You all remember the flap behind this. But that kiss at the Tonys (starts at :40) was awfully convincing. Hey, my hormones percolated…
…But to get on with this posting. One of the nominees at the 64th Tony Awards was the revival of Promises, Promises with a score by Burt Bachrach, including some of his interpolated standards (like “A House is Not a Home” and “I Say a Little Prayer”, neither of which were in the original production), so I’m thinking that this bootleg vidcomp from an actual performance would be a good introduction to the work of this (as my beloved John Wilson, Conductor might deem him) “top-drawer American tunesmith”. The connection to my posting on Milhaud above? Bachrach was a student of Darius Milhaud, and you can hear what he retained from the modernist master in his distinctive, almost Latin, rhythms—think of “Always Something There to Remind Me” or “Twenty-four Hours from Tulsa”.
Here’s Sean Hayes singing the title song at 23:18, and a surprisingly good job he does too. No Jerry Ohrbach, but the kid’s got pipes.
“Andre was one of the most talented musicians I have known. The trouble is, he was too easily satisfied. He would work with us on a piece and we’d get to a certain point and give a really good performance. Then we’d come back to do it again and he was not interested in going any further. Among conductors, the great ones are always dissatisfied, always trying to go beyond. Andre, once he had done a piece, he had done it. That, for me, explains his decline. He had nothing to drive him on, so he became weary and limp.” ~Anonymous Musician
This is what a string composition written by a loving colleague with a background in film music sounds like.
I have a lot of toasty warm affection for this underrated movie (which I saw second-run in Minneapolis the summer before I started music school), not least because of Hungarian-born Miklos Rozsa‘s score, which he based on his Violin Concerto op. 24, and on which I’ve based my stroke story, The Rosza Concerto.
Robert Stephens as the great detective and Genevieve Page as his latest client. Yes, that’s Sherlock Holmes embracing a beautiful, nude, warm and willing woman while heroically subduing his id.
This is Austrian-born Wilder and Romanian-born Diamond at their best, examining—through impish Hollywood eyes, of course—that weird combination of emotional reticence and superciliousness that makes English men just sooo attractive. Their great detective, however, turns out in the end (not to give anything away) to be a lonely man, unsophisticated, profoundly vulnerable, and something of a loser. Stephens’s highly original performance makes his my favorite Holmes of all.
Here’s the trailer from the latest theatrical re-release of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. It’s also now on Amazon Prime in entirety.
After he finishes his JWO At the Movies gig touring the isle with his eponymous orchestra, cracking waaay off-the-beam jokes between numbers about sexual mores in Now, Voyager (Glasgow’s The Herald deems his whippersnapper remarks “camp wit”!) and playing Fred Astaire’s ballet number from The Band Wagon in order to pay tribute to Gene Kelly(!), my bonny gets back to business in Salford performing and recording a program of Eric Coates: The Merrymakers Overture; The Jester at the Wedding Suite, “Dancing Night”; Ballad for Strings; “I Heard You Singing” from 2 Symphonic Rhapsodies; and for the last number, London Everyday Suite (and you know what that means! It means “Knightsbridge”!! That farkochta earworm I can’t get out of my head!!!) Now for goodness’ sakes John, just play the music and ditch the fatuous pronouncements and the wisecracking. You’re at your best when you’re a musician and not some cheap showman.
At his best: John conducting the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 2 (“London”), Birmingham, 2014.
Margaret Lockwood is a dying pianist, Stewart Granger is an RAF pilot going blind in this wartime romance from Gainsborough Pictures.
Legendary pianist, anti-fascist activist and muse to Arnold Bax, Ralph Vaughan Williams and others Harriet Cohen at the piano here. “Cornish Rhapsody” was written by Hubert Bath (who also wrote, for all you English sports fans, “Out of the Blue” for the BBC5 Sports Report).
Between 1910 and 1920 Bax wrote a large amount of music, including the symphonic poem Tintagel, his best-known work. During this period he formed a lifelong association with the legendary pianist Harriet Cohen—at first an affair, then a friendship and, always, a close professional relationship. In the 1920s he began the series of seven symphonies which form the heart of his orchestral output, and in 1942 was appointed Master of the King’s Music.
My beloved John Wilson conducted this in Sydney in 2016.
Butterworth based “The Banks of Green Willow” on two folk song melodies that he made note of in 1907, including “Green Bushes”. “Green Bushes” was a common tune, and there are uses of it in works by Ralph Vaughan Williams (Folk Song Suite, Movement 2) and Percy Grainger (“Passacaglia: Green Bushes” and “The Lost Lady Found”).
George Butterworth, age 31, was killed on 5 August 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. He was was a Lieutenant in the Durham Light Infantry.
Norman Del Mar was a British horn player/conductor who taught conducting at the Royal College of Music; one of his notable students was violist/conductor Neil Thomson (b 1966) who in his own turn taught conducting at the College. My bonny John was one of his students.