gives the gal playing that role a song in act two. I wrote it quickly and simply and, for me, it does the trick. I’ve already talked to Richard about it and he’ll set it to music and revise it however he feels like it – all I care about is what it’s saying, the storytelling. So, a very productive day and evening, lyrics-wise.

Today, I will hopefully arise after a good night’s beauty sleep, which I really need. Then I’ll relax until it’s time for sound check, and then we do the show and I think Kay and I and a few others will go out after the show.

This week is meetings and meals, figuring out the show order, writing the commentary, and doing all manner of things that need doing. Thankfully the singers all have their music now.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, get a good night’s beauty sleep, I must arise, I must relax, I must go to sound check, and I must see the fruits of our labor with Kay’s show. 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 had a productive day and evening, lyrics-wise.

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