Haines Logo Text
Column Archive
February 27, 2021:

FIT AS A PFITZNER

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I must write these notes in a hurry, for she of the Evil Eye will be here both bright and early and early and bright and I cannot keep my usual late hours. And so, I am sitting here like so much fish, listening to Mr. Claude Debussy’s opera Pelleas et Melisande (Pelleas and Melisande) and the music is so Debussy and so beautiful and impressionistic and lush and haunting. I gather this is an opera you don’t really want to see, but to hear. I haven’t seen it, certainly, but hearing it is like eating a large hot fudge sundae. I love it already and I’m only on disc one of three. But it’s actually been a wonderful operatic day and evening in terms of the music. Prior to this I heard another Pfitzner opera called Das Christellflien, that I also fell in love with. As you may remember, I’d really enjoyed the very long Palestrina, but this one was so enchanting and delightful and a second cousin musically to Humperdinck’s Hansel Und Gretel – exactly that kind of music and style and the comparison made even more accurate by the fact that Helen Donath sung the lead in the recording I have – she’s on my favorite Hansel Und Gretel recording conducted by Kurt Eichhorn, who’s also the conductor of this. There are several really long and beautiful orchestral interludes, there’s spoken narration, and the sung bits are wonderful, as is the sound of the recording itself. I just adored it and it will be getting many repeated listenings. It’s funny that I hadn’t remembered how much I loved Pfitzner’s music, but I went back and looked, and I’d gotten a CPO box set of his orchestral works and loved every minute of it. I now must have all Pfitzner’s operas. And I finished Alexander von Zemlinky’s Der Traumgorge, which I also found very appealing. Have I mentioned that this Debussy opera is lush and haunting and impressionistic and beautiful? It is, truly, and I can’t imagine a better recording – this one is von Karajan and Frederica von Stade. Is this Debussy’s only opera? I must check. And I still have three more operas to get through over the weekend.

Yesterday was an okay day, mostly. I certainly was in bed for eight hours, but I probably only slept for seven. Once up, I talked to my publisher and they’re now ready to receive everything from us, which probably won’t happen for another week. Then I did some work on the computer, went and picked up some packages and an important envelope, stopped at Gelson’s and picked up a chicken Caesar salad for food, and then came home.

I ate the salad all up and it was excellent. After that, I spent the rest of the day proofing and I finished up doing so. Most of the things I found were little typos, missing quote marks, only a couple of bad breaks and widows and orphans, but mostly I made a few tiny cuts where I used “he said” too many times on a page, that kind of thing. So, hopefully tomorrow Grant can enter these and that will be that. After that, I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on Blu and Ray entitled Show and Boat. I’m a fan of the 1936 version and have never really cared for this later version. But because this new transfer is absolutely stellar, I did enjoy it more than I ever have. The color pops right off the screen and it’s very sharp. This is kind of the least faithful version to the original show. The 1936 certainly takes liberties, but it’s closer than this thing, which telescopes the events into a decade rather than four. It also makes Julie much more prominent. Kathryn Grayson has always been an enigma to me. She has the weirdest soprano voice I’ve ever heard, and I find it completely unpleasant to listen to. Her acting is okay. Howard Keel is fine, and Ava whispers a lot. George Sidney’s direction is excellent, and the Gower and Marge numbers are fine. Lot of music is missing, as is the case with the 1936, but the Conrad Salinger orchestrations are nice. But mostly it just looks incredible and if you love the look of MGM Technicolor films of that era, it’s kind of a must-have.

After that, I went and put gas in the motor car – it’s up to almost four dollars a gallon here and that is just reprehensible and all on our governor, who should be ashamed of himself. He had any honor, he would do something about it, but he never has, and he never will. After that, I stopped at K’s Donuts and got a chocolate chip muffin, which I came home and ate all up and it was very good.

Then I relaxed and listened to music, ran the dishwasher, and reorganized the opera shelves. I’m keeping all the operas together for easy finding, in the cupboards above where the computer is. I did have to move the opera videos to another cupboard, but those are all together, too.

Tomorrow, I’ll be up by eight-thirty and out of the house by 9:00. I’ll go somewhere to have a light breakfast and I’ll bring the book with me so I can look at my corrections and skim through it again. I should be able to kill at least ninety minutes doing that. I’ll hopefully pick up some packages and another important envelope, then I’ll come home. I have a little telephonic work session with Richard Allen to go over three or four songs for the Kritzerland show, so he can finish making the tracks. Trying to get all that done by Monday or Tuesday, as I won’t have any time for it next week due to project two. After that, I have some writing to do, I’m hoping that the two new releases get done so I can announce them Sunday at midnight, and then I can watch, listen, and relax.

Tomorrow, I’m hoping Grant can do the book corrections so that his work is finished. And then we have a meet and greet for project two, which should be fun. Then on Monday we begin our long week of project two, which goes through next Sunday.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up by eight-thirty, have a light breakfast, skim through the book again, hopefully pick up packages, have a brief work session, write, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your all-time favorite MGM musicals? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to be discovering the marvelous operas of Pfitzner, who I find a perfect fit for my musical tastes or, as I like to put it, fit as a Pfitzner.

Search BK's Notes Archive:
 
© 2001 - 2021 by Bruce Kimmel. All Rights Reserved