Saturday, August 29, 2015

Untitled Play - Scene 5 Part 2 - First Draft

(As Uncle and Cousin 2 pull out of hug, Uncle notices the outline of a tattoo on his daughter's arm. He lifts up her sleeve to see a tattoo on her arm in Hebrew letters reading 'Zion' or 'Tzeeyon' as it would be pronounced in Hebrew.)

Uncle: (shocked but taking it in stride) Well,... if you have to get a tattoo I'm glad it's that.

Aunt: What?!?

Mom: A tattoo?!??

Son 2: (getting up to look) Ooh! Let me see!

Son 1: (staying put) This I gotta see.

Uncle: Well, the lettering is very nice.

(Son 2 has gone over to Cousin 2 and lifts her sleeve up to see 'Zion' tattooed in Hebrew letters on her arm.)

Son 2: How about that? The first member of our family with enough balls to get a tattoo, and what the fuck does she get? A tattoo that says 'Zion' on it.

Mom: Oh that's not that bad!

Son 2: You might as well have gotten one that says "I still think I'm at Jewish Summer Camp!"

Cousin 2: You wish you had a tattoo this nice.

Son 2: I wish I had a tattoo at all. But if I got one Lord Dybbuk (Demon) over there (point to Dad) would disinherit me.

Aunt: (with anxiety) Can you blame him? Now your cousin won't be able to be buried in a Jewish cemetery!

Son 1: It won't be a problem. She's living in Israel. Nobody's Jewish there!

Aunt: What does that even mean?

Son 1: Come on, you lived in Israel. In Tel Aviv, Yom Kippur (pronounce it 'Yome KeepPOOR') is just another beach day.

Dad: (to Cousin 2) Well I know this is none of my business but I'm terribly disappointed in you.

Son 2: (with volatility) What's there to be disappointed about? It's her body!

Dad: (responding in kind) Because it's a 'fuck you' to society.

(simultaneously) 

Son 1: (amused) How is that a fuck you to society? - Son 2: (still agitated) Who cares what society thinks?

Dad: There are rules about living in a society, it doesn't matter what they are, but if you're grateful for it, you'll follow them.

Son 2: Why should I ever be grateful for living in this society?

Dad: Because it gave you everything!

Son 1: What did it give me?

Dad: Even if it didn't give you as much, it gave you plenty!

Son 1: So why should I be satisfied that it gives me less than him?

Dad: You don't have the right to question it! Once you start picking at one thread the whole thing comes undone!

Son 2: I don't understand this constant shmegegging (blowing hot air) about tattoos and piercings.

Dad: And you never would! You don't care what it took for the rest of us to get a job! You never had to make a good impression on anybody in your whole life!

Son 1: And you've never made a good impression on anybody in your whole life.

Dad: And either of you have?

Son 2: (pointedly) And from where were we going to learn how?

Dad: Well if you don't think you could learn from me, then learn from your Zaydie. Look at him! He barely escaped the Nazis with me and my sister in his arms for enough time to take us to be hidden in a convent and hearing the machine gun fire that killed his mother and mine!

Son 1: (Over this) We know the story!

Mom: Sha! (banging the table) (both sons are so stunned by their mother's outburst that they keep silent) 

Dad: And then captured in the next town over and taken to Auschwitz where he could have been shot or gassed at any moment and a tattoo burned into his arm - every day hearing the screams of Jews as they're being killed and watching the agony of the ones dying from sickness! This man, this incredibly overworked, stressed out, cruel man, managed to get out of Poland just before Stalin came back, barely a hundred pounds with a dead wife and daughter that died of typhus only a few days after we were reunited and he was the only person anyone knew who had both children survive, and then had a living twelve year old son who thought he was Catholic to Bar Mitzvah that he hadn't seen in six years and who barely remembered how to be Jewish and still managed to find himself a new wife and have a baby who was the first Jewish baby ever born in Krakow after the war, and not only did his little heishkeh (shack) of a Hampden supermarket put his sons through college and graduate school and medical school, but he ensured that even if I turned out to be a gut far gornisht (good for nothing) like the two of you are turning into, the two of you would still have enough money to do all the things he never could! (pause, tears in eyes, stand up) And look at him now. He barely remembers how to talk anymore. Did you hear what happened over last summer while you were too busy drinking your father's money in New York and we were visiting you in the hospital after you nearly killed yourself again? Your Bubbie had just had her third stroke and was aphasic. She kept calling us: "You gotta come over here! You gotta come over here!" "What's wrong?" "Somebody stole the Challahs." (sabbath bread) We figured this could wait but she kept calling and calling and calling. So I went over and sure enough the challahs were in the cabinet over the stove. And then I ask, 'Where's Dad?' and she said 'oh, he went to visit his mother.' We searched for him all night long. We only found him the next morning when the police called and said they heard about a little man wandering around the drug corners in Lower Park Heights who spoke nothing but Yiddish.

(five second pause...)

Son 2: Yes Tateh, and as we're arguing about this Mel Gibson's getting ready to break down your door in a motorcycle pogrom with his band of tattooed nightriders.

Uncle: (almost shouting) How can you have turned into an adult who shows contempt for everything we ever taught you?

Son 2: (preemptively taking offense, exploding, and getting up to walk to the door) Because you all don't respect anything I value, so why the hell should I respect anything you do? I'm leaving!

Son 1: (almost laughing) With what car?

Son 2: I'll call somebody to pick me up.

Mom: You're staying here.

Son 2: You don't get to tell me what to do.

Mom: We paid for all your school and pay half your rent and ask for nothing except that you spend holidays with us. You weren't here for Thanksgiving but now you're here for Thanksgiving Shabbos and you're going to stay. (said with finality)

Son 2: Can I at least go to my room for a little?

Mom: No. Sit down.

(Son 2 sits back down... another five second pause) 

Cousin 1: But Mel Gibson seems like such a nice guy!

Son 1: There's no way.

Mom: No she's right. He's always talked about as a great guy who doesn't buy into the Hollywood culture.

Son 1: Give him ten years, they're always the biggest creeps of all!

Cousin 2: But he's so beautiful! What makes you think you know him so well?

Son 1: Because he's in Hollywood! Everybody there's a creep.

Cousin 1: Not everybody in Hollywood's a creep, I've got friends who act down in California. They say that some stars are very nice.

Son 1: Oh really? Well have you met Mel?

Cousin 1: Yes actually. He came to Harvard for class day and signed my yearbook.

Son 1: (annoyed by the mention of her privilege) Lovely. Did he make a pass at you?

Cousin 1: No, he actually gave a very moving speech about the values his father taught him.

Son 1: Such as?...

Cousin 1: The importance of family, the importance of God, the importance of community, the importance of everything he ever learned from his father.

(As this happens, Uncle is clearly on the verge of breaking down in tears, he gets up and leaves the room.)

Son 2: Oh, so he gets to leave the room.

Aunt: (covering for him) His contacts don't fit right, we have an appointment with the eye doctor next week.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

YouTube Library of Examples of Great Conducting Part 1 - Stand By For Added Commentary

Everybody born pre-1900, though I'm sure I've forgotten a few from the 1890's not listed in Arthur Bloomfield's very interesting "More Than The Notes." hopefully I'll get around to conductors born post-1900 as well and even have a similar series of posts for great pianists and violinists. Everything here is good, but the star system is for just how extraordinary it is. If something is given five stars, it means that even if you knew the work well, you couldn't even imagine a more characterful performance. I could explain why, each clip is what it is, but that would literally take weeks to write up. Instead I'll settle for making paragraph long synopses of each performer and what particularly makes them extraordinary. If any of the links don't work, let me know (yeah... like that'll happen...) and I'll substitute. Also, when listening to YouTube, always listen with headphones. Almost any computer speaker can't possibly take in the full dynamic range.

Artur Nikisch
** Beethoven Symphony no. 5

Robert Kajanus:
**** Sibelius Symphony no. 2,
**** Sibelius Symphony no. 1

Karl Muck: Parsifal

** Gabriel Pierne: Giration

** Max Fiedler: Brahms Symphony no. 2

Felix Weingartner
*** Mendelssohn Symphony no. 3
**** Brahms Symphony no. 4,
** Beethoven Symphony no. 3

Richard Strauss
****  Beethoven Symphony no. 5,
*** Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel

Arturo Toscanini
**** Verdi Otello, 
*** Beethoven Symphony no. 5,
***** Respighi Pines of Rome

I've long suspected that the Toscanini we all know is nothing like the real Toscanini. Surely the Toscanini known to us from recordings is a caricature of a musician who could inflame imaginations across every corner of the earth. The Toscanini of his final twenty years is a vital but isolated old man who has forgotten what it's like to make music with others - much too often, his performances seem like the musical equivalent to military drills: clipped, metronomic, unyielding, inhuman. Certainly, the military discipline we associate with Toscanini has its own benefits. We hear the benefits in his Otello - for once in our lives, we hear opera singers reined in to project nothing but what's in the score - marking by marking, tempo by tempo, rhythm by rhythm. What unfolds is not an opera but a drama so precise and perfectly paced that it is closer to Sophecles than Shakespeare. Toscanini had meditated on this music his entire life, and when you were the composer's preferred interpreter, your dictations are better than anyone else's collaborations. But we hear the evidence of what must have been a greater of a conductor of much greater sensitivity in his Beethoven 5, which is very nearly as echt-German as it gets and only has the smallest hint of the military about it - put it on for someone who didn't know the performance, they would probably guess it was an old Bruno Walter or Klemperer performance. The elderly Toscanini, vital until the end, was perfect for the fascist pomposity of The Pines of Rome. The music is a piece of trash, and I love every second of it. Never has this most exciting piece been played with more excitement.

Lorenzo Molajoli
****  Verdi Il Trovatore

Carlo Sabajno:
** Verdi Aida

Henry Wood
***  Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music

Franz Schalk
** Schubert Symphony no. 8 "Unfinished"

*** Max von Schillings: Wagner The Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla

**** Leo Blech: Wagner Die Meistersinger Overture

Hans Pfitzner
*** Schumann Symphony no. 2

Oskar Fried
*** Beethoven Symphony no. 9 Finale

Willem Mengelberg:
***** Beethoven Symphony no. 5
**** Beethoven Symphony no. 7
***** Franck Symphony

No conductor is truly a free spirit - a free spirited conductor rides over the desires of 100 other musicians. But the best of the best, whether through persuasion or coercion or some unholy mix of the two, get their players to execute their wishes with an excitement that makes it seem as though they believe in their conductor's ideas as much as the conductor does. No conductor was ever more exciting than Mengelberg, even his weirdest ideas are brought off with such a surfeit of conviction that they work in practice when they absolutely shouldn't. For years, he has been dismissed unfairly as a bombastic virtuoso, the perfect conductor for Les Preludes - which he absolutely was by the way. He is, moreso even than Toscanini, responsible for the rise in the standard of playing in orchestras everywhere - a standard that was set by the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam which he lead for fifty years. But whereas Toscanini would seem to have obtained his results at the expense of emotional expression, the emotions in Mengelberg's performances practically throbbed. The more I listen to his Beethoven, the more I wonder if in spite of their gaucheries, or perhaps in part because of them, they are sui generis, closer in spirit to the revelatory, revolutionary nature of Beethoven's inspiration than any other master's performances in the long and glorious history of these works.

** Siegmund von Hausegger: Bruckner Symphony no. 9

**** Alfred Hertz: Mendelssohn Midsummer Night's Dream Overture

Frederick Stock
** Tchaikovsky Symphony no. 5

Sergei Rachmaninov:
** Rachmaninov Isle of the Dead

Serge Koussevitzky
**** Tchaikovsky Symphony no. 5
**** Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Easter Festival Overture
*** Copland: Appalachian Spring

Koussevitzky's reputation was eclipsed by his greatest achievement - Leonard Bernstein. From learning at the elderly Koussevitzky's feet during the older musician's quarter-century at the Boston Symphony, his star pupil learned that unnameable spark that transmutes music from a flat experience of playing notes on a page to a poly-dimensional experience that changes lives. He also championed all the best music which Koussevitzky did so much to birth from the greatest musical minds of his time - not just Appalachian Spring, but also Copland's Third Symphony, and Pictures at an Exhibition (the orchestral version we all know), and Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, and Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, and Britten's Peter Grimes, and Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony... But Bernstein was a genius, and Koussevitzky was merely a great conductor and an even greater servant of music. At the heart of his archetypally Russian music-making is a heart of gold - that heart was sometimes molten, as in the most dramatic passages of Tchaikovsky, but anyone who's ever experienced the immediacy of Bernstein's performances will recognize the fearless risktaking - the extremities of tempo and dynamics, the slowing down to underline musical climaxes, the milking of beautiful phrases to get the maximum possible most emotional expression, the sheer humanity of it all. Many classical music lovers find such emotionally vulnerable musicmaking unseemly, others of us call it the reason we need music.

Pierre Monteux:
**** Elgar Enigma Variations
**** Schumann Symphony no. 4
*** Ravel La Valse

Monteux was too sane and practical a musician to aim all the way to stratosphere. Yet he came more consistently close to it than most conductors who shoot for the moon at every performance. There is no such thing as a bad Monteux performance, nor is there such a thing as a generic one. Everything he did was shot through with intelligence, imagination, passion, and just a little too much good taste. Even if he never aimed for absolute revelation, he was a revelation all too often. No one but a fiery musician could ever play Schumann 4 like this - as a worthy Beethoven successor rather than a wooden Beethoven 5 imitation. No one but a truly perceptive musician could play Elgar's Enigma Variations - practically the national anthem of the English Concert Hall - with more passion and imagination than any English conductor I've ever heard has. And as the conductor whom young Stravinsky and Ravel entrusted their most important premieres, he has the kind of effortless vim (perhaps a bit too effortless sometimes, finding this quite visceral La Valse took some time) it takes to make Ravel's carefully wrought constructions lift off and stay in the air.

Ettore Panizza:
***** Ponchielli Dance of the Hours
**** Verdi Otello

I have no idea if Panizza's ultra-dramatic, tempo-change-a-minute approach to opera was how it was practiced when it was first performed - I doubt 19th century Italy had orchestras capable of keeping up with interpretations like this - the 1930's Metropolitan Opera Orchestra barely could. But if they did, I can't imagine audiences feeling anything but on fire from the result. In comparison to the sort of anodyne opera performances we usually hear, Panizza's performances seem to come to us from another planet where opera is more like a sporting event - every performance is expected to be completely different from every other. The tempos are often slow as a snail, so that every musical nuance from singers can be savored and pondered in the moment for its full weight, and no matter how weird the phrasing of the singer, Panizza stays exactly in timing with it. But when there's an orchestral interlude, the music suddenly snaps to at maximum speed and excitement and volume. Perhaps musicmaking like this was only possible in a brief era when the entire 'educated' world knew these works backwards and forwards and the best singers of every country descended on New York to flee war. But short of war, what I would not give to hear musicmaking like this live.

Bruno Walter:
***** Mozart Don Giovanni (then click here) (then here)
**** Mahler Symphony no. 9
***** Beethoven Symphony no. 9

There's the Bruno Walter we and our parents hear on recordings today, and then there's the Bruno Walter which our grandparents and great-grandparents heard in the concert hall. The recordings we hear today, wonderful as many of them are, come from the last six years of his life when he was recovering from a heart attack in his 80's and his energy was severely depleted. A lifetime's worth of wisdom lies in that Brahms and Mozart, but wonderful as they are, they are not the Walter that matters most. The Bruno Walter who existed until he was roughly 80 was the Bruno Walter who was Mahler's star pupil, and probably the closest we'll ever get to approximating what Mahler's performances sounded like. This Bruno Walter was perhaps the greatest conductor of the German classics there has ever been - combining Furtwangler's omnipresent imagination with Toscanini's omnipresent fire without Furtwangler's sanctimonious solemnity or Toscanini's oppressive rigidity.

Artur Bodanzky:
** Wagner Tannhauser

Tulio Serafin:
*** Verdi Requiem
Bellini Norma
** Mascagni Cavalleria Rusticana

Thomas Beecham:
*** Bizet Carmen
*** Mozart Symphony no. 35
***** Brahms Symphony no 3

For what should be obvious reasons, there's no conductor I'd have rather played for than Thomas Beecham. Even if he weren't a great conductor, Beecham's witticisms can take up whole books (I own one) and websites. but his musicmaking speaks for itself. Beecham was a man of mostly sunny disposition whom, while many times more intelligent than most conductors (who are generally not the most intelligent or curious bunch of people), had very little use for anything in music that stank too much of metaphysics. To put it more finely, he had little tolerance for bullshit. He loved the plainspokenness of Viennese classicism and 19th century France, and performed their music masterly naturalness. But perhaps it's all a bit too natural - compare Beecham's Carmen to Andre Cluytens (more on him later...) and you'll see the clear as day difference - Beecham is enjoyable and the soul of pleasantry, Cluytens is ecstatic and revelatory. But then, there are performances like Brahms 3, in which Beecham, clearly not content with the customary German stolidity, takes the bull by the balls and squeezes. You can hear Beecham in the outer movements, exhorting the players with all manner of shouts. Beecham is on record in a radio broadcast having some reservations about Brahms, so perhaps Beecham was best in works whose quality he was unsure about. I have never heard performances of Beethoven 7 which I found more persuasive and moving than his live performance (sadly not available on youtube though part of his hardly worse studio performance is), but it was a work about which Beecham said of the first movement (not without basis) "What can you do with it? It's like a bunch of yaks jumping about?"

Desire Ingelbrecht:
Debussy: La Mer
Debussy Fetes

Carl Schuricht:
** Beethoven Symphony no. 5
*** Mahler Symphony no. 3
*** Brahms Piano Concerto no. 2

Albert Coates:
**** Tchaikovsky Francesca da Rimini
*** Beethoven Symphony no. 3 (first movement)
**** Tristan und Isolde Love Duet

Leopold Stokowski:
*** Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
** Bach: Toccata and Fugue
*** Sibelius Symphony no. 2

Hermann Abendroth:
*** Schumann Symphony no. 4
** Brahms Symphony no. 1 (Finale)
*** Beethoven Symphony no. 9 (In Russian) 

Ernest Ansermet:
** Debussy Nocturnes
*** Stravinsky: Song of the Nightingale
** Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherezade

Nikolai Malko:
** Prokofiev: Symphony no. 7

Fritz Steidry:
Nicolai: * Merry Wives of Windsor Overture

Vaclav Talich:
**** Smetana: Ma Vlast
**** Dvorak Symphony no. 8

Samuil Samosud
** Tchaikovsky: The Queen of Spades

Vittorio Gui:
Rossini: Barber of Seville

Otto Klemperer:
**** Mahler Symphony no. 2
**** Beethoven Symphony no. 3
** Brahms: German Requiem

The same problems that beset Bruno Walter beset his career-long rival. The two Berlin-trained Jewish students of Mahler represented two contrasting pictures of Germany - one supposedly the great humanist and conservative, friend to Thomas Mann, champion of the musical establishment - the other supposedly the great revolutionary and progressive, friend to Bertolt Brecht, champion of the new. And yet, in their dotage they inevitably resembled one another far more than they differed. Both were great but spent in their old age, and their musicmaking is the musicmaking of wise masters who must husband their energies. Perhaps even more than Walter, the manic-depressive Klemperer's music-making practically burst at the seams with fanatical vitality, as this Mahler 2 from Amsterdam can demonstrate all too well, as can this Eroica from Copenhagen. But Klemperer's musicmaking was never as flexible as Walter's. He had other virtues - a far wider musical curiosity and repertoire, and a Boulez-like concern about projecting form and detail. But while Walter, a larger star for longer, was captured far more in his prime, we have far more of Klemperer from his ubiquitous final years. The picture the world has of Klemperer is unfairly weighted toward the lethargic old giant he became. But even at Klemperer's most ponderous (and my God, listen to his Mahler 7 to hear how boring it could get, or better yet, don't...), Klemperer was clearly, as Furtwangler also did, misfiring as only a genius could. Good or bad, there was a zen-like, x-ray projection whose conviction carries the listener forward. I don't have the secret to how Klemperer managed to make such a cool style so expressive, hardly any other conductor ever has, but what's incontrovertible is that Klemperer did precisely that.

Wilhelm Furtwangler:
***** Bruckner Symphony no. 5
***** Brahms Symphony no. 1 (Finale) 
** Wagner: Ring

Today's cult of Furtwangler can be as nauseating as the cult of Toscanini was to previous generations. Even if Furtwangler did not consistently elicit shoddy execution from his forces, listening to his performances can still be as boring as watching paint dry. There is as little reason to to stretch Beethoven's 9th symphony to nearly eighty minutes as there is to try to compress it to under an hour. Whatever the occasional virtues of his Beethoven, the ponderous solemnity and absence of light-heartedness with which he conducts Beethoven and his rough contemporaries is unforgivable - as is the rhythmic slovenliness that accompanies his performances of later composers. Nevertheless, in Middle Romantic generation between Wagner and Brahms during which German music reigned supreme over all, Furtwangler is Holy Writ - never to be surpassed though none would claim to, and never to be duplicated though many have tried. Furtwangler rarely earns the claim of 'greatest of all conductors' to which many, perhaps most, critics would assign him, but in certain works of Wagner, Brahms, especially Bruckner, and yes, certain works (or at least passages) of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, and Furtwangler's ecstatic will to music will reign supreme forever.

Paul Paray:
** Debussy Nocturnes
**** Rimsky-Korsakov: Spanish Caprice
** Gounod: Ballet Music from Faust

Piero Coppola:
*** Saint-Saens Organ Symphony

Hans Knappertsbusch
* Das Rheingold
Parsifal

Fritz Reiner:
*** Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra
***** Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra
**** Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

Adrian Boult:
*** Vaughan Williams: A Sea Symphony
** Schubert Symphony no. 9

Fritz Busch:
*** Schumann Symphony no. 4
*** Brahms Symphony no. 4
** Mozart: Don Giovanni

Erich Kleiber:
**** Mozart Marriage of Figaro Act I
*** Beethoven Symphony no. 3 
***** Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel

Erich Kleiber was a martinet - he was also so much more. Look at clips of his conducting and contrast it with the conducting of his still more famous son - Carlos, and you see two diametrically opposed styles. Carlos was all imagination and psychology, but Erich was all discipline. He possessed the clearest beat anyone had ever seen, and looked like a military bandmaster rather than a conductor for the concert hall. In classic repertoire, he could be as metronomic as such an approach would lead you to believe. But even at his most disciplined, there was a poetic streak with incredibly beautiful balances and weighted chords and only a little of the Toscanini-like chopped attacks. One critic likened his approach to a mythical beast - Toscwangler, as close to the perfect synthesis of Toscanini's discipline and drama with Furtwangler's freedom and poetry. Perhaps that is a false ideal, but in their differing ways, the two Kleibers are as close to capturing that ideal as we will ever see. And like Carlos, he might have been best of all in light, sparkling, comic music which needs rhythmic panache more than flexible depth. Good as his Beethoven is, and masterly as he's known for being in Beethoven, the true master's hand is found in places like Mozart and Richard Strauss, where Kleiber's light touch is nearly unparalleled.

Charles Munch:
***** Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique
***** Honegger Symphony no. 2
***** Schubert Symphony no. 9

While Beecham is the one Golden Age conductor I wish I could have sat in on a rehearsal, Charles Munch is the Golden Age conductor I would have most wanted to hear live. A few years ago, I made a list of the conductors I thought were the greatest of all time - Munch ranked fourth. Today, I wonder if I would not rank him first. He is the one conductor whom in my experience has never given a performance that disappointed me. Even the most viscerally exciting conductors - Mengelberg, De Sabata, Mitropoulos, have performances when their passion seems to leave them and the phone in a generic performance. But there is not a single generic performance in Munch's discography. Every work I've ever heard of his has his elan, his imagination, his passion, operating at full blast. I have no idea whom the greatest conductor of all time is, but at this point in my life, I can tell you my favorite without a doubt.

Victor De Sabata:
**** Verdi Aida
***** The Salzburg Concert
*** Beethoven Symphony no. 8

Nikolai Golovanov:
***** Mussorgsky Boris Godunov
*** Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade

Hermann Scherchen:
**** Beethoven Symphony no. 3
*** Schoenberg Moses und Aron
** Bach St. Matthew Passion

Clemens Krauss:
**** Wagner: Siegfried
*** Strauss Salome
***** Johann Strauss: Voices of Spring

Artur Rodzinski:
*** Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet
** Brahms: Symphony no. 1
*** Shostakovich: Symphony no. 1

Karl Bohm:
Mozart: Symphony no. 36
*** Schubert: Symphony no. 2
*** Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

Dmitri Mitropoulos:
**** Mahler Symphony no. 3
**** Shostakovich Symphony no. 10
*** Strauss Elektra

George Szell:
**** Beethoven Symphony no. 9
**** Mendelssohn Midsummer Night's Dream
**** Sibelius Symphony no. 2

John Barbirolli:
**** Sibelius Symphony no. 2
*** Mahler Symphony no. 9
*** Nielsen Symphony no. 4

Eugene Ormandy:
Rachmaninov Symphony no. 2
Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet
** Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto



















Another Complete Rewrite of Part 1 of Scene 5...

(In Walk Cousins 1 and 2, older daughters of Uncle and Aunt. Cousin 1, a west-coast doctor and wears as much maturity as possible as a pose. She is 30 and rail thin, but her dark hair is beginning to have grey highlights. Cousin 2, 28, is a bit thicker-set, but quite physically fit and tan from nearly ten years living in Israel. Aunt sees her daughters and literally breaks down weeping. Everybody else laughs. They come up to their mother and hug her from either side.)

Aunt: (through sobs to everybody) Why didn't you tell me they were coming into town?

Uncle: Your son wanted to keep this a secret.

Aunt: You all knew?

(Everybody awkwardly nods their heads)

Aunt: (suddenly angry at them all) How could you keep this a secret from me???

Uncle: What? Are you not happy your children are here?

Aunt: (offended they weren't there for Thanksgiving) Where were they for Thanksgiving?

Cousin 1: We were in Seattle.

Aunt: And where have you been for the three weeks since his bar-mitzvah? (points to Son 3)

Cousin 2: I was going through the National Parks with some friends from Israel.

Aunt: (ready to explode) You've been here for three extra weeks and you don't see your family?!

Son 1: Can you blame her?

Cousin 2: It was a chance to learn things for the Kibbutz.

Aunt: Yes, I'm sure your desert kibbutz needs to know everything there is to know about how to cope with 40 degree rainy seasons.

Cousin 3: Mom, you can't get mad at her. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity she got on a grant from the Israeli government.

Aunt: If I knew you were coming into town I'd have gotten ready for you!

Uncle: What do you need to do to get ready? Just make their beds and we'll make them lunch tomorrow!

Aunt: (frustrated) Their rooms are a mess from the last time they were in town!

Cousin 2: Relax Mom, we've been able to clean our rooms for a quarter-century.

Aunt: (exasperated) We redid the entire house last year and I've been dreaming the whole time about us all staying in a clean house together. Now it's a mess!

Cousin 1: I'm sure it's gorgeous.

Aunt: (rising anger) I'd have called all your cousins to come over!

Uncle: This doesn't need to be a big production. They all saw each other at the Bar Mitzvah.

Aunt: (furious) All we have in the fridge is leftover chicken!

Cousin 3: I'm sorry Mom, I told them to make it a surprise because I thought you were going to be happy to see them again.

Cousin 1: We can buy something tomorrow morning Mom.

Cousin 5 (entering): No you won't. It's Shabbos.

Cousin 2: (looks over to Cousin 5) Abba (Dad) warned us about you.

Cousin 5: What did he say?

Cousin 2: Nothing, just that you were 'exploring your Judaism.'

Cousin 5: You should explore it too!

Cousin 2: What do you think I'm doing in Israel?

Son 1: According to your emails you sound like you kill a Palestinian every day and then go out for Ice Cream to celebrate.

Mom: What's email?

Son 1: I explained this to you Mom. It's just like regular mail, but on a computer.

Mom: Oh that's right!

Son 1: If you like I can also show you how the Cotton Gin works.

Dad: Be nicer to your mother.

Son 1: This is 1995! You have to know what computers are if you want to do anything today.

Dad: Well you're right that everything is computers these days but it's all gonna be over in a few years.

Son 1: Here we go, the expert on all things technology.

Dad: It has to or else we're all farcockt! One day soon we're all going to store every tchotchke (triviality/trinket) in the world on a computer and one little glitch happens and it'll all disappear.

Son 1: (almost interrupting) The Charge of The Luddite Brigade!

Dad: How can anybody get anything done on a computer? I didn't think a person could get any more addicted to anything than you were to television. Then you discovered the internet!

Cousin 1 (to Cousin 2): Here we go.

Dad: You stay in your room for hours at a time looking at that screen. What the hell is so interesting?

Aunt: Oh I think we know...

(everybody except Son 1 and Dad laughs)

Son 1: Alright, fuck every last one of you.

Mom: Sha!

Son 1: (Indignant. Dad looks more confused as this rebuttal goes on.) Yeah sure, I look at it, so have all of you at some point! I'm happy you all can find people to spend your lives with. But you all think it's so easy! When you were young you had all the looks and the right temperament and the organizational abilities I didn't. So stop fucking judging me.

Dad: Wait,... what?

Son 1: You all go through life as though there's nothing to life but a Heuse mit Zvay point Zvay Kinder (house with two point two children) und (and) a Veiss (white) Picket Fence!  But we all have the right to some happiness in the way we want and need and I'm sick of you all resenting me for being a little bit different!

Dad: I really don't know what you're talking about?

(son 2 whispers in his ear)

Dad: (horrified, amused, and excited about the possibility at the same time) Is that really what people do on the internet?

Son 1: (gets up) Oh god, I'm leaving.

Dad: (gets up to stop him) Haltn mein sohn (stop my son). Let me red (tell) you a little nishtik (trivial something) you didn't know. You may not realize this but your Zaydie had a thing for pornography too.

Son 1: I don't have a thing for pornography!

Dad: Well your Zaydie certainly did!

Son 1: Stop talking about him like that! He's right here!

Dad: Neyn neyn (no no), your other Zaydie.

(long pause) 

Son 2: You gotta be kidding me.

Dad: Yes, while he was dying of cancer he would sit on the sofa in your Bubbie's living room, and there would be all these alte (old) Playboys right underneath the sofa. And no matter who was over, he never moved them.

Uncle: This can't possibly be true! I was living there to help take care of him and I never saw them.

Dad: I swear they were there every time we were there!

Uncle: Those must have been my Playboys.

Dad: Stop covering for him. It was your father's and you know it! We would sit there every Shabbos afternoon, you, me, your Tateh (Dad), and Rabbi Blitz, the playboys would be right underneath the sofa and Rabbi Blitz had to pretend he didn't see anything!

Cousin 1: That's amazing!

Dad: (to Cousins 1 and 2) And it was the 70's, so all the women were totally unshaved. Is that back out of style with your friends?

Mom: What the hell are you doing?

Dad: What? I asked about their friends, not them!

Cousin 1: See Mom, we wouldn't have missed this for the world. Come hug me.

(long, firm embrace between them) 

Aunt: (coming out of the hug) You have a rip in your jeans. That's not like you!

Son 2: It's all the rage now in Seattle. (Cousin 1 affectionately rolls her eyes) 

Aunt: What do you mean?

Cousin 3: Everybody tries to be like Kurt Cobain over there.

Aunt: Who's Kurt Cobain.

Son 1: He's a famous rock singer from Seattle who killed himself last year when he realized how bad his music was.

Son 2: I think his music is great!

Son 1: Another great example of a Columbia education at work.

(needs transition...)

(Cousin 5 goes over to hug her sisters, hugs Cousin 2 first) 

Cousin 2: I love your skirt!

Cousin 5: Thanks!

Cousin 2: The Charedi girls in Israel don't look nearly this beautiful.

Cousin 5: (disappointed) Oh... (unconsciously puts her hands over herself to cover herself up) 

Cousin 1: Don't worry, you still look plenty tzniyustic (modest).

Cousin 5: Aw... thanks! (hugs Cousin 1. Within a second of when they go in for a hug, Cousin 1 pulls back, suddenly quite nauseous.) Excuse me, I have to head to the bathroom... (runs out of room)

Dad (jokingly): Oh don't tell me she's pregnant. (long awkward pause) 

Son 1: Well shit...

Cousin 3: None of you were supposed to know until Sunday so when she announces it, act surprised.

Son 1: Who's the father?

Cousin 3: (immediately, so that no speculation starts) The new guy.

Son 2: Who's the new guy?

Uncle: (with a slight hint of pride) Another doctor at the hospital.

Son 1: (chuckling with barely contained relish) He's divorced with grown up kids.

Dad: Her fiancee has grayer hair than any of us. When she brought him here over Labor Day I figured it was to set him up with her grandmother.

Son 1: Well, speaking of the fact that he's old,... not that that I care but is he...

Uncle: (interrupting) He's converting.

Son 1: No, I know that, I mean, is he... (makes a motion as though it's obvious)

Uncle: I don't understand.

(this time Son 1 makes a scissor motion, Uncle buries head in hands)

Aunt: You know, I never asked... Do you know? (turns to Cousin 2)

Cousin 2: She never mentioned one way or the other.

Dad: Well this is probably something you're going to need to know.

Mom: (irritated at Dad) You don't need to know anything.

Son 1: But don't you want to find out?

Son 2: I know I do.

Mom: Don't ask her. Please.

Cousin 1: (enters) What do you want to ask me? Whether I'm pregnant?

(nervous laughter all around except for Son 1)
     
Son 1: No, actually we figured that out about a minute ago. What we want to know is whether your new boy is...

Cousin 1: Jewish? No, he told me he was interested in converting before we even started dating.

Son 1: No, not Jewish. Is he...

Cousin 1: Black? Yes, you know that, so what?

Son 1: No not that either. Is he?...

Cousin 1: Is he?...

Son 1: Is he?...

(Cousin 1 looks at him as though to say 'I don't understand, say it out loud...) 

Son 1: (exasperated so just saying it) Has he had his dick cut?!

Cousin 1: Oh! No, he actually hasn't.

Son 2: Ew. You're not going to make him go through with that are you?

Cousin 1: Brisses are different for adults.

Son 2: Do we castrate the adults?

Cousin 1: No, they just take a needle and prick it like a blood test so a few drops of blood come out like a blood test.

(collective gasps and exclamations) 

Son 2: (loud enough to be over the din) That's the most disgusting thing I've ever heard!

Cousin 1: He's a surgeon. He does worse all the time!

Son 2: How can you all be OK with a religion that sees newborn boys and feels the urge to mutilate their penises?

(more collective gasps and exclamations) 

Dad: (loud enough to be over the din) Why are you so hostile to everything we do?

Son 2: Why are you so hostile to the idea that maybe we shouldn't sever the genitals of defenseless babies?

(the daughters leave the room with their mother) 

Uncle: (as though he's been waiting the whole time for the chance to strike back) And how can you be OK with supporting a religion that severs the genitals of girls when they're already teenagers?

Son 2: It's not the whole religion, it's just a small part of it.

Uncle: It's not that small.

Son 2: You can't paint all of Islam like that.

Uncle: Why not? They do it to us!

Son 2: So you should just be as bad as they are?

Uncle: There's no way we could ever be as bad as they are!

Son 2: Well what do we do? We stick a million of them in a piece of land smaller than Manhattan. How is that not like the ghettos?

(Mom's and Uncle's lines at the same time)

Uncle: Don't you dare use that word to compare us to that.  

Mom: How can you be so hateful to your own people?

Son 2: (To Mom) Because it's my people doing these things!

Uncle: Oh, so we're only your people when you get to criticize us?

Son 2: You criticize me all the time, and I'm your people!

Uncle: That's because you want your own people to die!

Son 2: Ah, you see?! There it is! Just because I want peace I'm no different than people who want to butcher women and commit genocide!

Dad: Oh, so you admit that they want to commit genocide?

Son 2: Well after what we've done to them, who can blame them?

(exclamations of exasperation all around from Mom, Dad, Uncle) 

Son 1: Alright, this whole fight is bullshit. I'm going to the other room.

Mom: Can you call your cousins back in here when you go?

Son 1: I want to talk to them!

Mom: They still haven't said hello to their father.

Son 1: Why's that my responsibility? He's foaming at the mouth right now about his nephew riding a Hezbollah rocket into Tel Aviv.

Uncle: (suddenly realizing how badly he lost it) No,... no, I'm done. Can you call them in?

Son 1: I don't think I need to...

(enter all three daughters...)

Daughter 1: Is everything alright in here?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Untitled Play: Scene 5 Part 1 Another Complete Rewrite

(In Walk Cousins 1 and 2, older daughters of Uncle and Aunt. Cousin 1, a west-coast doctor and wears as much maturity as possible as a pose. She is 30 and rail thin, but her dark hair is beginning to have grey highlights. Cousin 2, 28, is a bit thicker-set, but quite physically fit and tan from nearly ten years living in Israel. Aunt sees her daughters and literally breaks down weeping. Everybody else laughs. They come up to their mother and hug her from either side.)

Aunt: (through sobs to everybody) Why didn't you tell me they were coming into town?

Uncle: Your son wanted to keep this a secret.

Aunt: You all knew?

(Everybody awkwardly nods their heads)

Aunt: (suddenly angry at them all) How could you keep this a secret from me???

Uncle: What? Are you not happy your children are here?

Aunt: (offended they weren't there for Thanksgiving) Where were they for Thanksgiving?

Cousin 1: We were in Seattle.

Aunt: And where have you been for the three weeks since his bar-mitzvah? (points to Son 3)

Cousin 2: I was going through the National Parks with some friends from Israel.

Aunt: (ready to explode) You've been here for three extra weeks and you don't see your family?!

Son 1: Can you blame her?

Cousin 2: It was a chance to learn things for the Kibbutz.

Aunt: Yes, I'm sure your desert kibbutz needs to know everything there is to know about how to cope with 40 degree rainy seasons.

Cousin 3: Mom, you can't get mad at her. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity she got on a grant from the Israeli government.

Aunt: If I knew you were coming into town I'd have gotten ready for you!

Uncle: What do you need to do to get ready? Just make their beds and we'll make them lunch tomorrow!

Aunt: (frustrated) Their rooms are a mess from the last time they were in town!

Cousin 2: Relax Mom, we've been able to clean our rooms for a quarter-century.

Aunt: (exasperated) We redid the entire house last year and I've been dreaming the whole time about us all staying in a clean house together. Now it's a mess!

Cousin 1: I'm sure it's gorgeous.

Aunt: (rising anger) I'd have called all your cousins to come over!

Uncle: This doesn't need to be a big production. They all saw each other at the Bar Mitzvah.

Aunt: (furious) All we have in the fridge is leftover chicken!

Cousin 3: I'm sorry Mom, I told them to make it a surprise because I thought you were going to be happy to see them again.

Cousin 1: We can buy something tomorrow morning Mom.

Cousin 5 (entering): No you won't. It's Shabbos.

Cousin 2: (looks over to Cousin 5) Abba (Dad) warned us about you.

Cousin 5: What did he say?

Cousin 2: Nothing, just that you were 'exploring your Judaism.'

Cousin 5: You should explore it too!

Cousin 2: What do you think I'm doing in Israel?

Son 1: According to your emails you sound like you kill a Palestinian every day and then go out for Ice Cream to celebrate.

Mom: What's email?

Son 1: I explained this to you Mom. It's just like regular mail, but on a computer.

Mom: Oh that's right!

Son 1: If you like I can also show you how the Cotton Gin works.

Uncle: Be nicer to your mother.

Son 1: This is 1995! You have to know what computers are if you want to do anything today.

Dad: Well he's right that everything is computers these days but it's all gonna be over in a few years.

Son 1: Here comes the expert on all things technology.

Dad: It has to or else we're all farcockt! One day soon we're all going to store every tchotchke (triviality/trinket) in the world on a computer and one little glitch happens and it'll all disappear.

Son 1: Here it is, The Charge of The Luddite Brigade!

Dad: How can anybody get anything done on a computer? I didn't think a person could get any more addicted to anything than you were to television. Then you discovered the internet!

Cousin 1 (to Cousin 2): Here we go.

Dad: You stay in your room for hours at a time looking at that screen. What the hell is so interesting?

Aunt: Oh I think we know...

Son 1: Alright, fuck every last one of you.

Mom: Sha!

Son 1: (indignant) I'm happy you all can find people to spend your lives with. You all think it's so easy! But not everybody finds it easy to jump through all those hoops, and even if we did, we wouldn't want to.

Dad: Wait,... what?

Son 1: You all go through life as though there's nothing to life but a Heuse mit Zvay point Zvay Kinder (house with two point two children) und (and) a Veiss (white) Picket Fence!  But we all have the right to some happiness in the way we want and need and I'm sick of people judging about it!

Dad: I really don't know what you're talking about?

(son 2 whispers in his ear)

Dad: (horrified, amused, and excited about the possibility at the same time) Is that really what people do on the internet?

Son 1: (gets up) Oh god, I'm leaving.

Dad: (gets up to stop him) Haltn mein sohn (stop my son). Let me red (tell) you a little nishtik (trivial something) you didn't know. You may not realize this but your Zaydie had a thing for pornography too.

Son 1: I don't have a thing for pornography!

Dad: Well your Zaydie certainly did!

Son 1: Stop talking about him like that! He's right here!

Dad: Neyn neyn (no no), your other Zaydie.

(long pause) 

Son 2: You gotta be kidding me.

Dad: Yes, while he was dying of cancer he would sit on the sofa in your Bubbie's living room, and there would be all these alte (old) Playboys right underneath the sofa. And no matter who was over, he never moved them.

Uncle: This can't possibly be true! I was living there to help take care of him and I never saw them.

Dad: I swear they were there every time we were there!

Uncle: Those must have been my Playboys.

Dad: Stop covering for him. It was your father's and you know it! We would sit there every Shabbos afternoon, you, me, your Tate, and Rabbi Blitz, the playboys would be right underneath the sofa and Rabbi Blitz had to pretend he didn't see anything!

Cousin 1: That's amazing!

Dad: (to Cousins 1 and 2) And it was the 70's, so all the women were totally unshaved. Is that back out of style with your friends?

Mom: What the hell are you doing?

Dad: What? I asked about their friends, not them!

Cousin 1: See Mom, we wouldn't have missed this for the world. Come hug me.

(long, firm embrace between them) 

Aunt: (coming out of the hug) You have a rip in your jeans. That's not like you!

Son 2: It's all the rage now in Seattle. (Cousin 1 affectionately rolls her eyes) 

Aunt: What do you mean?

Cousin 3: Everybody tries to be like Kurt Cobain over there.

Aunt: Who's Kurt Cobain.

Son 1: He's a famous rock singer from Seattle who killed himself last year when he realized how bad his music was.

Son 2: I think his music is great!

Son 1: Another great example of a Columbia education at work.

(needs transition...)

(Cousin 5 goes over to hug her sisters, hugs Cousin 2 first) 

Cousin 2: I love your skirt!

Cousin 5: Thanks!

Cousin 2: The Charedi girls in Israel don't look nearly this beautiful.

Cousin 5: (disappointed) Oh... (unconsciously puts her hands over herself to cover herself up) 

Cousin 1: Don't worry, you still look plenty tzniyustic (modest).

Cousin 5: Aw... thanks! (hugs Cousin 1. Within a second of when they go in for a hug, Cousin 1 pulls back, suddenly quite nauseous.) Excuse me, I have to head to the bathroom... (runs out of room)

Dad (jokingly): Oh don't tell me she's pregnant. (long awkward pause) 

Son 1: Well shit...

Cousin 3: None of you were supposed to know until Sunday so when she announces it, act surprised.

Son 1: Who's the father?

Cousin 3: (immediately, so that no speculation starts) The new guy.

Son 2: Who's the new guy?

Uncle: (with a slight hint of pride) Another doctor at the hospital.

Son 1: (chuckling with barely contained relish) He's divorced with grown up kids.

Dad: Her fiancee has grayer hair than any of us. When she brought him here over Labor Day I figured it was to set him up with her grandmother.

Son 1: Well, speaking of the fact that he's old,... not that that I care but is he...

Uncle: (interrupting) He's converting.

Son 1: No, I know that, I mean, is he... (makes a motion as though it's obvious)

Uncle: I don't understand.

(this time Son 1 makes a scissor motion, Uncle buries head in hands)

Aunt: You know, I never asked... Do you know? (turns to Cousin 2)

Cousin 2: She never mentioned one way or the other.

Dad: Well this is probably something you're going to need to know.

Mom: (irritated at Dad) You don't need to know anything.

Son 1: But don't you want to find out?

Son 2: I know I do.

Mom: Don't ask her. Please.

Cousin 1: (enters) What do you want to ask me? Whether I'm pregnant?

(nervous laughter all around except for Son 1)
     
Son 1: No, actually we figured that out about a minute ago. What we want to know is whether your new boy is...

Cousin 1: Jewish? No, he told me he was interested in converting before we even started dating.

Son 1: No, not Jewish. Is he...

Cousin 1: Black? Yes, you know that, so what?

Son 1: No not that either. Is he?...

Cousin 1: Is he?...

Son 1: Is he?...

(Cousin 1 looks at him as though to say 'I don't understand, say it out loud...) 

Son 1: (exasperated so just saying it) Has he had his dick cut?!

Cousin 1: Oh! No, he actually hasn't.

Son 2: Ew. You're not going to make him go through with that are you?

Cousin 1: Brisses are different for adults.

Son 2: Do we castrate the adults?

Cousin 1: No, they just take a needle and prick it like a blood test so a few drops of blood come out like a blood test.

(collective gasps and exclamations) 

Son 2: (loud enough to be over the din) That's the most disgusting thing I've ever heard!

Cousin 1: He's a surgeon. He does worse all the time!

Son 2: How can you all be OK with a religion that sees newborn boys and feels the urge to mutilate their penises?

(more collective gasps and exclamations) 

Dad: (loud enough to be over the din) Why are you so hostile to everything we do?

Son 2: Why are you so hostile to the idea that maybe we shouldn't sever the genitals of defenseless babies?

(the daughters leave the room with their mother) 

Uncle: (as though he's been waiting the whole time for the chance to strike back) And how can you be OK with supporting a religion that severs the genitals of girls when they're already teenagers?

Son 2: It's not the whole religion, it's just a small part of it.

Uncle: It's not that small.

Son 2: You can't paint all of Islam like that.

Uncle: Why not? They do it to us!

Son 2: So you should just be as bad as they are?

Uncle: There's no way we could ever be as bad as they are!

Son 2: Well what do we do? We stick a million of them in a piece of land smaller than Manhattan. How is that not like the ghettos?

(Mom's and Uncle's lines at the same time)

Uncle: Don't you dare use that word to compare us to that.  

Mom: How can you be so hateful to your own people?

Son 2: (To Mom) Because it's my people doing these things!

Uncle: Oh, so we're only your people when you get to criticize us?

Son 2: You criticize me all the time, and I'm your people!

Uncle: That's because you want your own people to die!

Son 2: Ah, you see?! There it is! Just because I want peace I'm no different than people who want to butcher women and commit genocide!

Dad: Oh, so you admit that they want to commit genocide?

Son 2: Well after what we've done to them, who can blame them?

(exclamations of exasperation all around from Mom, Dad, Uncle) 

Son 1: Alright, this whole fight is bullshit. I'm going to the other room.

Mom: Can you call your cousins back in here when you go?

Son 1: I want to talk to them!

Mom: They still haven't said hello to their father.

Son 1: Why's that my responsibility? He's foaming at the mouth right now about his nephew riding a Hezbollah rocket into Tel Aviv.

Uncle: (suddenly realizing how badly he lost it) No,... no, I'm done. Can you call them in?

Son 1: I don't think I need to...

(enter all three daughters...)

Daughter 1: Is everything alright in here?

Uncle: (Looking around, tears in his eyes) Yeh, yeh, alz is recht (Yes, yes, everything's right). (grabs his two older daughters)

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Library of Youtube Music Recommendations for Your Personal Listening - An Ongoing List

Performances I Love, In No Real Order - though the top rec always comes first. I will add to this list as time goes on, both in number of pieces and in performance recommendations. I'll repost this link to facebook every time I feel like updating it - though I have no idea when that will be. But I'm lazy, so this is extremely incomplete. No doubt, this documentation is very sloppy and confusing. One thing though, always wear headphones if you can on youtube, there's much more dynamic contrast:

1. Furtwangler/Berlin: Bruckner 5 (1942)
2. Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique: Munch/Paris (1967), Munch/Boston (1954), Munch/Chicago (1966), Munch/New York (1948), (there's a theme here, nevertheless...) Bernstein/Paris (1976), Gardiner/Romantic and Revolutionary Orchestra (London) (1993), Dudamel/Combined Orchestras (2009)
3. Mahler Symphony no. 2: Bernstein/New York (1987), Mehta/Israel (1994),  Klemperer/Philharmonia (1962) Solti/London (1966), Bruno Walter/Vienna (1948), Scherchen/Vienna (1958),
4. Beethoven Symphony no. 5: Mengelberg/Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) (1940), Szell/Dresden (1961), Karajan/Berlin (1977), Carlos Kleiber/Vienna (1975)
5. Mravinsky/Leningrad: Tchaikovsky Francesca da Rimini (1972)
6. Sibelius Symphony no. 2 Barbirolli/New York (1939), Szell/Cleveland (1970), Philadelphia/Stokowski (1962)
7. Victor De Sabata - the final Vienna Philharmonic Concert (1953)
8. Smetana Ma Vlast: Kubelik/Prague (1990), Talich/Prague (1939),
9. Beethoven Symphony no. 9: Szell/Philharmonia (London) (1969), Amsterdam/Mengelberg (1938), Wand/Hamburg (1987)Schuricht/Paris (1965)Bruno Walter/London (1948), Celibidache/Turin (1958), Kubelik/Copenhagen (1959),  Bernstein/Vienna (1979)
10. Brahms Symphony no. 3: Beecham/NBC (New York): Brahms 3 (1956), Bruno Walter/Los Angeles (1959), Furtwangler/Berlin (1949)
11. Brahms Symphony no. 2: Jochum/Berlin (1955)Walter/New York (1950), Weingartner/London (1939), Carlos Kleiber/Vienna (1991)
12. Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks: Furtwangler/Berlin (1950), Solti/Chicago (early 70's),
13. Franck Symphony: Bernstein/New York (1959), Monteux/Chicago (1960), Mengelberg/Concertgebouw (1937), Furtwangler/Vienna (1945), Munch/Boston (late 50's), Bernstein/Paris (1981), De Sabata/New York (1950), Cantelli/New York (1954), Muti/Philadelphia (1980's)
14. Stravinsky Les Noces: Pokrovsky Ensemble (1994), Gergiev/Mariinsky (St. Petersburg) (2008)
15. Brahms Symphony no. 1: Furtwangler, Furtwangler, Furtwangler, and especially Furtwangler. ... also Bernstein/Vienna (1983)
16. Stravinsky: Petrushka Bolshoi (Moscow) (1997), Gergiev/London (2008), Temirkanov/Leningrad (1975), Monteux/Boston (1951),
17. Stravinsky: Rite of Spring Gergiev/London (2008?), Salonen/Los Angeles (2003), Boulez/Paris (2002), Monteux/Boston (1951), Dorati/Minneapolis (1959), , Zander/Boston (1990s) Tilson Thomas/San Francisco (2000), Ormandy/Philadelphia (1954),
18. Beethoven Eroica Symphony: Scherchen/Vienna(1958), Karajan/Berlin (1977), Klemperer/Copenhagen (1957), Kleiber/Amsterdam (1950), Gielen/Freiburg (1990's)
19. Mozart Last Three Symphonies: Harnoncourt/CMW (Vienna) (2014), Bruno Walter/Los Angeles (late 50's), Fricsay/Vienna (1958), Harnoncourt/Vienna (1991)
20. Mozart: Gran Partita Furtwangler/Vienna (1950), Schonwandt/Copenhagen (?)
21. Verdi: Aida Toscanini/NBC/Nelli/Tucker (New York) (1949), Chailly/La Scala (Milan)/Urmana/Alagna (2006)
22. Verdi: Otello Toscanini/NBC/Vinay/Valdengo (New York (1947)Panizza/Met/Martinelli/Tibbett (New York): Verdi/Otello 1938, Levine/Domingo/London (1978), Kleiber/Domingo/Milan (1976)
23. Berlioz: Les Troyens Colin Davis/London (2000)Pappano/Royal Opera (London), 2012, Beecham/London (1947), Kubelik/Milan (1960)
24. Verdi: La Traviata Kleiber/Munich/Contrubas/Domingo (1977),
25. Verdi: Falstaff Bernstein/Vienna/Fischer-Dieskau: (1966), Molajoli/Rimini (1930ish),  Toscanini/New York/Valdengo (1950)Karajan/Taddei/Vienna (1980), Karajan/Gobbi/London (1955), Cillario/Gobbi/Paris (1975),
26. Muti/La Scala (Milan)/Licitra: Verdi - Il Trovatore (2004)
27-32.  Mozart: The Marriage of FigaroBohm/Vienna/Prey/Freni/DFD/Te Kanawa -(1976), the Giulini/Taddei recording set to the Salzburg Marionette Theater , Jacobs live in 2004ish,  Fricsay/Schoffler live in German/just heard (1951), and in the absence of Fricsay's studio recording, best of them all, here is the full Giulini
33. Mozart: Don Giovanni - Sanderling/Bolshoi live in Russian/just heard (1948) and the Commendatore Scene set by the Prague Marionette TheaterAbbado/Ferrara/Keenlyside/Terfel (1997), absenting Bruno Walter's all-time desert island 1944 Met performance with Pinza and Kipnis, here is Leinsdorf/Met (New York)/Siepi/Corena (1961), nearly as great.
34. Wagner: Die Meistersinger - Jochum/Bayreuth/Hotter (1949), Furtwangler/Berlin/Nazis Die Meistersinger Overture
35. Jochum/Munich - Bruckner 9
36. Tennstedt/Berlin - Bruckner 8
37. Jochum/Berlin - Bruckner Te Deum
38. Bruckner - Os Justi - Gardiner/Monteverdi Choir
39. Bruckner - Ave Maria - unknown
40. Mahler Symphony no. 1 (finale) - Mitropoulos/Minneapolis Symphony (1941)
41. Mahler Symphony no. 4 (opening) Kegel/Leipzig (1970's)
42. Mahler Symphony no. 5: Kubelik/Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) (start here) 
43. Mahler Symphony no. 6: Szell/Cleveland (1967)
44. Mahler Symphony no. 8: Rattle/National Youth Orchestra (London, 2002) 
45. Mahler Symphony no. 9: Bruno Walter/Vienna (1938), Abbado/Berlin (1999), Barbirolli/Berlin (1964)
46. Mahler Das Lied von der Erde: Bruno Walter/Ferrier/Patsak/Vienna (1952), Concertgebouw/Schuricht (1939), Klemperer/London/Wunderlich/Ludwig (1965) , Kleiber/Vienna/Ludwig/Kmentt
47. Mozart: The Magic Flute - Klemperer/Everybody/London (1967), The Bergman Movie (1975), The Ustinov Production (1971), Royal Opera (London)/Colin Davis (2000ish),
48: Mozart Operas: The Ostman Recordings (Sweden) - Take Them As A Whole
49. Golovanov/Prigorov/Bolshoi (Moscow): Mussorgsky Boris Godunov (1947)
50.  Mahler 3:Haitink/Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) (mid 80's), Martinon/Chicago (1967) (start there),
51. Verdi: Rigoletto/Chailly/Pavarotti/Wixell/Vienna (1982)
52. Leoncavallo: Pagliacci/Pretre/Domingo/Stratas/Pons/La Scala (Milan) (1990's)


There are many, many more, I could recommend. But this is really all I feel like doing today. Hopefully, I'll come back at some point.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Untitled Play - Scene 5 Part 1 - Completely Rewritten - Rough Draft

(In Walk Cousins 1 and 2, older daughters of Uncle and Aunt. Cousin 1, a west-coast doctor and wears as much maturity as possible as a pose. She is 30 and rail thin, but her dark hair is beginning to have grey highlights. Cousin 2, 28, is a bit thicker-set, but quite physically fit and tan from nearly ten years living in Israel. Aunt sees her daughters and literally breaks down weeping. Everybody else laughs. They come up to their mother and hug her from either side.)

Aunt: (through sobs to everybody) Why didn't you tell me they were coming into town?

Uncle: Your son wanted to keep this a secret.

Aunt: You all knew?

(Everybody awkwardly nods their heads)

Aunt: (suddenly angry at them all) How could you keep this a secret from me???

Uncle: What? Are you not happy your children are here?

Aunt: If I knew they were coming into town I'd have gotten ready for them!

Uncle: What do you need to do to get ready? Just make their beds and we'll make them lunch tomorrow!

Aunt: They don't know where we put the bedsheets now!

Cousin 2: Relax Mom, we've been able to make our beds for a quarter-century.

Aunt: We redid the entire house last year and I've been dreaming about showing it to you the whole time. Now it's a mess!

Cousin 1: I'm sure it's gorgeous.

Aunt: All we have in the fridge is leftover chicken!

Cousin 1: We'll buy something tomorrow morning.

Cousin 5 (entering): No you won't. It's Shabbos.

Cousin 2: (looks over to Cousin 5) Abba (Dad) warned me about you. Come over here.

(Cousin 5 goes over to hug her sisters, hugs Cousin 2 first) 

Cousin 2: I love your skirt!

Cousin 5: Thanks!

Cousin 2: The Charedi girls in Israel don't look nearly this beautiful.

Cousin 5: (disappointed) Oh... (unconsciously puts her hands over herself to cover herself up) 

Cousin 1: Don't worry, you still look plenty tzniyustic (modest).

Cousin 5: Aw... thanks! (hugs Cousin 1. Within a second of when they go in for a hug, Cousin 1 pulls back, suddenly quite nauseous.) Excuse me, I have to head to the bathroom... (runs out of room)

Dad (jokingly): Oh don't tell me she's pregnant. (long awkward pause) 

Son 1: Well shit...

Cousin 3: None of you were supposed to know until Sunday so when she announces it, act surprised.

Son 1: Who's the father?

Cousin 3: (immediately, so that no speculation starts) The new guy.

Son 2: Who's the new guy?

Uncle: (with a slight hint of pride) Another doctor at the hospital.

Son 1: (chuckling with barely contained relish) He's divorced with grown up kids.

Dad: Her fiancee has grayer hair than any of us. When she brought him here over Labor Day I figured it was to set him up with her grandmother.

Son 1: Well, speaking of the fact that he's old,... not that that I care but is he...

Uncle: (interrupting) He's converting.

Son 1: No, I know that, I mean, is he... (makes a motion as though it's obvious)

Uncle: I don't understand.

(this time Son 1 makes a scissor motion, Uncle buries head in hands)

Aunt: You know, I never asked... Do you know? (turns to Cousin 2)

Cousin 2: She never mentioned one way or the other.

Dad: Well this is probably something you're going to need to know.

Mom: (irritated at Dad) You don't need to know anything.

Son 1: But don't you want to find out?

Son 2: I know I do.

Mom: Don't ask her. Please.

Cousin 1: (enters) What do you want to ask me? Whether I'm pregnant?

(nervous laughter all around except for Son 1)
     
Son 1: No, actually we figured that out about a minute ago. What we want to know is whether your new boy is...

Cousin 1: Jewish? No, he told me he was interested in converting before we even started dating.

Son 1: No, not Jewish. Is he...

Cousin 1: Black? Yes, you know that, so what?

Son 1: No not that either. Is he?...

Cousin 1: Is he?...

Son 1: Is he?...

(Cousin 1 looks at him as though to say 'I don't understand, say it out loud...) 

Son 1: (exasperated so just saying it) Has he had his dick cut?!

Cousin 1: Oh! No, he actually hasn't.

Son 2: Ew. You're not going to make him go through with that are you?

Cousin 1: Brisses are different for adults.

Son 2: Do we castrate the adults?

Cousin 1: No, they just take a needle and prick it like a blood test so a few drops of blood come out like a blood test.

(collective gasps and exclamations) 

Son 2: (loud enough to be over the din) That's the most disgusting thing I've ever heard!

Cousin 1: He's a surgeon. He does worse all the time!

Son 2: How can you all be OK with a religion that sees newborn boys and feels the urge to mutilate their penises?

(more collective gasps and exclamations) 

Dad: (loud enough to be over the din) Why are you so hostile to everything we do?

Son 2: Why are you so hostile to the idea that maybe we shouldn't sever the genitals of defenseless babies?

(the daughters leave the room with their mother) 

Uncle: (as though he's been waiting the whole time for the chance to strike back) And how can you be OK with supporting a religion that severs the genitals of girls when they're already teenagers?

Son 2: It's not the whole religion, it's just a small part of it.

Uncle: It's not that small.

Son 2: You can't paint all of Islam like that.

Uncle: Why not? They do it to us!

Son 2: So you should just be as bad as they are?

Uncle: There's no way we could ever be as bad as they are!

Son 2: Well what do we do? We stick a million of them in a piece of land smaller than Manhattan. How is that not like the ghettos?

(Mom's and Uncle's lines at the same time)

Uncle: Don't you dare use that word to compare us to that.  

Mom: How can you be so hateful to your own people?

Son 2: (To Mom) Because it's my people doing these things!

Uncle: Oh, so we're only your people when you get to criticize us?

Son 2: You criticize me all the time, and I'm your people!

Uncle: That's because you want your own people to die!

Son 2: Ah, you see?! There it is! Just because I want peace I'm no different than people who want to butcher women and commit genocide!

Dad: Oh, so you admit that they want to commit genocide?

Son 2: Well after what we've done to them, who can blame them?

(exclamations of exasperation all around from Mom, Dad, Uncle) 

Son 1: Alright, this whole fight is bullshit. I'm going to the other room.

Mom: Can you call your cousins back in here when you go?

Son 1: I want to talk to them!

Mom: They still haven't said hello to their father.

Son 1: Why's that my responsibility? He's foaming at the mouth right now about his nephew riding a Hezbollah rocket into Tel Aviv.

Uncle: (suddenly realizing how badly he lost it) No,... no, I'm done. Can you call them in?

Son 1: I don't think I need to...

(enter all three daughters...)

Daughter 1: Is everything alright in here?


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Untitled Play Scene 5 - Part 1

(In Walk Cousins 1 and 2, older daughters of Uncle and Aunt. Cousin 1, 30, is rail thin and her dark hair is beginning to have grey highlights. Cousin 2, 28, is a bit thicker-set, but physically fit and tan from nearly ten years living in Israel. Aunt sees her daughters and literally breaks down weeping. Everybody else laughs. They come up to their mother and hug her from either side.)

Uncle: Your son wanted to keep this a secret.

Aunt: (suddenly angry at them both) How could you keep this a secret from me???

Uncle: What? Are you not happy that your daughters are here?

Aunt: If I knew they were coming into town I'd have gotten ready for them!

Uncle: What do you need to do to get ready? Just make their beds and we'll make them lunch tomorrow!

Aunt: They don't know where we put the bedsheets now!

Cousin 2: Relax Mom, we've been able to make our beds for a quarter-century.

Aunt: We redid the entire house last year and I've been dreaming about showing it to you the whole time. Now it's a mess!

Cousin 1: I'm sure it's gorgeous.

Aunt: All we have in the fridge is leftover chicken!

Cousin 1: We'll buy something tomorrow morning.

Cousin 5 (entering): No you won't. It's Shabbos.

Cousin 2: (looks over to Cousin 5) Abba (Dad) warned me about you. Come over here.

(Cousin 5 goes over to hug her sisters, hugs Cousin 2 first) 

Cousin 2: I love your skirt!

Cousin 5: Thanks!

Cousin 2: The Charedi girls in Israel don't look nearly this beautiful.

Cousin 5: (disappointed) Oh... (unconsciously puts her hands over herself to cover herself up) 

Cousin 1: Don't worry, you still look plenty tzniyustic (modest).

Cousin 5: Aw... thanks! (hugs Cousin 1. Within a second of when they go in for a hug, Cousin 1 pulls back, suddenly quite nauseous.) Excuse me, I have to head to the bathroom... (runs out of room)

Dad (jokingly): Oh don't tell me she's pregnant. (long awkward pause) 

Son 1: Well shit...

Cousin 3: None of you were supposed to know until Sunday so when she announces it, act surprised.

Son 1: Who's the father?

Cousin 3: (immediately, so that no speculation starts) The new guy.

Son 2: Who's the new guy?

Uncle: (with a slight hint of pride) Another doctor at the hospital.

Son 1: (relishing) He's divorced with grown up kids.

Dad: Her fiancee has grayer hair than any of us. When she brought him here over Labor Day I figured it was to set him up with her grandmother.

Son 2: Well, not that I care but is he...

Uncle: (interrupting) He's converting.

Son 1: No, I know that, I mean, is he... (makes a motion as though it's obvious)

Uncle: I don't understand.

(this time Son 1 makes a scissor motion)

Aunt: You know, I never asked... Do you know? (turns to Cousin 2)

Cousin 2: She never mentioned that.

Dad: Well this is probably something you're going to need to know.

Mom: (irritated) You don't need to know anything.

Son 2: But don't you want to find out?

Son 1: I know I do.

Mom: Don't ask her. Please.

Cousin 1: (enters) What do you want to ask me? Whether I'm pregnant?

(nervous laughter all around except for Son 1)
      Son 1: No actually we figured that out about a minute ago. What we want to know is whether your new boy is...

Cousin 1: Jewish? No, he's converting.

Son 1: No, not Jewish. Is he...

Cousin 1: Is he?...

Son 1: Is he?...

(Cousin 1 looks at him as though to say 'I don't understand, say it out loud...) 

Son 2: Brissed out.

Cousin 1: Oh! No, he actually isn't.

Son 2: Ew. You're not going to make him go through with that are you?

Cousin 1: Brisses are different for adults.

Son 2: Is it chemical castration?

Cousin 1: No, they just take a needle and prick it so a drop of blood comes out.

(some kind of physical schtik so that the men at the table are all shown to be uncomfortable)

Cousin 1: He's a surgeon! He does worse all the time.

Dad: Oy. Well I gotta hand it to you. First you trap your goyfriend with a baby, then you make him hack his putz. This guy must be really crazy for you.

Cousin 1: He's fantastic.

Son 2: He's certainly a handsome older guy.

Cousin 1: I'm glad you think so. Your approval on that means a lot.

Son 2: Really? Did you hear that apparently I'm gay now?

Cousin 1: I didn't need to. I've known since you were seven.

Son 2: You did? Well I wish you'd said something to me.