Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish, listening to Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, with Steuart Bedford conducting. I enjoyed Britten’s own performance but was not enamored of the mono sound, which was, even for 1954, not well done. This recording is in stereo (the second stereo recording, preceded by Colin Davis’s version, which I’d like to hear). This recording, which has been reissued on Naxos (I’d stayed far away because I’m no fan of Naxos, but this wasn’t on Naxos originally – it was a Collins Classics release), is pretty great. The cast is terrific, and the orchestrations really shine in stereo and the recording itself is very well done. It’s almost like hearing a new work. Prior to that, I’d heard the double bill of Pagliacci and Cavalleria Rusticana with Placido Domingo, conducted by Georges Pretre. I’ve heard no other version, but I thought this one was very well done, in excellent sound. Both operas have lots of wonderful moments and I found the CD enjoyable. Prior to that, it was Kurt Weill’s Der Silbersee – very surprised there are so few recordings of it. This one, on RCA, is fantastic and I really loved every minute of it. I saw this in LA with Joel Grey, directed by Hal Prince and really liked it a lot, but I gather there was a lot of futzing around with that version. This is the original and it’s great and filled with wonderful orchestral passages, and it’s brilliantly recorded in crystal clear sound. Five stars, baby, five stars. Prior to that it was another great CD in the Decca Entartete series, this one called Afrika Songs, by a composer named Wilhelm Grosz. I fell in love with this instantly. The composer is quite the tunesmith and I just loved the sound of it. He also wrote several hit songs that are also included here, including Red Sails in the Sunset and Harbour Lights. Instantly one of my favorites in the series. Prior to that it was the Mass by Alfredo Catalani, the composer of the opera, La Wally, which I like very much. This was written when he was a mere eighteen-year-old and it’s really pretty good – very pretty melodies throughout, and very self-assured. And I think those complete my musical meanderings of yesterday.
Yesterday was fine in an okay sort of way. I got a bit over seven hours of sleep, answered e-mails, did a few things on the computer, and had an unexpected call from Muse Margaret. I thought maybe something about the book was bothering her, but no, she called just to tell me she thought it’s one of the best things I’ve done and that she loves the lead character, so that was so nice to hear. Right after that, I went and picked up the Xerox copy of the book. I’d asked for double-sided because it’s half the paper, but the gal who took my order really was either new or just not so hot at her job, so it was single-sided and 272 pages long. But they only charged me the lower price, so in the end it doesn’t matter. Then I picked up some packages, then tried to go to the Studio City branch of my bank, but there was a line out the door and you couldn’t even get near the ATM. So, I went to the Sherman Oaks branch to use that ATM and it turns out the branch was open. There was a line there, too, which is just absurd, so it took about twenty minutes to get to a teller. Once with the teller, I was out in thirty seconds.
Then I came home and ordered from the California Chicken Café, just the one breast/one wing thing and my chicken pasta salad. That arrived thirty minutes later, and it was very good. I got part one of a major miracle, so that was great, and I began proofing the book. I did the first ten pages, going slowly. Only found a few things so far, but two of them were whoppers, maybe Big Whoppers. Then I sat on my couch like so much fish.
Last night, I watched the new Blu and Ray of The Court Jester, from a 4K transfer done a few years ago. The film, as you know, is a favorite – saw it many times back in 1956, learned most of it by heart, and loved it hugely. It’s Danny Kaye’s finest hour and is filled with classic comedy scenes, one after another. From “Get it, got it, good” to the vessel with the pestle, it’s high hilarity done to a fare thee well by Kaye, Basil Rathbone, Glynis Johns, Angela Lansbury, Cecil Parker, and Mildred Natwick (as she of the Evil Eye). It’s genius. Happy to say the new transfer has perfect color, and while it doesn’t quite achieve the same VistaVision quality as The Ten Commandments and White Christmas, it’s really excellent.
After that, I went to Gelson’s and got food for the next few days, then came right back home and began listening to music. I bought some low-cal vanilla ice cream and some hot fudge, too, so I had myself a little homemade hot fudge sundae that was actually quite good. The rest you know and you know the rest.
Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, but not too late, and I’ll announce the show dates and everything on Facebook. The press release is going out in the morning so I’m hoping that will hit very soon. And here is that press release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Kritzerland presents Tonight’s the Night, an original streaming musical written specifically for the online world in which we’re all living. What happens when two people, a former couple, haven’t seen each other in twenty years – he finds her on Facebook, contacts her, and suggests they meet up on Zoom. They do, and what follows is funny, touching, and tuneful, as the navigate their way through the thickets of their past relationship, which he remembers one way and she remembers quite differently. Written and Directed by Bruce Kimmel, Tonight’s the Night stars Eric Petersen (Broadway: School of Rock, Escape to Margaritaville, Peter and the Starcatcher, Shrek TV: Kevin Can F**k Himself) and Hartley Powers (Stage: The Man Who Came to Dinner, A Carol Christmas, Avenue Q Film: Mr. Saturday Night, Me Myself and I.) Music and Lyrics are by Bruce Kimmel, Musical Direction and Orchestrations are by Richard Allen. Editor is Marshall Harvey (The ‘Burbs, Small Soldiers, Looney Tunes: Back in Action).
Tonight’s the Night, an original streaming musical, will air for three performances only. Premiere performance February 10 at 6:00 PST/9:00 EST. There will be a cast party afterwards and all viewers are invited. Second performance will be Friday February 12 at 6:00 PST/9:00 EST, and the final performance will be on Valentine’s Day, Sunday February 14 at 5:00 PST/8:00 EST. Performances are free, but it’s a benefit for the Group Rep and donations will be gratefully accepted.
Isn’t that a lovelier than lovely press release? I’ll continue to proof the book, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll make food here, and then I’ll watch, listen, and relax.
The rest of the week is more of the same, but mostly proofing and finishing planning the Kritzerland show.
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, proof, hopefully pick up packages, eat, proof, plan Kritzerland, 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 reader 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, happy to have seen a splendid new Blu-ray of The Court Jester – Get it? Got it. Good.