The Now Spinning/Recent Purchases Thread

Walkinat9

Well-Known Member
We had the same experience here. I had The Planets on an RCA LP (I'm thinking Eugene Ormandy conducted it...?), and in the mid 80s, Telarc finally came out with a CD version of it that is my go-to version. About five years ago, we went to see The Planets live--the medical school at a major university has its own orchestra and gives free concerts throughout the season, and it was a great experience. The choir was way up in the balcony, so it was kind of eerie to hear the voices floating around the auditorium.

For the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #3, I'd had a chance to see Olga Kern perform it a few years ago, but couldn't make it over to that side of the state. (The tickets weren't expensive.) She performed it in a Van Cliburn competition many years ago and won the top prize for her performance, which is here:


What an ethereal (and also eerie) way to experience the haunting voices of the choir, coming up from above, very befitting d:)b
When I saw it, the choir was next to the stage, behind a big door which they would slowly close in order to get the fade-out effect.

I wasn't familiar with this piano concerto, I only "knew" the one featured in that one Marilyn Monroe scene (The Seven Year Itch) :cool: 🎹

This 3rd one by Rachmaninoff one sounds nice and picturesque, Olga Kern plays it wonderfully!
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
This 3rd one by Rachmaninoff one sounds nice and picturesque, Olga Kern plays it wonderfully!
She plays it similarly to Van Cliburn--her great grandmother actually had ties to the composer (she was a mezzo-soprano, and when her accompanist fell sick, the only pianist she could find who could play the piano accompaniment was the composer himself, Rachmaninoff, and he agreed to help her). Olga's parents were both pianists as well. She grew up playing Van Cliburn's recording of the 3rd, and there's a companion video of her arriving in the US for her performance, showing the tattered sheet music she learned the 3rd from.

It's a beast to play, and amazing to see it performed up close like this.

I have four different versions of Rachmaninoff's 3rd--it's a toss-up as to whether I prefer Van Cliburn's or Vladimir Ashkenazy's on any given day (bonus on the latter is a favorite conductor of mine, Bernard Haitink, conducting). They're both good, and similarly but not identically performed. There's also pianist Byron Janis (with Antal Dorati conducting), and pianist Steven Hough (with Andrew Litton conducting the Dallas Symphony Orchestra).

The 3rd is my favorite, but the 2nd Piano Concerto is also a good listen. The 1st is OK--it's an earlier work and a bit tentative. The 4th is more complex.

Another piano concerto I've liked is Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3.
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
I must admit that I'm more of a small ensemble kind of a guy with classical music, so usually I would listen to chamber music or easy piano, guitar or violin music or piano trios/quartets. Stylewise second half 19th century to early 20th century is nice for me, so yes, in that aspect, Rudy's faves Debussy and Bartok are on my favorites list as well (mostly piano pieces). But your mentioning the Brahms symphonies made me curious, although symphonies and concertos can sometimes be a bit too bombastic for me (in certain movements). I like pretty harmonies/melodies and preferrably no voices.
I fancy the small ensembles myself (string quartets of course, but wind ensembles, and those chamber ensembles that score for various woodwinds, strings, and french horn) -- but ultimately, the symphony (or symphonic poem) remains my favourite musical vehicle: In short -- If I had to grab only 5 records to listen to for the rest of my life they would all be symphonies.

To best avoid bombastic symphonies, avoid bombastic orchestras. By the late 1800 the orchestras has grown immense in size during the previous 100 years. I would recommend "HIP" recordings. These historically inspired performance feature the orchestras playing the symphonies as originally arranged and scored for the smaller orchestras of the day. Period instruments or replicas are of course used -- for instance in the case of much of Beethoven's symphonies, this would mean using the natural trumpet -- since a viable the valve trumpet hadn't yet been invented. For the most melodic pre-Wagnerian symphonies, I would offer the following: Beethoven #1, 4, 6, 8; Schubert, #1-6; Mendelssohn #3; Berwald (Swedish composer) #1-4 -- all as HIP recordings if possible. When you want to up the ante: Beethoven (#7, #5, #3); Schubert (#8, 9), Mendelssohn (#1, 2, 4, 5); Schumann (all 4) would be your next move.
 

Walkinat9

Well-Known Member
She plays it similarly to Van Cliburn--her great grandmother actually had ties to the composer (she was a mezzo-soprano, and when her accompanist fell sick, the only pianist she could find who could play the piano accompaniment was the composer himself, Rachmaninoff, and he agreed to help her). Olga's parents were both pianists as well. She grew up playing Van Cliburn's recording of the 3rd, and there's a companion video of her arriving in the US for her performance, showing the tattered sheet music she learned the 3rd from.

It's a beast to play, and amazing to see it performed up close like this.

I have four different versions of Rachmaninoff's 3rd--it's a toss-up as to whether I prefer Van Cliburn's or Vladimir Ashkenazy's on any given day (bonus on the latter is a favorite conductor of mine, Bernard Haitink, conducting). They're both good, and similarly but not identically performed. There's also pianist Byron Janis (with Antal Dorati conducting), and pianist Steven Hough (with Andrew Litton conducting the Dallas Symphony Orchestra).

The 3rd is my favorite, but the 2nd Piano Concerto is also a good listen. The 1st is OK--it's an earlier work and a bit tentative. The 4th is more complex.

Another piano concerto I've liked is Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3.
And what a great full circle that is, with the Rachmaninoff connections. I should pull out one of the few Rachmaninoff 78s I have (in his honor), where he plays the 2nd movement of his 2nd concerto, late 1920s I believe.

Haitink and Antal Dorati I remember seeing on record labels and covers, but I don't think there's anything in my relatively small classical collection (yet?).
 

Walkinat9

Well-Known Member
I fancy the small ensembles myself (string quartets of course, but wind ensembles, and those chamber ensembles that score for various woodwinds, strings, and french horn) -- but ultimately, the symphony (or symphonic poem) remains my favourite musical vehicle: In short -- If I had to grab only 5 records to listen to for the rest of my life they would all be symphonies.

To best avoid bombastic symphonies, avoid bombastic orchestras. By the late 1800 the orchestras has grown immense in size during the previous 100 years. I would recommend "HIP" recordings. These historically inspired performance feature the orchestras playing the symphonies as originally arranged and scored for the smaller orchestras of the day. Period instruments or replicas are of course used -- for instance in the case of much of Beethoven's symphonies, this would mean using the natural trumpet -- since a viable the valve trumpet hadn't yet been invented. For the most melodic pre-Wagnerian symphonies, I would offer the following: Beethoven #1, 4, 6, 8; Schubert, #1-6; Mendelssohn #3; Berwald (Swedish composer) #1-4 -- all as HIP recordings if possible. When you want to up the ante: Beethoven (#7, #5, #3); Schubert (#8, 9), Mendelssohn (#1, 2, 4, 5); Schumann (all 4) would be your next move.
Thanks for the recommendations, I'll keep them in mind :)
I wasn't even aware of this HIP difference, interesting. I like the idea of using authentic type of instruments. I wonder if the CD cover or booklet would indicate if it involves a HIP recording, or should we just know from reviews and such?
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
Haitink and Antal Dorati I remember seeing on record labels and covers, but I don't think there's anything in my relatively small classical collection (yet?).
Dorati was our local symphony's principal conductor during the late 70s through 1981, although I never got a chance to attend while he was around.

Haitink I kind of lucked into--we had played one of the Debussy Trois Nocturnes in band ("Fetes"), and several years later on CD, I grabbed one that Haitink had conducted. The recording dated to the mid 70s on the Philips label. These were combined with other Debussy works on an SACD, which is the current copy I own.

In recent years, I discovered a lot more of his recordings. It turns out that Philips had three large CD sets of his recordings (which may be out print now). One 7-CD set, The Art of Bernard Haitink, had highlights of his Philips recordings. The best of the three might be the 20-CD The Philips Years as it covered some symphonies, but also covered other works that weren't full symphonies (like the Debussy). That was eclipsed by the 36-CD The Symphony Edition that included the complete symphony cycles of Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Schumann and Tchaikovsky. These out of print sets are commanding silly money these days. These were just from his years at Philips, and he'd recorded for a couple of other labels throughout his career.

I like his style since to me it sounds more organic and emotional, where I've found other conductors to be a bit too robotic or bombastic.

One oddball choice is the conductor Eiji Oue--I have a few of his recordings (on the Reference Recordings label, with the Minnesota Orchestra), but some of his approaches are unconventional. For instance, his Firebird Suite takes a couple of liberties with the tempo--the "fanfare" ending he conducts at a far faster pace than anyone else I've ever heard. Still, his are a nice alternative to freshen things up a bit.

This is among my favorites of Eiji Oue's recordings, Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances. Here are the first two, and a small part of the third.

 

Walkinat9

Well-Known Member
Dorati was our local symphony's principal conductor during the late 70s through 1981, although I never got a chance to attend while he was around.

Haitink I kind of lucked into--we had played one of the Debussy Trois Nocturnes in band ("Fetes"), and several years later on CD, I grabbed one that Haitink had conducted. The recording dated to the mid 70s on the Philips label. These were combined with other Debussy works on an SACD, which is the current copy I own.

In recent years, I discovered a lot more of his recordings. It turns out that Philips had three large CD sets of his recordings (which may be out print now). One 7-CD set, The Art of Bernard Haitink, had highlights of his Philips recordings. The best of the three might be the 20-CD The Philips Years as it covered some symphonies, but also covered other works that weren't full symphonies (like the Debussy). That was eclipsed by the 36-CD The Symphony Edition that included the complete symphony cycles of Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Schumann and Tchaikovsky. These out of print sets are commanding silly money these days. These were just from his years at Philips, and he'd recorded for a couple of other labels throughout his career.

I like his style since to me it sounds more organic and emotional, where I've found other conductors to be a bit too robotic or bombastic.

One oddball choice is the conductor Eiji Oue--I have a few of his recordings (on the Reference Recordings label, with the Minnesota Orchestra), but some of his approaches are unconventional. For instance, his Firebird Suite takes a couple of liberties with the tempo--the "fanfare" ending he conducts at a far faster pace than anyone else I've ever heard. Still, his are a nice alternative to freshen things up a bit.

This is among my favorites of Eiji Oue's recordings, Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances. Here are the first two, and a small part of the third.

But 36-CD set???! :-o And I thought my 13-CD set of Glenn Miller's complete Bluebird recordings was a big one :jester:

I'm sure I've seen Antal Dorati's name on the label of a 78rpm disc, maybe even in my own collection 🤔

Listening to the Eiji Oue recording now (sounds pleasant so far...) :phones:
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
It's a beast to play, and amazing to see it performed up close like this.

I have four different versions of Rachmaninoff's 3rd--it's a toss-up as to whether I prefer Van Cliburn's or Vladimir Ashkenazy's on any given day (bonus on the latter is a favorite conductor of mine, Bernard Haitink, conducting). They're both good, and similarly but not identically performed. There's also pianist Byron Janis (with Antal Dorati conducting), and pianist Steven Hough (with Andrew Litton conducting the Dallas Symphony Orchestra).
Oh, good grief! The 3rd! What a workout... I have four as well:
  • Ashkenazy [Fistoulari--Decca/'63]
  • Janis [Dorati--Mercury/'61]
  • Kocsis [De Waart--Philips/'83]
  • Cliburn [Kondrashin--RCA/'58]
Janis' performance is my favourite of this lot.

Thanks for the recommendations, I'll keep them in mind :)
I wasn't even aware of this HIP difference, interesting. I like the idea of using authentic type of instruments. I wonder if the CD cover or booklet would indicate if it involves a HIP recording, or should we just know from reviews and such?
When you search for recordings, just include "HIP" (historically informed performance -- I goofed up above!) in your internet searches. The acronym is pretty much used throughout the industry these days. As a launching pad, there are a few conductors that have released HIP recordings of note...so you can start here: Roger Norrington, Charles MacKerras, John Eliot Gardner, Christopher Hogwood, Franz Bruggen, Roy Goodman.

Also, keep in mind that the goal of HIP, at least as I understand it, was to present works as the composer intended -- be it Norrington's very fast tempi on Beethoven's #1 (which most critics absolutely hate -- yet is reportedly how Beethoven marked his score), or the correct orchestra size and orchestration (as we know, there's nothing worse than having to painfully endure Rhapsody In Blue scored for a stuffy, sluggish 60-piece orchestra when the piece was originally conceived for a '20s-era 20-piece concert band with a few added strings and banjo).
 

Walkinat9

Well-Known Member
Oh, good grief! The 3rd! What a workout... I have four as well:
  • Ashkenazy [Fistoulari--Decca/'63]
  • Janis [Dorati--Mercury/'61]
  • Kocsis [De Waart--Philips/'83]
  • Cliburn [Kondrashin--RCA/'58]
Janis' performance is my favourite of this lot.


When you search for recordings, just include "HIP" (historically informed performance -- I goofed up above!) in your internet searches. The acronym is pretty much used throughout the industry these days. As a launching pad, there are a few conductors that have released HIP recordings of note...so you can start here: Roger Norrington, Charles MacKerras, John Eliot Gardner, Christopher Hogwood, Franz Bruggen, Roy Goodman.

Also, keep in mind that the goal of HIP, at least as I understand it, was to present works as the composer intended -- be it Norrington's very fast tempi on Beethoven's #1 (which most critics absolutely hate -- yet is reportedly how Beethoven marked his score), or the correct orchestra size and orchestration (as we know, there's nothing worse than having to painfully endure Rhapsody In Blue scored for a stuffy, sluggish 60-piece orchestra when the piece was originally conceived for a '20s-era 20-piece concert band with a few added strings and banjo).
Frans Brüggen is a familiar name; I have a 7" promotional disc from 1972 of him playing the recorder (or maybe several recorders), music by Loeillet.

I wonder if the difference between HIP recordings and non-HIP recordings is noticeable...

What a revelation to hear that Rhapsody was meant to be played with a banjo! I don't remember hearing one in Paul Whiteman's late 1920s recording of it, or maybe I just didn't notice it... Will have to give it another listen :)
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
My grandmother used to have Rhapsody on 78s, as performed by Gershwin. And I know she bought the LP version of it later on.

When she heard the version I had on CD (Telarc CD-80058, Eugene List piano, Erich Kunzel conducting the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), she took note since the performance was very close to Gershwin's original. Not bad for a 1981-era digital recording.

She was a big classical music listener--she had literally hundreds of 12-inch 78s in the front hall closet, and a good selection of LPs to go along with it. I wish she were around at this late date, as it would have been interesting to compare notes on what she and I liked. I know she was fond of Tchaikovsky as well as Gershwin.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
This is the version of The Planets that I prefer out of the handful I have:

1629857112811.png

This one, on the other hand, left me a bit cold as it comes across as too robotic and brisk paced for my taste.

1629857239261.png
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
I wonder if the difference between HIP recordings and non-HIP recordings is noticeable...
Very much so! Beethoven and all pre-1820 music -- so Haydn, Mozart and the 1700s gang...

To me, Beethoven's symphonies are reinvented when played lighter, tighter, and in a more nimble manner and for my nickel, HID here is my preference.
 

Stevenj

Well-Known Member
My grandmother used to have Rhapsody on 78s, as performed by Gershwin. And I know she bought the LP version of it later on.

When she heard the version I had on CD (Telarc CD-80058, Eugene List piano, Erich Kunzel conducting the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), she took note since the performance was very close to Gershwin's original. Not bad for a 1981-era digital recording.

She was a big classical music listener--she had literally hundreds of 12-inch 78s in the front hall closet, and a good selection of LPs to go along with it. I wish she were around at this late date, as it would have been interesting to compare notes on what she and I liked. I know she was fond of Tchaikovsky as well as Gershwin.
I work for United Airlines, so Rhapsody in Blue feels like a part of my life. My favorite is James Levine and The Chicago Symphony Orchestra due to the fine recording and also the album has Cuban Overture.
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
(Western Art Music Survey, 1750-1950: Week XXIX -- Rimsky-Korsakov)

DSC01980.jpg
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Sonny Clark. A very lyrical pianist -- which, according to Michael Cuscuna, accounts for his enduring popularity in Japan -- I think of Sonny's trio offerings as jazz for people who are on the fence so to speak in terms of their understanding of the music form. Passing in 1963 at age 31, luckily, we have quite a few artifacts. Close friend Bill Evans dedicated his piece, NYC's No Lark (an anagram of "Sonny Clark"), to him after his death. His music is very likable and to this day Sonny remains the only pianist from the '50s/'60s about which I've yet to read one negative critique.

DSC01983.jpg
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
Speaking of Rimsky-Korsakov, this takes me back to my high school days:


We'd performed it in Honors Band in junior high, and again in our regular band class in high school.
 

Walkinat9

Well-Known Member
My grandmother used to have Rhapsody on 78s, as performed by Gershwin. And I know she bought the LP version of it later on.

When she heard the version I had on CD (Telarc CD-80058, Eugene List piano, Erich Kunzel conducting the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), she took note since the performance was very close to Gershwin's original. Not bad for a 1981-era digital recording.

She was a big classical music listener--she had literally hundreds of 12-inch 78s in the front hall closet, and a good selection of LPs to go along with it. I wish she were around at this late date, as it would have been interesting to compare notes on what she and I liked. I know she was fond of Tchaikovsky as well as Gershwin.
Sounds like a little paradise at your grandmother's house with all those 78s. Great to have other music lovers in the family, in earlier generations already. I too have quite a few classical 10-inch/12-inch 78s, but definitely not hundreds. Your grandmother's 78s have inspired me to spin a few myself :)

As for The Planets: I'm still hoping to find an affordable 78rpm-set from 1926 (although I already have that on LP) and I might pick up Tomita's 1976 version on vinyl for the fun of it :cool:



Sonny Clark. A very lyrical pianist -- which, according to Michael Cuscuna, accounts for his enduring popularity in Japan -- I think of Sonny's trio offerings as jazz for people who are on the fence so to speak in terms of their understanding of the music form. Passing in 1963 at age 31, luckily, we have quite a few artifacts. Close friend Bill Evans dedicated his piece, NYC's No Lark (an anagram of "Sonny Clark"), to him after his death. His music is very likable and to this day Sonny remains the only pianist from the '50s/'60s about which I've yet to read one negative critique.

DSC01983.jpg
Clever anagram, listening to it now, about to listen to a Sonny Clark track after this (heard of his name before, but didn't know his music)
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
Fascinating! Released today on CD, vinyl, download and streaming. I've listened to it a couple of times already. I hear so many different flavors here. Lyle Mays' composing, of course--I'd recognize that anywhere. A lot of the sound reminds me of his first and second albums (Lyle Mays and Street Dreams). There's also a bit of the Pat Metheny Group, especially The Way Up. Yet I also hear tidbits of the ECM Records aesthetic, especially on the tunes that "Eberhard's" namesake Eberhard Weber performed on. The wordless vocals will remind me of the style from Weber's album Fluid Rustle; yet the melody throws back to that Metheny Group influence (or was it Lyle's influence on the PMG?). It has a broad and almost orchestral feel to it. The sad part is that, had Lyle not passed, we missed out on more tunes with this much thought put into them.

Here's "Eberhard" in its entirety.



1630104816637.png
 
Last edited:

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Speaking of Rimsky-Korsakov, this takes me back to my high school days:


We'd performed it in Honors Band in junior high, and again in our regular band class in high school.
(Man, you can tell it's a post-1990 American orchestra right off the bat given all the overweight musicians.🤪)

Yeah, we struggled through the 4th movement of Sheherazade in a HS festival. Went all the way to Phoenix to lay an egg. I think the judges gave us a "2" (we deserved a "3") -- probably feeling sorry for us because we came such a long distance just to foul the whole thing up.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
Yeah, we struggled through the 4th movement of Sheherazade in a HS festival. Went all the way to Phoenix to lay an egg. I think the judges gave us a "2" (we deserved a "3") -- probably feeling sorry for us because we came such a long distance just to foul the whole thing up.
I wish I could remember what pieces we performed at band festival. In sophomore year, I think our festival piece (or pieces?) were release on an LP, which I have in storage. But for junior year, I swore we'd played something called "Symphony for Band," but having just listened to symphonies by Hindemith, Persichetti and Gould, none of them are anywhere close to what we played (and I swore it was the Hindemith).

I think at one point we played Suite of Old American Dances (Robert Russell Bennett) as it sounds vaguely familiar (this might have been in Honors Band), and I know we played Grainger's "Lincolnshire Posy" (which I never cared for). We also played "Suite Française" by Darius Milhaud, and "George Washington Bridge" by William Schuman. Our band director wasn't overly fond of symphonic (string) works adapted to concert band, so he sought out pieces written specifically for concert band.

 

Walkinat9

Well-Known Member
I wish I could remember what pieces we performed at band festival. In sophomore year, I think our festival piece (or pieces?) were release on an LP, which I have in storage. But for junior year, I swore we'd played something called "Symphony for Band," but having just listened to symphonies by Hindemith, Persichetti and Gould, none of them are anywhere close to what we played (and I swore it was the Hindemith).

I think at one point we played Suite of Old American Dances (Robert Russell Bennett) as it sounds vaguely familiar (this might have been in Honors Band), and I know we played Grainger's "Lincolnshire Posy" (which I never cared for). We also played "Suite Française" by Darius Milhaud, and "George Washington Bridge" by William Schuman. Our band director wasn't overly fond of symphonic (string) works adapted to concert band, so he sought out pieces written specifically for concert band.

The long rich cinematic sounding chords in that piece I like :)
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
I wish I could remember what pieces we performed at band festival. In sophomore year, I think our festival piece (or pieces?) were release on an LP, which I have in storage. But for junior year, I swore we'd played something called "Symphony for Band," but having just listened to symphonies by Hindemith, Persichetti and Gould, none of them are anywhere close to what we played (and I swore it was the Hindemith).

I think at one point we played Suite of Old American Dances (Robert Russell Bennett) as it sounds vaguely familiar (this might have been in Honors Band), and I know we played Grainger's "Lincolnshire Posy" (which I never cared for). We also played "Suite Française" by Darius Milhaud, and "George Washington Bridge" by William Schuman. Our band director wasn't overly fond of symphonic (string) works adapted to concert band, so he sought out pieces written specifically for concert band.
The orchestra was much more exciting than symphonic band. For "band" I agree pieces specifically for wind ensemble were better selections. These were nearly always from American "composers" from the world of academia... Some were interesting, most were more like technical studies. At least with the orchestra you had a chance to play some works from historically significant composers. (You also didn't have all those awful scrub-level musicians forced into band: the orchestra by-and-large were a dedicated lot, while symphonic band, at its worst, was a depository of force-fed student musicians. As my friend, Jeff (who hated "band"), told me in 11th grade: "When I told my parents I was tired of band and wanted to quit, my mom said: 'We bought that damn clarinet with our good income tax return money...now you're gonna play that thing even if we have to shove it up your butt to do it!' " 🤪🥴(Oh, my!!!)
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
We're lucky that we had two bands in high school. It was difficult to get into symphonic band--only a select few were chosen. The rest went to the concert band. Our director pushed us quite hard--symphonic band was not the easy gig. He was getting us college-level works, and we were taking a "1" at every band festival we attended. So yeah, he was a perfectionist. He rubbed some students the wrong way; a few almost hated him, but they wanted to be in symphonic band bad enough that they lived with it. On top of it, he was teaching us music theory and gave us some of the history behind each piece we performed. He also taught us the basics of conducting and, anyone who wanted to could have a chance at the podium. (In later years, he became known for his expertise in conducting.)

The funny part is that when I auditioned, I thought the high school had sent one of their students to audition us at the junior high school....turned out he was the band directory. So yeah...he was young at the time. I think our high school was his second teaching gig. The sad part was that he was given a pink slip in 1981, on the last day of school--he would not be back for our senior year. Our high school cut back to five hours, cut out lunch, cut out athletics, and pink slipped other low-tenure teachers. He went on to teach at another district nearby for many years, winning awards for it. Today, he's the long-term Director of Bands at a nearby major university.

So I was fortunate to have his expertise in my life at that age. I probably could have gone into music (in fact, many were surprised when I chose not to pursue it, especially since I was cursed with perfect pitch as far back as five years old). I probably could revive those old instincts if I wanted to but, with no professional outlet, it's pointless to take it up. (And honestly, I'd probably take up flute as my woodwind of choice over anything else I can play, but would prefer to go back to the piano.)

Jazz band class was more fun, since we gigged often after school, at different locations around the area. Our director wasn't quite as hip to jazz, but we at least got the technical parts right. The former band director from our junior high school volunteered his time once a week to come in and teach the jazz band class, as he was a second tenor/woodwind player in one of the major big bands in our area. So he put the finishing touches on what we were playing.

After our high school band director was pink-slipped, the school district put the screws to this same former junior high school band director--they made him teach two hours at our school (symphonic and concert band--jazz band class was eliminated), gave him an hour's break to drive, and taught at another high school in our district for the remaining two hours. He hated teaching high school; he even hated teaching junior high when we had him as a teacher. He had switched over to teaching at the elementary school level, as he couldn't deal with the adolescent attitudes. I don't know how long he lasted in this split job, but you could tell he wasn't happy with it.
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
Listening to Thunderclap Newman "Hollywood Dream" (1969 & 1970) which has the song "Something In The Air" (which appeared in the movies "The Magic Christian" with Peter Sellers & Ringo Starr which I do have on DVD & "The Strawberry Statement" with Kim Darby which I have not seen). Great but strange album which I downloaded from Apple iTunes (Produced by Pete Townshend of The Who who also plays on the album). That album has 6 more bonus tracks. That album has the late guitarist Jimmy McCulloch (Stone The Crows & Paul McCartney's Wings). Singer, the late John "Speedy" Keen voice reminds me of former singer Jon Anderson of Yes!! The late Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers also did "Something In The Air" in late 1993 (from "Greatest Hits").
 
Top Bottom