Haines Logo Text
Column Archive
July 10, 2020:

THE BROWNING VERSION

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we had fun with the first of our Facebook and YouTube Live tests, so if you missed them, which most of you did, given I believe I only saw two or three dear readers in attendance, you can still watch at either place.  I sang a really early song of mine, written at fifteen years of age, called Lucky Me.  Revisiting these oldies is always fascinating for me, and while this song wouldn’t win any awards, for fifteen and someone with no formal music training, the lyrics are pretty good and the tune is better than pretty good, going to some interesting places that are unexpected, form-wise.  The song begins in Eb for the first half chorus (four lines), switches to F for the second half chorus, then goes back to Eb for a short reiteration of the first half chorus.  The bridge is in Ab and then it’s back to Eb for the rest.  Weird, but it does keep the ear on its toes, so to speak.  I wonder if it’s possible to keep the toe on its ears.  And now, I am sitting here like so much fish, listening to the marvelous pianist John Browning – a twelve-CD box set of his complete RCA albums, but amusingly beginning with a Columbia album that happens to be one of my favorite classical albums ever – Mr. Browning and George Szell doing the Samuel Barber piano concerto, I piece I absolutely love.  For me, it’s the definitive version of the concerto, even though there’s another Browning version in the set from later in his career, with Leonard Slatkin conducting.  I’m not a huge Slatkin fan, so it doesn’t come close to the Szell, but it’s nice to have. The companion piece on the Columbia album is included even though it doesn’t feature Browning, but it’s seriously great – a William Schuman piece.  Browning plays so beautifully that even though I’m no fan of solo piano music, his Beethoven Diabelli Variations are delightful, and his solo Schumann, Ravel, and Debussy discs are superb.  But it’s the instrumental stuff I love, and this set is filled with great stuff, including all five Prokofiev piano concertos, wonderfully conducted by Erich Leinsdorf.  The first two of those have very odd sound, as if the engineers were on a bad acid trip – things out of balance, near-distortion – it’s very weird.  I don’t know if a new mastering would help or not.  Thankfully, the other three sound okay.  Anyway, loving this set.

Yesterday got off to a crazy start due to sleeping for ten hours, which I desperately needed. I didn’t wake up until 1:20. That would have been fine had I not pre-ordered food to pick up at Island’s – I thought I was really safe for two o’clock.  So, I had to hurry things along, answer e-mails and such, and then drive right over to Island’s to pick up food.  I ordered my usual Big Wave with cheese, and I added bacon to the equation.  I came right home and ate it and the fries all up – very good it was, too.  And that was my food intake for the day and evening.

Then I did work on the computer, replaced the guest star who had to drop out with an equally great guest and another Tony winner, so that was great.  Then I went to the mail place and picked up an important envelope and a couple of packages, did some banking (via ATM – line was HUGE), and then came home and got ready for our Facebook and YouTube Live test, which came off fine with no tech problems.  I also was delighted to see we made the LA Times’ list of fun things to watch this weekend.  Here’s the link. Just scroll down and you’ll find us.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2020-07-09/what-to-watch-bollywood-dance-carousel-whitney-museum

After the test, I read a bit more of the book I’m reading, and then finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I finished watching Phantom of the Paradise, the Scream Factory version.  I then did a comparison again with the French.  The Scream Factory is simply too dark, but I’ve grown to like the color a bit better now than the French, but the French is more accurate, contrast-wise, to the release prints.  I then watched an interminable interview with Paul Williams – not his fault – but he rambles and repeats things and it’s the job of the producer and editor of the featurettes to fix that stuff, but they WANT it as long as possible, which is a mistake.  Mr. Williams, like most, also credits De Palma with things that he didn’t think of, that were the editor’s idea, which Paul Hirsch talks about at length in his book.  Then I watched a bit of Mr. De Palma’s interview – I think it’s more recent than others I’ve seen, and he seems a bit more down to earth here.  I also watched the little featurette on the footage that had to be altered when the Led Zeppelin manager threatened them with a lawsuit over the film’s fictional Swan Song company – apparently, just before the film began shooting, the manager had come up with that name.  But fiction is fiction and the fact that this, in my opinion, jerk did this to them is disgusting.  They had to go in at the last minute and put traveling mattes over every logo in the film or edit around them – the result was amateurish even when the movie came out in 1974 and looks even worse now.  De Palma is still clearly upset by it, as he should be.  But in the featurette, it has all the original footage, so you can see what they had to do.  Again, Mr. Manager of Led Zeppelin, you’re a real jerk for doing that.  Whether they would have prevailed in court is another story.

After that, I listened to music in the Browning box, which was a very pleasing end to the evening, I must say and did say.

Today, I’ll be up by ten-thirty, the helper will be here at eleven to pick up some stuff, then I’ll do work on the Kritzerland shows, I’ll eat (not sure what yet), I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, and then I’ll get ready for our second Facebook and YouTube Live test and I’ll be singing another song in it.  Perhaps more dear readers will show up for this one.  Then I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to relax during the day, then we do our third test, and then on Sunday I relax until it’s show time at 5:00 PDT and 8:00 PDT.  Can’t wait to do it, frankly.  And then we dive right into the August show.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up by ten-thirty, have a helper visit, work on the Kritzerland shows, eat, hopefully pick up packages, do our second test, and then watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Friday – what is currently in your CD player and your DVD/Blu and Ray player?  I’ll start – CD, the Browning set, then on to Toscanini, which I’m looking forward to.  Blu-ray, continuing through the 70s De Palma, Obsession.  Your turn.  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to be listening to the beauty that is The Browning Version.

Search BK's Notes Archive:
 
© 2001 - 2020 by Bruce Kimmel. All Rights Reserved