Well, dear readers, it is August, and not a moment too soon, if you ask me, as the end of July, especially its final day, had me saying quite vociferously, “Enough!” So, it is my fervent hope and prayer that August will be a month filled with health, wealth, happiness, creativity, and all things bright and beautiful. And yes, we need every single one of those things and need it NOW. Now that we have that clear, in the “I never thought I’d see it” category, I’ve seen it. When I first saw Ed Wood’s Plan Nine from Outer Space, there was one performance that was so beyond bad and worse and yet hilarious and that performance came from an actor I’d never seen before or since, one Dudley Manlove, a perfect name for this actor if you’ve seen his performance as Eros. Of course, we based our Zubrick in The Brain from Planet X on that character, taking him to his illogical extreme, if you get my meaning and I know you do. So, there I was, sitting on my couch like so much fish, watching some pretty bad episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (ever episode on disc three is awful) and I hear a voice and I know that voice and I look at the actor and it’s Dudley Manlove – three lines and gone, but there he was. And apparently, it’s not his only episode. Who knew? And the other surprising name I saw was Ira Levin – I had no idea he’d written any short stories, but he wrote two prior to A Kiss Before Dying. And one episode was adapted from one of those two stories. Sadly, it wasn’t very good, mostly due to a bad adaptation and really bad casting. But have I mentioned it’s August? Have I mentioned that we need August to be a wonderful month?
Otherwise, I’m sitting here like so much fish, listening to George Szell’s performance of the Mahler sixth, which I and many others have a love/hate relationship with. Why? Because it was recorded during a live performance, not recorded especially well, and not issued by Columbia because Szell would not allow it. After he died, they released it posthumously. And indeed, it sounds bad in the first movement – the band is ragged, unusual for the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, the sound is not balanced well, and it sounds muffled. Things improve in the second movement and from there it gets better as it goes so that by the final two movements, we have something approaching decent sound. I had the Japanese remaster from about eight years ago and for my money it made things worse – don’t know why. But now we have a new three-CD set from Japan, a hybrid SACD release that has Szell’s Mahler fourth, which is great and great-sounding – mastered a bit lower than should be but the SACD layer is better in that regard, the first two movements of the Mahler tenth, which sound close to the recent Blu-spec CD I have of that so I’m sure they use the same mastering, and then the sixth. And this is the best that’s ever sounded – no, it can’t help fix that first movement or the occasional thinness of the sound, but it’s really an improvement, which is nice because Szell is white hot in his performance.
Yesterday was the last day of July and a complete and total “enough” day. There were misunderstandings, miscommunication, a guest asking if I’d be angry if they didn’t do their song (answer: Yes, and you really need to do it – so hopefully they will), and just one drama after another to deal with. I had to have two long telephonic conversations, had to do other stuff, and it was just a chore of a day with little respite. I did pick up some packages, but only one important envelope and not the important important envelope – what I think may be the case is that the lesser envelope may have come the day before when I hadn’t been to the mail place at all. And I suppose there was a chance that the mail from yesterday hadn’t been put out yet, since they were jammed when I got there. But hopefully no matter what it will be there today.
Once home, I ordered the tiny personal pizza and a dinner salad from Barone’s. It arrived forty minutes later. The tiny pizza is REALLY tiny – I don’t think the whole of it would even equal two normal-sized slices of pizza. It was good and so was the salad, but not that filling, frankly, and not that frankly filling. After that, it was just dealing with the endless supply of “Enough” stuff. If I’d had an aardvark here, I would have strangled it. Happily, I didn’t because who would want to harm an aardvark? Then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish and you know what I watched.
After that, I listened to the Judy Collins album, In My Life, the album that put her on the map, really. I love most of the song choices and the arrangements/orchestrations by Joshua Rifkin are great. Then it was on to Zino Francescatti in two early 1950 recordings of the Paganini Violin Concerto, which I’d never heard, and which is kind of delightfully delightful, and the third violin concerto of Saint Saens, a wonderful version, maybe the best I’ve heard. And then came Mahler and that you know about.
Today, I’ll be up at eight-thirty, thanks to she of the Evil Eye, and I have no idea how I’ll pass three hours or what I’ll do. I may take a drive to the Coral Café to see if they have outside seating – if they do, I might have a meal there because I can certainly kill ninety minutes there. I’ll hopefully pick up some packages and the important envelope, I hope to have no drama or enough stuff, and then I’ll do whatever Kritzerland show stuff I need to do and then I’ll watch, listen, and relax.
Tomorrow is more of the same, and then next week is all Kritzerland show stuff, our one and only Facebook and YouTube Live test, and then on Sunday we do our show, after which it’s on to our tenth anniversary show.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up at eight-thirty, I must do stuff until I can return at noon o’clock, I must hopefully pick up packages and, more importantly, an important envelope, I must do Kritzerland show stuff, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: Who are your favorite pianists (both classical and pop) and violinists, the ones who just take things to a level that gets to you? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, welcoming in August – and it is my fervent hope and prayer that August will be a month filled with health, wealth, happiness, creativity, and all things bright and beautiful. Pretty please with extra sauce.