“Wanting You” by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II from The New Moon, 1935

Another MGM musical, pre-Freed Unit. They were such a handsome couple and sang like angels, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Who in their audience could have realized when watching such a mannered scene that they were in the middle of a chaotic on-again off-again love affair and that right after filming this number—that very night in fact when everyone had gone home—the two of them would be under that very tree having furious makeup sex?

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Thanks to fellow MacDonald-Eddy fan Sharon Rich (as related to her by Jeanette’s sister Blossom) for that lovely bit of info.


The Sage, Gateshead

The Sage houses two performance spaces—one seating 600, the other one seating 1,700—with impeccable acoustics. This impressive concert hall serves a city with a smaller population than, oh, Eugene, Oregon—you know, the corrupt and insane berg where well-known, well-respected Oxford-trained conductor Matthew Halls was so cavalierly fired. (See the Telegraph‘s 9 September 2017 article: “British Conductor Sacked by US Music Festival After ‘Innocent’ Joke with His African-American Friend was Labelled Racist“; then Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc post from 17 September 2017: “Oregon’s Stupid University is Seriously Damaged“; Drew McManus’s post from Adaptistration: “Are Things About to Go Sideways for the Oregon Bach Festival?“; and Bob Hicks’s post from Oregon Arts Watch: “BachFest: The $90,000 Solution“.)

Royal Northern Sinfonia

Why am I going on about bad music mojo in the middle of Oregon when this post is entitled “The Sage, Gateshead”? Because I came across this pic while the Halls story was breaking and it filled me with such a longing to be in a civilized place with a fine concert hall and honest beer. And I’ll tell you something, The Sage is going to be around long after the Oregon Bach Festival crumbles into dust. I’m clocking it.

Update: See my posting from 23 August 2018.

The Charm of Percy Grainger

“Country Gardens” is one of the few piano pieces I could play all the way through (clumsily, not like the fine player in this clip) so I have a special affection for Grainger’s arrangements and compositions, as well as an admiration for his drive to create a truly “English” school of music. (The drive, not the goal.) I also liked that he married his wife at the Hollywood Bowl after conducting a concert there in 1928.

But ever since music school I’ve also known about Grainger’s unusual sexual drive—his taste for Nordic blondes and being flagellated—plus the fact that in his twenties he was kept as a semi-willing love slave by a fortyish society dame (shades of Joan Crawford!)—and I can’t deny it: The fantasy of pleasuring, of possessing a boy like this, talented and handsome, is delicious.

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