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

God, I can’t tell you how miserable that berg (Eugene, Oregon) is for musicians—hell, 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.) I am never, never bringing a show to that city again.

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Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall, 11 June 1962, Directed by Joe Hamilton, Written by Mike Nichols

This nine-minute medley sung by Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett, called “History of Musical Comedy”, is a variety-show tour de force enough for the first six minutes; then at 6:00 it rises to high art in the most affecting soprano duet in the repertoire of American opera. Happy birthday, Mr B.

Julie and Carol at Caarnegie Hall 2.jpeg

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

Available on BBC Radio on-demand streaming for the next 30 days. And you know, it’s pretty good! Straightforwardly sung, acted and played; no John going meshugenah with the tempi like he did two weeks ago with the JWO. (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 astonishing foot-stomping in the audience that went on when my darling John stepped forward to take his bow at the end was started by fellow students of the ArtsEd chorus and not a biker gang.

“Changing My Tune” from The Shocking Miss Pilgrim by George & Ira Gershwin, Sung by Betty Grable

Castles were crumbling
And daydreams were tumbling
December was battling with June
But on this bright afternoon
Guess I’ll be changing my tune

We can thank composer/arranger Kay Swift, Gershwin’s secret lover, for making sure this song found its perfect setting in this 1947 20th Century Fox musical after Gershwin’s untimely death ten years earlier.