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.
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.
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.
From the Young People’s Concerts (which I remember!):”Overtures and Preludes” 22 October 22 1960. You can’t get any better than this.
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?
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.
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.
I prefer listening to the second movement but the entire piece is worthwhile. Yes, that Paul McCartney.
The smaller (50 players) BBC Concert Orchestra did a very nice job on this 2014 album of some of Elgar’s lesser-known works; I particularly like this short sweet quiet piece. And there’s my lovely lad as well.