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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 4/10/21

Good morning and Happy Weekend!


MUSICAL RESPONSES


A number of people commented on Dave Brubeck. Alan Rosenberg notes “that most of the time, we listen passively. We are working out, cooking, cleaning, talking, etc. Music is in the background. Active listening, in contrast, requires dedication and concentration. The deep dive effort allows for greater connection to music.”


He continues, “To get the most out of Brubeck's Take Five, I had to sit and concentrate. To me, it was interesting to count the fives in that 5/4 signature. But the song goes past intellectual pursuits of time signatures-- it is also moving. I also enjoyed "Blue Rondo" but I couldn't intellectualize the 9/8. No matter how many times I tried the nine count, I couldn't nail it. But the more important thing is that I felt it. That song has a groove that is beyond the obvious. Thanks for the tip.”


He offered up Al Jarreau's version of Take Five, which redefines the song. Start at one minute in if you don't want to hear the intro:


Al Jarreau 1976 -Take Five


Peter Bain says “YES to the love of vinyl and the thrill of rummaging through album bins, and the glory of album art. I’ll never forget the joy of opening Sgt. Peppers and discovering the treats inside its double folds. And lyrics written on the album cover!!!!!


Also, “YES likewise to Brubeck. We used “Take Five” as the opening music to my high school production of “A Shot in the Dark” (yup, it was a play before it became the Peter Sellers movie), pretty dang progressive for a Cincinnati boys school in the mid-70’s, if you ask me! I commend to you as well an album of piano and flute by Claude Bolling and Jean-Pierre Rampal - spectacular music!!!”


MUSIC—PAINT YOUR WAGON—WITH TWO UNLIKELY VOCALISTS…


The answer to both questions is the same. Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood sang in the same movie—Paint Your Wagon, the movie version of the Lerner & Loewe musical. Lee Marvin, “I was Born Under a Wanderin’ Star”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5kq12xf1Uk (his singing begins at 1:20).


Clint Eastwood, “I Talk to the Trees,”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn8YubD01sk


And here they are together in “The Best Things in Life are Dirty”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bj0ryRB8f9A


Paint Your Wagon was a Lerner & Loewe musical. Jean Seberg, who was the female lead in the movie, described Lee Marvin’s voice as “rain gurgling down a rusty pipe,” yet he sang his own songs without being dubbed.


Jean Seberg’s tragic story was made into a musical, Jean, directed by Peter Hall with music by Marvin Hamlisch. It was a colossal flop at the National Theatre in London in 1983 (opening in December of that year and closing in January 1984). I attended an event in Orange County with my parents where Mr. Hamlisch sat around a piano playing tunes from the musical, trying to drum up financial support for the play. My mother declared it a disaster—both for the plot and the music—within minutes of his playing. Right again. Of note, apparently Andrea’s parents were at the same event, though we didn’t know each other at the time.


POETRY


Remembering the famous first line, I decided to go back and this speech from As You Like It, in its entirety. Not exactly inspirational, as I read its words again. Shakespeare does not dote fondly over old age at all:


All the World’s a Stage


All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lined,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.


Happy Weekend,


Glenn

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