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May 29, 2019:

LET’S HEAR IT FOR FEMALE CLASSICAL COMPOSERS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, why are there so few notable or even noted female classical composers?  Now, THERE is a question I can sink my teeth into, although I’m not sure the question will appreciate the teeth marks.  Yes, in the more modern era, say the last thirty years or so, there have been female classical composers and some have even had some success.  But it’s still pretty much a boy’s club, but especially in days of old.  As you dear readers know, I have been on a listening kick for a long time now, catching up on old stuff, hearing new stuff, and making lots of discoveries along the way.  And in all of that, there have really just been two females in all that I’ve been hearing, and those would be the wonderful Germaine Tailleferre and the equally wonderful Peggy Glanville-Hicks. I have enjoyed just about every piece I’ve heard by those two ladies.  And yesterday, I discovered another great female composer, a Croation composer named Dora Pejacevic.  I was searching the catalog of CPO Records and a CD with her work popped up, I sampled it, liked the little I heard, and decided to take a chance. Well, what a wonderful composer she is, and thanks to CPO she’s finally had some exposure now.  On the CD I got, we get her Symphony, which is credited as the first Croation symphony, and it’s just wonderful – tuneful, beautifully orchestrated, and forward-looking in its way.  She was born in 1885 and she died very young, in 1923.  The companion piece, Phantasie Concertante for piano and orchestra, is rather like a female Rachmaninov.  Her life story was made into a Croation film called Kontesa Dora.  I’d love to see it, but it’s not on DVD or on YouTube.  I’m looking forward to hearing the other orchestral disc with her piano concerto and her final work, the Overture in D.  I love discovering stuff like this, and you can only imagine how many unsung classical composers there are, people who wrote great music who are completely unknown and therefore unappreciated.  And it’s great that a label like CPO IS championing these people, which is why I’ve been getting this label’s CDs for the past few weeks.

Yesterday was a day, I suppose, although for me it was mostly a do-nothing day of doing nothing.  I was up at nine after five hours of sleep, fell back asleep, was up at ten when the helper brought over some stuff, slept until eleven, when the phone rang several times, and then finally fell back asleep and slept until one-twenty – so nine hours of sleep if you add all that up, but it sure didn’t feel like it.

Once up, I did the usual morning things even though it wasn’t morning. I realized that the four blue cases the helper bought, which are all one-inch tapes used for my documentary Weekday Heroes, didn’t include the one I was looking for, which was one labelled sub-master.  It’s been very frustrating for me with this show – I want to put it out on DVD or Blu-ray but the actual show master is missing.  I had it in my office at Varese Sarabande for several years, in one of the bookcases.  When we moved to the new offices of the label we don’t name, I didn’t recall seeing it. We looked everywhere at that time, with no luck.  Every time we’ve moved storage facilities, I always am hopeful it will just be in one of the boxes, but it hasn’t been.  So, I had this tape marked sub-master and my hope is that it’s the edited show but perhaps without the titles.  We can recreate those easily, as I have a three-quarter-inch tape of the show as a guide. We might even be able to grab it from there.  As to what’s on these other five tapes, I’m hoping that one of them includes the full versions of the actual kiddie shows we used clips from.  But they might just be the raw footage from the live shoot we did, although five hours of that would seem excessive to me.

The place that authored the Nudie Musical Blu-ray put me in touch with a lab out here that does one-inch transfers very reasonably, so I’m hoping to get over there today or Friday and the hope is that they can put this up for me so we can figure out exactly what I have.  I wasn’t sure where the sub-master got to – I thought I may have removed it from storage and maybe it was still in the trunk of my car, but it wasn’t.  I opened the garage, walked in, and had a great stroke of luck in that I found it on a shelf immediately – my eye just happened to go there – so I didn’t waste any time looking for it.

After that, I went to the mail place and picked up some packages, went to Taco Bell for my 1200 calorie meal, came home and ate my 1200 calorie meal, and then did some work on the computer.  We had a Group Rep person drop out of the cabaret benefit, so I replaced that person, and so that was covered.  By then, the day was done and done was the day.  Then I sat at my computer like so much fish and watched a motion picture on free Amazon Prime entitled The Commuter, starring Mr. Liam Neeson.  It’s another one of those silly ticking clock thrillers, strictly by-the-numbers, Screenwriting 101, with every cliché in the book.  The minute the person who will turn out to be the villain shows up you know it’s the villain because it’s been done exactly that way in about 1000 other cookie-cutter thrillers.  It’s actually laughable and the film has many unintentional laughs, including one incredible “I am Spartacus” scenes, wherein everyone tries to protect the nice person who’s the target of the bad guys (ooh, she saw something she shouldn’t have and she now has the EVIDENCE), when she says that she’s the one so no one else will get hurt.  One by one the other people on the commuter train stand and say that they are that person. It’s got lousy CGI, terrible fight sequences, and risible dialogue.  Highly not recommended by the likes of me.

After that, I listened to music and relaxed, and had a telephonic call, too.

Today, once up, I’ll find out if I can take the one-inch tapes in or figure out when that can happen, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll eat no more than 1200 calories, and then I can relax again.

Tomorrow is our second Kritzerland rehearsal, and then I’m supping afterward, so that will be fun.  I’m not sure what’s happening on Friday, other than she of the Evil Eye is coming on that day rather than Saturday.  But that night, I’ll be attending an opening night.  Saturday is our stumble-through, and then I’m sure I’ll eat after that’s done.  Then I have to relax and rest my voice but good, because Sunday I have to be up by nine or nine-thirty to get myself all warmed up for our noon o’clock sound check, and then we do our hopefully one-off brunch show at two-thirty.  I’m sure some of us will eat afterwards.  I’ve been really concerned that we’d have a VERY light crowd, but we’re now a little over fifty and I think we’ll end up between sixty and seventy, so that’s good.  Monday, I think we have the first half of our second Group Rep rehearsal.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, see what’s what with the tapes, hopefully pick up packages, eat, and then relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you get to ask me or any dear reader any old question you like and we get to give any old answer we like. So, let’s have loads of lovely questions and loads of lovely answers and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to tout the glories of female classical composers.

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