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November 10, 2020:

A MONO AFFAIR

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish, listening, spending more time in the Barber chair with a three-CD set I had no idea existed – a couple of years ago, Sony did a series called The Music of America, featuring compilations of Copland, Bernstein, Brubeck, John Williams, Wynton Marsalis, and Barber (those are the ones I could find – these are inexpensive but hard to find).  The Barber compilation, however, is the only one in the series that actually has some rare material on it, so that’s the fun of the set.  It includes Barber himself singing Dover Beach with a string quartet, a lovely choral version of Adagio for Strings, a nice amount of Leontyne Price and Marilyn Horne and an excellent performance of the first symphony by Leonard Slatkin, which is much preferable to the Marin Alsop recording.  Otherwise, I can alert you to a really fun documentary on Amazon Prime – free for Prime members – called Leonard Soloway’s Broadway. Soloway was a producer and general manager for many Broadway shows, trying to stay relevant in a business that doesn’t favor art over commerce much anymore.  He’s a real character and the through line is his production of Tappin’ Thru Life with Maurice Hines at New World Stages.  That journey doesn’t end well but I think Mr. Soloway’s mantra must have been I Ain’t Down Yet.  My friend Debbie Gravitte is interviewed, along with a lot of other interesting types.  It doesn’t overstay its welcome and my only real criticism is its directed like every other one of these things.  I also slogged through about forty minutes of Judy, with Renee Zellwegger.  It’s horribly written, horribly directed by someone who should not be allowed behind the camera, and Ms. Zellwegger tries hard in an impossible situation.  While I suppose acting Judy Garland could be gotten away with on a stage, it just doesn’t work in film, although Judy Davis did do quite a good job of it.  The structure of the film is weird (it’s based on the play, End of the Rainbow), the supporting cast is not wonderful for the most part, but the biggest mistake, of course, was letting Zellwegger do her own singing – she sounds nothing like Garland and doesn’t even try to, which is a real problem when you’re trying to get an audience to believe they’re seeing Garland.  I’ll finish it this evening, I suppose.  And now, I’m relaxing and writing these here notes and have moved on from Barber to another composer I really like a lot but who shall not be named here because we’ll be doing a CD that contains both film music and classical music of said unnamed composer.

Yesterday was kind of just a day – some good, some okay, thankfully, nothing bad.  I got seven hours of sleep, got up, answered e-mails, then had to get ready for my noon o’clock luncheon with our musical director, Richard Allen.  We met at Hugo’s.  He had their carbonara while I, of course, had their pasta papa.  He liked his and I certainly liked mine.

Then we reconvened at my place and he filmed my hands playing the songs from project one. That took about forty minutes, but he can now really start to work on the charts and orchestrations.  He left, and then I had to proof the packaging for the last of our releases, both of which we’ll announce at some point this week.  I also had to write the blurbs for them.  The packaging for this last title is one of the best Doug’s done.  Then I caught up on a few other things, then began my viewing for the evening, which you already know about because for some inexplicable reason I wrote about it already, not observing the natural order of things.  I’m trying to remember if I’ve left anything out, but I don’t think I have.  Oh, yes, I did pick up a couple of packages, including a new supply of checks, which I was just about to run out of.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll figure out the audio samples for our two new releases and get all that prepared, I’ll finish choosing the December Kritzerland show songs and start getting the music to the singers so we can get that all going and start getting tracks made.  I’ll eat – I need a change of pace, I think, so I’ll either go to Gelson’s and see if there’s anything fun there, or I might try Casa Vega for tacos, or maybe even Taco Bell, or maybe something completely different, just for variety.  Then at some point, I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

The rest of the week will be more of the same – Kritzerland show stuff, perhaps starting work on project two if I’m feeling inspired, and announcing our two new titles – one show, one soundtrack, both really good and an all mono affair.  I could use a mono affair right about now, but that’s another story for another day.

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, do whatever needs doing, figure out audio samples and prepare everything for announcing, finish choosing the December Kritzerland songs, eat, then watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films and recordings of Miss Judy Garland?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, whilst I perhaps start looking for a mono affair.

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