Geraldo Among the Filipinos, 1963

God, Danny Sibolboro was such a weenie. Taken December 1963 at one of the many, many dances of the Moveable Filipino Club, Minneapolis. Geraldo was playing. Filipinos love Geraldo.

Cantara Dancing with Danny Sibolboro

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The Earworm That is Knightsbridge, Conducted by John Wilson

You’ve heard this piece a lot if you, like me, have regularly tuned in to the BBC over the years. (It was the signature song for the twice-a-day radio program Music While You Work during World War 2: my mother’s time.) This is a sprightly “march” with a grand ending that doesn’t sound deserved—which is why I can’t get it out of my head—unless you know that this is actually the final movement of an entire 17-minute suite.

Performed by the BBC Symphony for the program “British Light Music” at the 2500-seat Royal Festival Hall in London, 2011.

I thoroughly enjoy watching John conduct the works of Eric Coates as he seems to have taken a personal delight in this particular composer—check out the very grand “Dambusters” below (starting at 6:05; endearing look of satisfaction unclouded by thought at 9:10).

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The Death Star and Dambusters Played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Conducted by John Wilson

A grand movie score by the prolific Eric Coates, very inspiring and very English. This is the kind of piece that cues you to proudly fly the Union Jack, which obviously some chap did, right in the middle of the Royal Albert Hall. I’m guessing this is some sort of tradition. The 2007 BBC Proms included the famous climactic shots from The Dambusters—you know, the movie George Lucas ripped off when he did Star Wars. Not the Death Star down there, though, it’s the Eder Dam in the heart of Nazi Germany (6:05).

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The Mighty Wurlitzer at the Castro Theatre, San Francisco

San Francisco, open your Golden Gate
You’ll let no stranger wait outside your door
San Francisco, here is your wanderin’ one
Saying I’ll wander no more

The Castro Theatre was our neighborhood picture palace back in San Francisco. Went to dozens of movies there, sometimes with Mr Grumble (this is when he still could see), sometimes with the Bograt, sometimes with both: King Kong, Casablanca, The Garden of Allah, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, that movie Steve’s son was in called Brokeback Mountain, etc etc etc. But the organ was always the best part.

Here’s David Hagerty between evening shows giving the best of The Mighty Wurlitzer and ending (starting at 8:17), as he always does at every performance, with an inspiring rendition of the official anthem of my spiritual birthplace, “San Francisco” (Bronislaw Kaper and Walter Jurmann, lyrics by Gus Kahn, 1936).

Matthew Halls Still Fired From Oregon Bach Festival

NPR’s music critic Tom Manoff had a few choice observations in this week’s Oregon Arts Watch having to do with the firing one year ago of respected English conductor Matthew Halls : “Oregon Bach Festival: Lacking a Coherent Artistic Vision, Venerable Festival Flounders“. I think the title of this piece says it all.

See my blog posting from 25 September 2017.

Matthew Halls

I can’t sufficiently convey to you how miserable that hippie graveyard (Eugene, Oregon) is for musicians—in fact for artists of all types. I ran a cabaret show there several years ago and the arts infrastructure was non-existent then as it is now—not to mention they still lack an acoustically decent concert hall. And the pretension! And the hypocrisy! And the narrow-mindedness! And—gasp—the racism! (Yes, there’s still plenty of it there. Don’t get me started. Two stores refused to serve me because of my race.) I am never, never bringing a show to that city again.

The Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein, Conducted by Bernstein, Played by the NY Philharmonic, 8 Jan 1961

On a happier note: Here’s “Overtures and Preludes”, episode 1 of season 4 of the Young People’s Concerts (which I remember watching new!). This one particular playing—at this particular time and place—with this particular freshness and energy—is my standard against which all other Candide Overtures that ever were or ever will be are judged.

Bernstein’s On the Town, Performed at the BBC Proms by the LSO, Conducted by John Wilson

The on-demand streamcast (starting tonight commemorating Bernstein’s 100th birthday and continuing through 24 September) on BBC3 was actually pretty good—straightforwardly sung, acted and played; no John going meshugenah with the tempi like he did two weeks ago with his own orchestra’s “concert” version of West Side Story. (In contrast, you do not mess around with the London Symphony Orchestra.) And is that the venerable UK-based American actor Kerry Shale doing the narrating?

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As it was in West Side Story two weeks ago, I am theorizing that the terrifying foot-stomping in the audience that occurred when my bonny John stepped forward to take his bow at the end was started by fellow classmates of the youth chorus onstage and not a biker gang.