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November 7, 2020:

THE BARBER CHAIR

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I must write these here notes in a hurry for she of the Evil Eye will be here all too soon and I now have a busy day tomorrow so let’s get to it, shall we?  The big news is that I finally finished the Szell set, including the final discs, mono again, that he did the the New York Philharmonic – very good stuff but all repeats of stuff he did with Cleveland, so I nuked those.  And now, as I write these here notes I’ve moved on to the complete orchestral works of Samuel Barber.  That’s right, you heard it hear dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish listening to the orchestral works of Samuel Barber – I guess you could say I was in the Barber chair.  We don’t allow groaning here at haineshisway.com.  I do love this music – we’ve already had The School for Scandal Overture and the two symphonies and now it’s the Medea suite.  The performances in this set are all with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, a decent enough band, but the symphonies are not well recorded, much too distant-sounding – Medea is a bit better.  But it’s basically the hall itself where they record which is just washy and you don’t get the orchestral detail you need, and it sounds like the band is down the hall.  Not my favorite kind of recording, as you know.  Marin Alsop is the conductor and she does a fine job.  She’s no Thomas Schippers with this music, though.  I’m guessing the first Barber piece I ever heard was the famous Adagio for Strings – it must have been – but once I became a fan, I bought every LP I could of his work – just my kind of composer.  He would have also made a fine film composer.  Oh, dear, it’s already after midnight, which is because I had a long telephonic conversation.  So, I’ll just move things right along because, as I’ve said before, once it’s after midnight, I’m gonna let it all hang out.

Yesterday was pretty okay. I got eight-and-a-half hours of good sleep, answered e-mails, and then went and did some banking, then picked up one package and came right home.  Once back home, I ordered food from Daughter’s Deli because Postmates sent me a 30% off offer that made it too appealing to not do.  I ordered the Papa Sandwich, basically the Langer’s number 12 – pastrami (extra lean), coleslaw, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on rye.  It arrived after about an hour and while it wasn’t hot, it was really good.  The nice thing about the sandwich is it isn’t overbearing or huge.  Probably six to eight ounces of pastrami, I’d say, but closer to six.  I ate it all up and was very happy. The closest calorie count for that size sandwich that I could find was about six hundred calories, so not terrible.  I’d recently gotten some saltwater taffy – very small wrapped pieces – so I had seven of those and they were really good, too.  Ah, the Adagio for Strings is now playing, certainly one of the most profoundly beautiful works ever written, filled with pain and beauty in equal measure.

After that, I did some work at the piano, got my first reaction to project one, which was very positive and included the words, “I love it,” so that made me very happy.  Grant Geissman stopped by and we had a nice chat, and then I did a few things on the computer, then finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched the little extra about the making of Shadow of a Doubt.  I’d seen it nine years ago when the DVD set came out, but it was fun to see it again because Hume Cronyn and Teresa Wright were in it.  I just can’t say enough about this film.  It’s just a masterpiece from start to finish.  Now playing – the Barber violin concerto.  This version isn’t going to give any of the better versions a run for their money and you can tell from the first bar that that’s going to be the case, and certainly not the glorious Isaac Stern version.  But it’s decent.  After that, I shaved, and then had my long telephonic conversation and then it was time to write these here notes whilst being in the Barber chair.

Today, I’ll be up by eight-thirty, and then I think I will try to find somewhere I can have a light breakfast, as this casting thing is now going on later than I was originally told.  I probably can’t stay for all of it, as I have the fourth set of liner notes to write for one of two titles announcing next week.  If I do have a light breakfast, then I’d probably just have a frozen dinner for a snack at some point.  After writing the liner notes and getting the track list ready, then I can watch, listen, and relax.

Tomorrow, I’ll be up by noon at the latest, will do a Zoom casting session at one, but again, I will have to leave after an hour or two because I must post relentlessly on the social media about our Kritzerland show, and, of course, get ready for said show, which I hope you’ll all watch live.  Then this coming week is very busy with the December Kritzerland show, choosing the final few songs and getting them to everyone, and getting tracks done, also starting the journey to getting charts done for project one, as we’re going to try and have tracks done for that as early as we can so there’ll be plenty of time to work with them, and I also have to start planning the shoot for Doug’s little playlet.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up by eight-thirty, perhaps have a light breakfast somewhere, have a casting session, hopefully pick up some packages, write liner notes, have a frozen dinner, then watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotton? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, still hoping and praying for light and sanity, and enjoying being in the Barber chair.

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