Saturday, January 30, 2010

A little melancholy this Saturday afternoon. Having some rare alone time, listening to the classic Turandot recording with Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti and Montserrat Caballe. Went to the library today and got a number of CDs: two Kiri te Kanewa aria collections (Greatest hits and Puccini), a complete Carmen (with Tatiana Troyanos, Placido Domingo and te Kanewa), and a recording of Die Dreigroschenoper (Three Penny Opera) done in the Weimar days in Germany (1929-1931). This last most is very intriguing. I'm not sure yet if it is a complete recording in the sense of it having a self-contained cast and conductor, or if it is a patchwork complete recording, or just highlights. But both Lotte Lenya AND Marlene Dietrich are featured. I look forward to finding that out. I also checked out Philip Norman's new biography of John Lennon, published in 2008. I am very curious to see what information Norman mined that was not available when, say, Ray Coleman wrote his "definitive" Lennon biography about 2o years ago. (Don't even ask me about Albert Goldman's hatchet job.) Here is a link to Amazon's page on this new Lennon bio.

Speaking of Lennon, I just finished reading the 2005 Beatles memoir by Tony Bramwell, "Magical Mystery Tours." He was apparently one of those hangers-on that became acquainted with the band in 1960, and stuck with them the majority of the time between then and the break-up 10 years later. He painted a picture of himself as being indispensable to the group for the most part--accompanying various Beatles on their various excursions. He also, according to his own account, perhaps even more indispensable to Brian Epstein. No reason to dispute it. (It was interesting to note that one of Bramwell's few appearances in Beatle filmdom is as one of the placard-wearers in the All You Need Is Love live video broadcast.) Bramwell's anecdotes are amusing, but he nearly lost me when he revealed a virulent hatred toward Yoko Ono -- a level of bitterness that may have been common in the immediate aftermath of the breakup, but inexplicable as recent as 2005, if you ask me. Bramwell hated Allen Klein too, naturally -- calls him a monster -- but saves his strongest language for Yoko.

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