I hadn’t heard until now that Sid Caesar died on the twelfth.
From the YouTube page:
[From "Kovacs Corner" on YouTube.com] – First telecast on “Caesar’s Hour” on October 10, 1955 over NBC, this kinescoped sketch is a take-off on the Italian opera “Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Sid plays the role of “Gallipacci” (“Canio” in the real opera) an actor in a traveling Italian comedia dell’arte troupe during the late 19th century. His wife “Rosa” (“Nedda” in tha actual opera), who is played by singer and comedienne Nanette Fabray, falls in love with fellow actor “Emilio” (the opera’s “Silvio” character), performed by Carl Reiner, and they make plans to elope. Sid sings a rendition of songs in a jibberish Italian dialect which he picked up in his youth from waiting tables at his father’s 24-hour blue-collar diner in Yonkers, New York. Straying off of the real opera’s musical score just a bit, we hear hilariously bastardized renditions of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, Cole Porter’s “Begin The Beguine”, and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” among others. Howie Morris (Ernest T. Bass from “The Andy Griffith Show”) is “Vesuvio” (whose real opera character is “Tonio”) and he performs a parody song and dance rountine to the tune “If I Know What You Know”. In one of the most famous “saves” in the history of live television, Sid was supposed to paint a teardrop on his cheek when the mascara pencil broke at the beginning of his nonsense rendition of “Just One of Those Things”. Not breaking his stride, Sid proceeds to pick up one of Nanette’s lip brushes and paints an unscripted tic-tac-toe board on his face. The grand finale concluded with a variation of the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas” after Gallipacci takes care of the situation along the lines of a Mafia hit. Also, in the early days of live television, one time “specials” which pre-empted regular series programs were initially called “spectaculars”. Listen for a young Don Pardo introducing the sketch.
I just learned that Ursula Holliger, harpist and wife of Heinz Holliger, died on January 21.
Pete Seeger died yesterday. He lived a very long life, to be sure, but it’s still sad to read this news.
New York Times article
Just a few videos …
… and from 2012
If you want to see the making of Forever Young watch this:
Claudio Abbado, a conductor whose refined interpretations of a large symphonic and operatic repertory won him the directorships of several of the world’s most revered musical institutions — including La Scala, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna State Opera and the Berlin Philharmonic — died on Monday. He was 80.
(Just yesterday I had read that his Orchestra Mozart had suspended activity temporarily and the article mentioned Abbado’s health as a possible issue. I’m very sad to read this news today.)
New York Times
London Symphony Orchestra
Yusef Lateef, innovative tenor saxophonist, oboist, flutist and composer, died on December 23 after a brief illness, his wife Ayesha confirmed. He was 93.
(Yes, I do intend to stay silent, but I figured losses should be posted in a timely manner.)
I just read that Conrad Susa died yesterday.
I just read of Sir John Tavener’s death.
SF Gate article
… a very long interview that I’ve not watched fully (so I haven’t a clue what he says. Shame on me, but I have to go teach now!):
Poet Seamus Heaney died today. I studied some of his work when I was trying to be a poet.
From the YouTube page:
I – A Dream of Flight
II – Anxiety Dream
III – Waking in Tears
IV – Glanmore Sonnet #10
Recorded live and unedited (well one edit to replace a broken string!) on May 21st, 2013 at the Gold Room, Pasadena, CA.
Kate Allen, Adrian Spence, Nicholas Daniel, Catherine Leonard, Richard Yongjae O’Neill & Warren Jones perform Ian Wilson’s Dreamgarden, a work inspired by one of Seamus Heaney’s Glanmore Sonnets.
Dreamgarden was commissioned by Camerata Pacifica, with generous support from Robert M. Light and Ann Koepfli, and dedicated to the memory of former Board member and friend Sandy Saunderson and his wife Lulu.
This was one of 4 performances premiering the work in the United States.
www.cameratapacifica.org. Camerata Pacifica is a chamber music ensemble based in Santa Barbara that performs a monthly series of concerts in Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Marino, and Zipper Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. Founded by Adrian Spence in 1990, the group is composed of the finest performers of chamber music from around the world. The ensemble is distinctive for artistic excellence, an innovative approach to classical music and a repertoire that ranges from baroque to brand new, from familiar masterworks to works that have yet to become favorites.