Thursday, February 22, 2007

And your little dog, too!

In 1600, Emilio de' Cavalieri wrote a proto-opera called Representation of the Soul and the Body. About 90 seconds into the overture is --- very distinctly --- a section of melody and harmony from "If I Only Had a Brain." Did Harold Arlen do some unusual research as he wrote the score for The Wizard of Oz?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Glorious glitz

I saw the new Broadway production of A Chorus Line last week. All my defenses came down, and I was a Midwestern kid again. I cheered like a tourist and cried like a baby. That kind of reaction to a show good healing for the soul, once in a great while! [Top photo is dear ol' Keith Haring's Chorus Line, of course.]

Monday, February 12, 2007

Making Up for Lost Time

Delighted that Bob Dylan won two Grammys last night (Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance, "Someday Baby"; Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album, "Modern Times"). Bobby was ignored by the Grammys for long enough, so it's good to see them adoring him lately.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Foreign influence

A minute ago Queen's song "I Go Crazy" (the non-album B-side to "Radio Ga Ga") came up randomly on my RealPlayer. Before I recognized the hook, I thought for a second that I was listening to a Van Halen song. It occurred to me that "I Go Crazy" was written and recorded in early '84, not too long after Brian May worked with Eddie Van Halen on the Starfleet Project album. Maybe I'm not imagining that stylistic influence after all.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Billy Strayhorn's haunting song Lush Life pairs the most exquisite of melodies with the most intricate of poems. Here's the last verse:

I'll forget you, I will, and yet you are still

Burning inside my brain.

Romance is mush, stifling those who strive;

I'll lead a lush life in some small dive.

And there I'll sit while I rot with the rest

Of those whose lives are lonely too.

And I just learned that Strayhorn wrote the music and lyrics to that song when he was only SIXTEEN!!

Friday, February 2, 2007

The Mad-Max Interrogation System

Overheard recently, a proposal for a foolproof torture room:

"The CIA should take their terror suspects to a remote location, strap them to a bed, and force them to listen to Madonna CDs and Max Reger, non-stop. They'd crack in no time."

It's a bit redundant, considering that Max Reger's music is, by definition, non-stop. Madonna won't quit either. I know I'd talk.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Addio, Gian Carlo

RIP, Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007), Italian-born innovator of American opera. At long last he joins husband and musical collaborator Samuel Barber [lower photo], who has been waiting for him in that heavenly Green Room since 1981.