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May 26, 2018:

AIMEZ-VOUS BRAHMS?

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am writing these here notes whilst Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 is playing.  I like that fellow Brahms.  In fact, of all the old boys he is almost my favorite – the tunes are just great, some of them very famous indeed, and some which have been interpolated – interpolated I tell you – into motion pictures.  In fact, the Georges Auric score for the Ingrid Bergman film Goodbye Again is filled with Brahms, but perhaps that’s because the Francoise Sagan source novel was, in fact, called Aimez-vous Brahms (translation: Do You Like Brahms – why, yes I do).  But enough about Brahms, who, by the way, I like – do you?

Yesterday was a day in which I don’t believe I received a single Kritzerland order and let me tell you that is NOT acceptable. So, we must make up for that today. I did get eight hours of sleep for a change, so that was very nice.  Once up, I answered e-mails and did stuff on the computer, then around noon I went and had some chicken tenders and a side Caesar salad, both good.  Then for the third day in a row I picked up no packages or mail.  So, what was a person to do except come home.

Once I got home I pretty much stayed away from the piano and singing because my voice kind of got trashed the day before because I sung through everything, plus allergies have not been wonderful all week.  Then I did a three-mile jog and finally sat on my couch.  Here’s what I wrote over a decade ago: “I must say I was completely taken with the film – the writing and directing of Bryan Forbes was excellent, the characters were well written and fairly complex, and the performances wonderful. Miss Caron was deservedly nominated for an Oscar – she’s endearing, strong, funny, and extremely touching. It’s her finest performance.  Tom Bell was okay, Brock Peters more than okay, but Cicely Courtenage almost walked away with all her scenes as an elderly actress past her glory days.  What a terrific performance she gives.”  Before I get into the transfer, let me continue raving about Cicely Courtenage – what a brilliant and heartbreaking performance it is.  The scene in which she tells Leslie Caron about the “friend” she had, clearly the important relationship in her life brought me to tears. The subtlety of the scene (which had to be subtle in 1962) is so beautifully done.  Leslie Caron asks to see a photo.  She looks at it and it is very clear that the “friend” is a woman. It’s my favorite scene in the film, but every scene is great.  Oh, and the score is comprised of a piano concerto by someone named Brahms, with some jazz bits thrown in by composer John Barry.  Twelve years ago I complained about the DVD transfer, which had white flash frames throughout it.  Well, I’m happy to tell you that the Twilight Time Blu-ray is absolute perfection and glorious, another amazing Sony transfer.  And it makes watching the film even better.  And watching Tom Bell this time around made me appreciate his performance more.  I cannot recommend this Blu-ray enough.

After that, I went and got a tiny bit of potato salad and a vegetable roll from Ralph’s because I needed to get my calorie intake back up to 1000, which those two things did exactly.  Then I watched about an hour of another Twilight Time Blu-ray entitled Harry and Walter Go to New York.  The transfer is great, the film is a bit of a mess, but I knew some of the folks involved and you have never seen a cockier lot of people and it shows – everyone thinks they’re being wildly funny, but the script isn’t too good and when I think of comedy and musical numbers the director I’d probably but at the bottom of my list would be Mark Rydell.  It’s a handsome looking production, but thus far only Diane Keaton really escapes unscathed.  The film was a huge flop back in the day and it’s easy to see why – it just never seems to make up its mind as to what it wants to be.  Of course James Caan, Elliot Gould, and Michael Caine are all excellent actors.  I’ll finish it up today.

After that, I moved directly on to Brahms, who I like.  Do you? I began to wonder why not a single e-mail had come in since five o’clock to my main address, so I quite out of mail, launched it again and forty-five damn e-mails showed up, a couple of which were time sensitive, and one included a chart for me to proof.  Go know.

Today, I have a noon o’clock meeting that I hope won’t run more than an hour.  Then I’ll eat something fun, hopefully pick up packages and/or mail, I’ll do some errands and whatnot, then I’ll do a jog, and then watch stuff and undoubtedly listen to the rest of these here Brahms symphonies as conducted by Rafael Kubelik, no relation to Fran Kubelik.

Tomorrow will be more of the same and then we being our busy Kritzerland rehearsal week on Monday, which is, of course, an official holiday.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a meeting, eat, hopefully pick up packages and mail, do errands and whatnot, do a jog, and then relax. Today’s topic of discussion: Of course it should be do you like Brahms but I think I’ve beaten that into the ground so – what are your all-time favorite symphonies?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have answered the age-old question, aimez-vous Brahms.  I do.  Do you?

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