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November 2, 2019:

HELEN TWELVETREES

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, November is flying by, like a gazelle doing the Peppermint Twist whilst watching the films of Helen Twelvetrees. I am currently sitting here like so much fish, not watching the films of Helen Twelvetrees.  In fact, I have never seen a film with Helen Twelvetrees, but have seen films with twelve trees.  I am listening to the piano quintet of Mr. Shostakovich, as played by the marvelous Hollywood String Quartet with Victor Aller on piano.  The Hollywood String Quartet has become something of an obsession with me recently, following it being an obsession of both the gazelle and Helen Twelvetrees.  The Hollywood String Quartet was made up of first-class top-shelf musicians who regularly played on just about ever classic film score in those days.  The two violinists were the great Felix Slatkin along with Paul Shure, the viola was Paul Robyn, and the cello was Ellen Aller aka Eleanor Slatkin and sister of pianist Victor Aller.  She was an amazing musician who played the cello concerto Korngold composed for the film Deception on its soundtrack and remained a beloved musician on film scores for many years, the first woman to hold a principal chair in a Hollywood film orchestra.  She played on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a solo John Williams wrote especially for her.  So, the musicianship on these albums is impeccable and even though the sound is mono, and the acoustic is a little dry for my taste, they are making me actually enjoy chamber music.  I have more of their albums on their way.  A label called Testament has issued several – heaven forbid Capitol/EMI should actually put out these classic albums with their original great covers.

Yesterday, the first day of November, was a fine day.  I got nine hours of sleep, answered e-mails, did a lot of work at the piano and computer (most of the day), picked up a few packages and an important envelope, did some banking at the bank, which is where I like to do my banking, then came home.  I listened to some music, finessed the liner notes I’d written before going to bed – don’t know where that energy burst came from – perhaps all the candy I’d eaten.  Then it was time to have a dinner meeting.

Last night, I had a dinner meeting, during which I met and ate, which is what I like to do at a dinner meeting, in which many things were discussed, none of them involving Helen Twelvetrees.  We supped at the wonderful Thai restaurant that was a favorite of our beloved Nick Redman – Talesai.  I hadn’t been there in nine or ten months, I think.  The food is great there – I had my beloved Thai salad with peanut dressing, my beloved chicken with cashews, we shared my beloved Pad Thai, and it was a very nice meeting.

After that, I came directly home and had just a few small candies from Halloween.  The majority of the leftovers are going with me to the theater for rehearsal this morning.  I listened to more music, including two great performances of Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris conducted by Felix Slatkin with the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra.  The mastering is lousy on this particular CD – not part of the Full Dimensional Sound series that had GREAT mastering.  There is a later release and I may give that one a try.  I had a back-and-forth with my mastering guy – we’ve got two more Bagleys already in the bag, and he’s done one of two classical albums that are also film music-related in that both composers wrote for the movies.  I think there’ll be six releases between now and the end of the year, maybe even eight if I decide to do a release right before Christmas.  We shall see.

Today, I must be up early, I must shave and shower, and then mosey on over to the theater by 9:45.  We’ll spend the first hour or two putting in our leading man – his blocking, since the character is in a wheel chair, is pretty minimal and easy.  And we’ll make sure everyone remembers everything we did last Monday and Tuesday.  Then we’ll move on to act two and my hope is that I can get half of it blocked.  Then after we wrap, we may invite whoever would like to go for Dino’s Pizza – we’ll buy two or three extra-large.  I thought that might be fun for those who have the time.  After that, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, and then I’ll come home and relax and watch a motion picture of some sort – perhaps a Godzilla and then a low-budget Brit film I need to see, since it has music by one of the classical composers we’re doing.

Tomorrow will be a ME day, during which I’ll relax, watch movies, listen to music, and get my energy ready for a very busy and big week ahead.  Monday, we’re back rehearsing and that continues through Thursday evening.  Days will be filled with meetings and meals and all manner of things.  I believe we only rehearse on Saturday for the weekend.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up early, rehearse, perhaps have pizza after, hopefully pick up packages, and then watch a motion picture and listen to music. Today’s topic of discussion: Who were your favorite character actors (both sexes) from the days when we actually had character actors?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, where I shall undoubtedly dream of Helen Twelvetrees romping about in a forest consisting of twelve trees.

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