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February 9, 2021:

TICKLED PINK

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, color me tickled pink. Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, color me tickled pink because I have just finished listening to a gloriously glorious opera by one of my all-time favorite American composers, Mr. Norman Dello Joio. In the Bay Cities days, we issued several wonderful Dello Joio pieces, and, of course, we have a wonderful Dello Joio CD on Kritzerland. My introduction to his music happened in the late 1960s, when I got The Triumph of Saint Joan symphony on Columbia Records, an older recording in monophonic sound, conducted by Robert Whitney. I fell in love with it and Dello Joio’s music. I bought every LP I could find back then, and then in the CD days, bought up every release of his music, of which there was not a lot until Bay Cities began doing that kind of stuff. Then suddenly everyone was seemingly issuing a Dello Joio disc of some sort. He adapted his music from that symphony, itself adapted from an opera he wrote in 1950, for a Martha Graham ballet – that version was called Sapphic Dances. But in 1956, he wrote an entirely new opera about Joan of Arc for NBC Opera Theater, and then he made a few changes to it and put it in one act consisting of two scenes, and that premiered at the New York City Opera in 1959, with Julius Rudel conducting. And four years ago, a group called Boston Modern Orchestra Project did a one-night only concert staging of it, then recorded it a few days later. And I knew nothing about it until three days ago, when somehow it showed up on Amazon after I’d purchased something else. Well, I snapped it up instantly and it arrived yesterday and for the past hour that’s what I listened to and it is magnificently magnificent and I am tickled pink to have heard it, which is better than being tickled brown let me tell you. It is so beautiful musically – lyrical, touching, completely tonal and completely Dello Joio. The performances are all fine and the orchestra is fantastic and I have to hand it to whoever produced the CD – the sound is exceptional. And it’s a hybrid SACD, so can be played that way or as a regular CD. This one goes right to the top of the list of great American operas, at least for me, right up there with Robert Ward’s The Crucible. The neglect of Dello Joio is criminal. He is completely forgotten today, which is a damn shame and makes me want to eat the head of a chicken.

Before that, I heard a wonderful CD by Riccardo Zandonai, the composer I just discovered from his opera Francesca di Rimini. This time it was a violin concerto, which I found quite delightful, and its companion piece is even better. And before that, it was Der Prozess (The Trial) by Gottfried Von Einem, a composer I’m fond of. I’d heard this a couple of years ago and hadn’t loved it, but that CD was taken from an ancient radio broadcast and sounded like junk. I had no idea a modern stereo recording existed, but it does and I’ve heard it and it’s like listening to a whole different thing and I really enjoyed it. His style for The Trial is not what you’d expect, either – it’s tuneful rather than astringent or atonal, which you’d think would suit the story more. But it works in its way. It’s too bad none of the Entartete boys took a shot at it, or even Kurt Weill. So, that was the music o’ the night. But oh, that Dello Joio had me tickled pink.

Yesterday wasn’t so bad. I got almost eight hours of sleep, answered e-mails, had a CD pick-up, and then I ordered Japanese food from the jernt that’s right next to K’s Donuts. I got teriyaki chicken, rice, and tempura, and it also came with a salad and slaw. While waiting for that to arrive, I ran the five things I was unsure of in terms of fixes from page 109 to the end, and we figured out which to keep as is and which to change.

Food arrived and I ate it, but I have to say it wasn’t great and, in fact, I have said it. Then I did some work on the computer, posted about project one aka Tonight’s the Night, and once again the Facebook algorithms made sure that few people saw it. You can’t fight them damn algorithms and I find it both nauseating and nauseating. Then I went to the mail place and picked up some packages, including two screeners – The United States vs. Billie Holiday, which I’d started to watch via streaming and turned off because I didn’t care for its script at all. But maybe I’ll finish it now that I can sit on the couch like so much fish and watch. The other film has gotten raves, which means I’ll probably hate it and it really does sound like something I won’t like, Minari.

Then I began listening to stuff and I did some more stuff on the computer whilst doing so and that was my entire evening.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll make another post about project one aka Tonight’s the Night, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll eat – I might try another Japanese jernt because I do like that teriyaki chicken and tempura thing and it’s calorie-friendly – there are plenty of jernts around here of the Japanese variety – then we’ll do a test on Zoom to make sure everything is going to work for our cast partay after the premiere performance of project one aka Tonight’s the Night. Then, at some point, I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

Tomorrow is, of course, the world premiere performance of project one aka Tonight’s the Night. All of us who worked on it are very excited about unveiling it for public consumption. Again, I’d really appreciate it if many of you dear readers did attend the premiere – I know some on the East Coast may wait until Friday or Sunday, but I’d really like a nice-sized audience for it and it would be fun to have you at the partay. I shall spend the day in anxious excitement right up until the show starts at six o’clock PST/9:00 EST on the Tube of You. In tomorrow’s notes, I’ll have the direct link so you can just click on it. The partay invite will be in the comments on YouTube. I’m not sure how that will work, whether you can just click on it there or if you somehow have to cut and paste it somewhere. We may do that test, too. The rest of the week is more of the same, finalizing the songs for the March Kritzerland, and our final two performances of project one aka Tonight’s the Night. And on Friday, we begin casting project two.

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, post about project one aka Tonight’s the Night, hopefully pick up packages, eat, do a Zoom test, then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What tickles you pink or any other color. What things make you giddy and happy? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, tickled pink that I was tickled pink, thanks to the artistry and music of Mr. Norman Dello Joio.

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