Song of the Day: There'll Be Some Changes Made, music by W. Benton Overstreet, lyrics by Billy Higgins, has been recorded by many artists since its debut in the Roaring '20s. Listen to audio clips of versions by Ethel Waters (who sings the rarely heard intro), Ted Lewis, Sophie Tucker, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Peggy Lee, and Tony Bennett.
Notablog readers don't need to be reminded that Derek Jeter is one of my favorite Yankees of all time.
Well, the Yanks are currently losing to the Kansas City Royals, 7-5; the game is in rain delay. But this much is official: Derek Jeter started the evening with 1,999 career hits, and he collected two more, putting his total at 2,001. That makes Jeter only the eighth Yankee in the team's illustrious history to collect 2000 or more hits.
And Go Yanks!
Update: Uh, yeah, the Yanks did end up losing that game, 7-6.
Song of the Day: I'm Confessin' (That I Love You), music by Doc Daugherty and Ellis Reynolds, lyrics by Al J. Neiburg, was my mother and father's "song." This lovely tune has been performed by so many artists through the years. Listen to audio clips of versions by Guy Lombardo, Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France (I also love a rare version with Django on electric guitar), Perry Como, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Tony Bennett with k.d. lang.
I haven't the foggiest. I don't know. I just don't know.
I think Taylor may have won the night by a slim margin... but then again, I'm just not sure. And who knows who the audience will vote for!? I don't think there will be a huge "injustice" either way... but I'd love to hear your thoughts...
Taylor Hicks or Katharine McPhee???
Song of the Day: Get It features the words and music of Stevie Wonder, who duets on this track with Michael Jackson. The two had collaborated before (for example, Jackson performed Stevie's jazz-flavored composition "I Can't Help It; the two also sang together on "Just Good Friends"). But this one dances to its own beat. Listen to an audio clip here.
It gives me great pleasure to announce the publication of the Spring 2006 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. The issue features a dialogue on Ayn Rand's ethics, with contributions from Tibor R. Machan, Frank Bubb, Eric Mack, Douglas B. Rasmussen, Robert H. Bass, Chris Cathcart, and Robert L. Campbell. In addition, there are articles covering topics in epistemology (Merlin Jetton) and literature (Kurt Keefner and Peter Saint-Andre). Other contributors include Sheldon Richman on Thomas Szasz and Ayn Rand; Max Hocutt on postmodernism; Steven Yates on capitalism and commerce; and David M. Brown on the new Ayn Rand Q&A book.
The issue opens with my own tribute to R. W. Bradford, without whom The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies would never have been founded. This Spring 2006 issue is dedicated to the memory of Bradford, Joan Kennedy Taylor, and Chris Tame. A PDF of my tribute piece is available here.
For subscription information, see here.
Song of the Day: Send One Your Love, words and music by Stevie Wonder, is a precious selection from a score he wrote for a 1979 documentary film entitled "The Secret Life of Plants." The album was entitled "Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants"; this song was also a highlight from his "Original Musiquarium I" hits package (audio clip at that link).
Yes, there have been some changes at Notablog. New York University is in the process of providing me with a more efficient blog interface, and it will take a few days for this place to start looking a bit more 'normal.' So bear with us as the Web Team at NYU does some work around here.
Well, last night was the showdown between the final three contestants. For me, Katharine McPhee earned her way into the final installment (to be aired next week) just on the strength of her rendition of "Over the Rainbow." She even sang the rarely heard introduction!
The problem, for me, is that I genuinely like the other two contestants as well: Taylor Hicks and Elliott Yamin. I think the latter has a nice soul presence, and the former is utterly fearless in his performances. If I were a betting man, I'd say it will be Hicks and McPhee in the final installment, but the voting has been known to surprise.
Tonight, we'll see who moves on! Stay tuned...
I've been a busy boy over these many weeks, working on several projects. But I did have the opportunity to see the great film score composer, John Williams, conduct the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall.
I've been to other Lincoln Center tributes to film music: A terrific program in 2005, featuring Itzhak Perlman, which I commented on here, and a previous John Williams appearance in February 2004, "The Art of the Score," which featured selections from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "JFK," the Harry Potter films, "Far and Away," "Catch Me if You Can," "Schindler's List," "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," and a few other classic fanfares and encores (including the theme from "Star Wars").
This year, the Williams program focused on the music of the incomparable Bernard Herrmann, and, in the second half, the various collaborations between Steven Spielberg and John Williams. What made the concert extra-special was the appearance of directors Martin Scorsese and Steve Spielberg as hosts.
Scorsese spoke glowingly of the great Herrmann, and gave us a wonderful portrait of how Herrmann worked. Selections from Herrmann's scores were in abundance: "Death Hunt," from On Dangerous Ground, material from Herrmann's early years in Hollywood (Citizen Kane, The Devil and Daniel Webster, and Currier and Ives), a magnificent section on his immortal collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, featuring excerpts from the films themselves (the lovely, sensitive melody of the "Scene d'Amour" from Vertigo, the unmistakable prelude and jarring shower scene chords from Psycho, and the thrilling main theme from North by Northwest), and two selections from Taxi Driver.
Scorsese told a charming and poignant story of his work with Herrmann on that last film. On the very last night before the film wrapped, Scorsese was looking for one last cue that would somehow convey the off-kilter character of Robert "You Talkin' to Me" DeNiro. Herrmann had the orchestra play a single chord.
"That's it?" Scorsese asked.
"Yes! Play it backwards," the maestro said. And then, Herrmann left the studio.
And they did run the recording of that chord backwards, and it is amazing what that sound conveys.
But it was the last cue ever conducted by Herrmann, who passed away that very evening.
The second half of the program was hosted by Spielberg, and opened with the classic approaching shark theme from Jaws. Williams led the orchestra through excerpts from Close Encounters and Schindler's List (featuring the wonderful Glenn Dicterow on violin). And Spielberg gave us a lesson on the organic role that music plays in the crafting of film, a role that began with those pianists who offered live accompaniment during the silent era. We watched a whole film segment without music from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with River Phoenix as the young Indiana. And then, the orchestra joined in, as Spielberg re-ran the same scene, providing us with a live rendition of the scoring, in sync with the action on film. It was utterly remarkable, and helped us to appreciate the art of the score, not just creatively, but technically as well.
The most breathtaking segment of the concert, however, had to be the finale from E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. I'd seen Williams conduct this particular finale back in 2004, but this time, the orchestra provided live accompaniment for the final segment of the film, which was shown in its entirety on the big screen. Exhilirating, stupendous, phenomenal... there just aren't enough adjectives to describe this experience. It brought me and many other audience members to tears, and in the end, it brought every single person to their feet.
The Williams, Scorsese, and Spielberg commentary made the concert an entertaining and educational treat. But what would any concert be without an encore? Williams re-took the stage after the E.T. extravaganza, and gave us additional material from his recent score to Munich. He also conducted his fanfare for the "NBC Nightly News," since it was doubtful that any of us would get home in time to catch it.
The concert ended with the theme from Star Wars, a triumphal conclusion to a splendid evening.
Song of the Day: Isn't She Lovely? features the words, music, and performance of Stevie Wonder. This exuberant song is from another classic Stevie album: "Songs in the Key of Life" (audio clip at that link). A lyrical celebration of Wonder's newborn daughter Aisha Morris, whose crying is heard on the recording, this song is also a tribute to the love of fathers and mothers: Happy Mother's Day!
Song of the Day: Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours features the words and music of Lee Garrett, Syreeta Wright, Lula Hardaway, and her son, Stevie Wonder, who is today's birthday boy. Listen to an audio clip here, and join us for the next "Twelve Days of Stevie," which will highlight some of my favorite songs from one of my all-time favorite artists.
Song of the Day: Comedian's Galop is a long-time favorite, composed by Dmitri Borisovitch Kabalevsky as part of an orchestral suite, "The Comedians." Yes, I was first exposed to this composition while watching cartoon classics as a kid (audio clip at that link). Also check out audio clips from the full suite, performed by the San Diego Chamber Orchestra.
Song of the Day: Manha de Carnaval (Morning of Carnival), music by Luiz Bonfa, original lyrics by Antonio Maria, English lyrics by George Weiss, Hugo Peretti, and Luigi Creatore, is from the 1959 film, "Black Orpheus." Listen to audio clips of versions from the original soundtrack, Luiz Bonfa (on guitar and vocals), tenor saxophonist Stan Getz with big band, vocalist Astrud Gilberto, and a duet by guitarists John McLaughlin and Al Dimeola.
Song of the Day: Shangri-La, words and music by Carl Sigman, Matty Malneck (an old family friend) and harpist Robert Maxwell, who performs the original instrumental track. Listen to an audio clip of the Maxwell hit, as well as vocal versions by the Four Coins, The Lettermen, and The Vogues (hat tip, JR!).
Song of the Day: Symphony No. 5 in C-Minor, Op. 67, composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, can be identified instantaneously from its first four notes. Listen to audio clips of its various movements, as played by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The opening four-note hook has permeated so much of musical culture. It even shows up in disco on the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack, in Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven" (audio clip at that link). Celebrate the Fifth on the Fifth of the Fifth month.
Song of the Day: Magic Lady (audio clip at that link) features the words and music of Sergio Mendes, Michael Sembello, and Gene Lees. Though I have enjoyed listening to the album version, I utterly adored many-a-live renditions of this, performed by my jazz guitarist brother Carl and jazz singer-sister-in-law Joanne, when they were doing the Village circuit in the mid-1970s.
Song of the Day: It Never Entered My Mind features the music of Richard Rodgers and the lyrics of today's birthday boy, Lorenz Hart. It was first heard in the 1940 Broadway production of "Higher and Higher." It has been recorded by many artists, including Sarah Vaughan, Linda Ronstadt, Chet Baker, and Miles Davis (audio clips at those links).