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August 12, 2020:


Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish, beginning to listen to the gloriously glorious output of the wonderful and great conductor, Sir John Barbirolli.  I discovered him in the late 1960s and just loved everything I heard by him.  He had a wonderful way with the Brits, of course, with wonderful performances of Arnold Bax and Delius and Vaughan Williams, but also with Mahler and lots of other composers.  This is another big box and covers his output with Pye and EMI and other labels now owned by Warner.  While the box itself is like most boxes these days, the jackets are a bit disappointing and not as much fun as the RCA/Columbia boxes in that regard.  Those reproduce the LP covers and backs exactly.  Here, once you get past the first ten CDs, whose covers are the same – those are all the 78s he did – you do get the original covers but shrunk down and the backs of the jackets aren’t reproduced at all.  The booklet is terrible with no clear layout of each CD as the RCA/Columbia sets do.  But that’s the packaging and we’re not listening to the packaging.  The 78s are fun to hear but are a mixed bag in terms of transfers.  Some sound surprisingly fantastic, some are very, very noisy, but they’re all quite rare so it’s fun to hear them.  These early performances are all interesting, and in certain cases really magical, like the Bax third symphony, recorded in 1944 and sounding pretty great.  I love this symphony and have heard many versions, but this one has real beauty and the Halle Orchestra does a great job of it.  The ones prior to this one have been mixed bags – all nice performances but of repertoire I’m not crazy about.  Still, a nice Peer Gynt suite and some other gems like that.  But this Bax thing is in a whole other universe and it’s followed by a Vaughan Williams fifth that I can’t wait to hear.  Many discs to go but starting with disc eleven we’re into the tape years.  I read that a handful of of his albums from around 1954 were recorded in both mono and stereo but the stereo tapes have gone missing – what a shame that is.  I have the feeling this will be many hours of wonderful listening and hearing this kind of beauty in this crazy time is very calming, soothing, and even helpful and healthful.  And the interesting thing about listening these 78s transfers is it’s really like going back in a time machine and sitting in front of the victrola and hearing music for the first time.  We didn’t think about surface noise or tinny sound, we marveled that we put a needle on a record and music issued forth.  So, it’s somewhat nostalgic, these transfers from 78s.

Yesterday was another weird little day.  I was up at one after nine hours of sleep but feeling groggy and out of sorts.  Then I got my sorts sorted out and my sorts felt in, so that was good.  I had a good telephonic conversation that alleviated some of the stress I’ve been feeling, so that was very nice.  I ordered Jack in the Box for food – two Breakfast Jacks, two tacos, and onion rings.  It arrived twenty minutes later.  I have to say that the Breakfast Jacks are not as good as they used to be.  But the weird tacos are weird as can be and there’s just something about them that I enjoy.  They’re like no other taco you’ve ever had.  And the onion rings were great – Jack in the Box has always had the best fast food onion rings.

After that, I chose a couple more songs, I’m still waiting on guest stars to respond and hopefully come through, had another telephonic conversation, did some work on the computer, sent a couple more tracks to singers, set a Zoom rehearsal for Saturday afternoon, and then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched the first half of a motion picture on Blu and Ray entitled The Ten Commandments.  I last watched this in 2011 when the disc came out.  Yes, it’s corny, yes, the staging of the interior scenes are like tableaux, yes, the dialogue is rancid, but somehow the damn thing just sucks you in and resistance is futile.  The transfer is still pretty great looking nine years later, with eye-popping color and clarity is still nice.  The first part runs a whopping two hours and fifteen minutes – the entire film runs three hours and thirty-nine minutes, but time passes quickly when you’ve got Moses and a burning bush.

After that, I took a drive, ended up at Gelson’s and got a little snack to eat and also food for today for two calorie-friendly meals, so that’s good.  Then I came home, ate the snack (lobster salad, but only about three ounces), and listened to music.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll choose at least three or four more songs, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll eat, I’ll do whatever needs doing, and then at some point I’ll relax, watch and listen.

The rest of the week is more of the same, trying to survive, getting everything set for the Kritzerland anniversary show, and keeping my head on straight and trying not to be out of sorts when it’s more fun to be in of sorts.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, choose songs, hopefully pick up packages, eat, do whatever needs doing, and then watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you get to ask me or any dear readers 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, hoping I won’t be out of sorts when I arise as I’d much prefer to be in of sorts.

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