Just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading blogs. Here’s some of what I gleaned in the past couple of weeks:
– David Raksin, Jerry Goldsmith, and Elmer Bernstein, three of the most important film-music composers of the twentieth century, all died recently. I marked their passing by writing a piece that will run in The Wall Street Journal as soon as a hole opens up. In the meantime, Alex Ross posted thoughtful comments on their deaths, which can be found here, here, here, and here. I especially like this one:
“Sounds like a film score” is the put-down of choice for tonal orchestral music. “Serious” composers are supposed to suffer neglect in their lifetimes, with the gratitude of posterity their invisible reward. The my-time-will-come mindset was especially widespread in the twentieth century, with composers believing that if they invented a new sound or came up with a “big idea” they would win their place in history. The result was a great deal of superficially difficult, emotionally disposable music, whose ultimate historical value is now very much in question. By contrast, it seems certain that in a hundred years people will still be talking about Bernard Herrmann’s Vertigo, Goldsmith’s Chinatown, Raksin’s Laura. They have gone down in history, because they found a way to make their music matter.
I like what I said, but I wish I’d said that, too.
From the start, Morris has gone in for nonconformity when it comes to the bodies he chooses to animate his work. Instead of selecting for uniformity and conventional notions of a physical ideal, he has regularly assembled a miniature motley society of the small, the stocky, the lushly ample, the tall-and-skinny beanpole type, the delicate, the blunt, and, yes, a few whose ballet teachers may have had high hopes of placing in one of those finalists-only classical companies that go by their initials. The flat-footed and those whom the gods of turn-out have not favored have their place with Morris, as do the fresh and frank American girl and the sultry glamour girl (Betty and Veronica, if you will), the beach hero and the fellow into whose face the beach hero kicks the sand. And of course the company has always been multi-ethnic–so thoroughly so that, simply by appearing, it defies tokenism, demonstrating that there are an infinite number of ways to be Caucasian, black, Asian, or a mix thereof….
– Speaking of Mark Morris, guess who has a stalker? Me! If only I knew what she looked like….
– A reader sent me a link to a cool on-line short story which is sort of about one of my
all-time favorite actors:
That night I dream about Robert Mitchum. I’m in the middle of the street. Old Tucson or something. And he’s walking toward me obscured by this swirling sand. He’s also singing. I can make out the words to “Thunder Road.” I can see the black cowboy boots but I can’t quite make out his bohunky face. He’s maybe twenty yards away before the wind begins to die down. And then I see him. It’s Mitchum all right, and he’s still singing. I can’t move. My feet won’t obey my brain. I want to run. Because Mitchum is wearing a dress. One of those Gunsmoke Miss Kitty numbers. Ostrich plumes and fishnets. Ultima II Sexxxy Red lipstick on his thick lips. He stops in front of me. A spaghetti western moment. And then he says, “Pucker up.”…
– Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt on Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, in TLS:
Sometimes it seems as though I can never get away from him: “Tell me, you are a Canadian pianist, known as a Bach specialist, and winner of the international piano competition held in his memory