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June 25, 2020:

CONTEMPLATING MY ELBOW AND EYEBROW

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish, listening to music – the brilliant second symphony of Randall Thompson, one of my ten favorite symphonies of all time – and contemplating my elbow.  I got tired of contemplating my navel, so I thought I’d try my elbow.  Frankly, contemplating my navel isn’t that interesting either, so I may try contemplating my nostril next.  One simply must contemplate something, don’t you agree?  The second movement has just finished – it is sublimely sublime and I don’t care who knows it.  I released this symphony on CD in the Bay Cities days – an old mono recording, the symphony’s first recording, I believe.  It was a good performance in pretty lousy sound.  Leonard Bernstein recorded it in stereo and that’s considered the definitive version.  I don’t think we’ve HAD a definitive version yet – Bernstein’s just a bit too ragged (both he and the band – nothing horrid but just enough to make you scratch your head as to why they didn’t do some fixes).  Neemi Jarvi’s version is pretty good until the second movement, which, in his usual fashion, he rushes through as if he’s trying to catch a train.  James Ross on Naxos doesn’t have a good enough band (although he also does Thompson’s first symphony, and that one’s better).  The Andrew Schenck on Koch is pretty worthless, at least to my ears.  Mediocre sound, mediocre conducting and a not great band.  His Thompson third is a non-starter for me – I don’t know what went wrong in the mastering, and they’ve never acknowledged whatever it is, but the third symphony sounds like it’s in mono.  I can’t even listen to it.  There’s a better performance, much older in mono, but the only copy of it on YouTube is absolutely dreadful sounding.  I’m now contemplating my eyebrow, which seems arch.

Today was the second day in a row of not getting to sleep until five and not arising until after one. Must stop that right now.  Once up, I had a lot of e-mails to answer, which I did.  Then I went right over to the Infiniti dealer and picked up my battery cover thing, which I then installed over the battery, which is now covered as it should be.  Then I came right back home and made some Wacky Noodles, which I then ate whilst doing stuff on the computer.  I then got the second to last ensemble video, so put that in Dropbox and sent the track to be mixed (that’s how we have to do the group stuff).  Then I did the fixes to two tracks, so that’s it for the tracks now.  I decided not to go to the mail place even though I knew there was a little package there for me.  I just stayed put and did stuff that needed doing.  Then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on a region 2 DVD called Five Graves to Cairo, starring Franchot Tone, Anne Baxter, Akim Tamiroff, and Erich von Stroheim.  It’s generally thought of as second tier Wilder, but I really like it a lot and for me it’s first tier all the way.  It’s filled with classic Wilder and Brackett dialogue, it’s wonderfully directed and photographed (photography was Oscar nominated), and the acting is terrific, especially von Stroheim, who walks way with the film as Field Marshall Rommel.  There’s also a nice Miklos Rozsa score.  If you’ve never seen it, it’s available here on a TCM DVD that’s pretty inexpensive.

After that, I did more work on the computer and began my Randall Thompson listening, starting with his first symphony, moving on to his second, and now listening to a quite rare choral/orchestra piece called Ode to the Virginian Voyage.  Thompson was more known for his choral works – they’re great, but it’s the three symphonies I always return to.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, but hopefully that won’t be later than eleven.  Once up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages and mail, I’ll eat, I’ll do Kritzerland show stuff, and that includes starting to figure out the August show, and then at some point I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

Tomorrow is our Zoom rehearsal day – that will take three hours and I’m looking forward to it.  The weekend can be relaxing if I can relax, but there’s still stuff to do and do it I shall.  Then next week is all Kritzerland show stuff.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m hope, do whatever needs doing, hopefully pick up packages, eat, do Kritzerland show stuff, and then watch, listen and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite Billy Wilder movies?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, where I shall contemplate my closed eyeballs and my dreams.

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