Tuesday, March 18, 2008

GEORGE JELLINEK: BUY THIS BOOK (do yourself a favor)

George Jellinek was affiliated with WQXR in New York for many years. His nationally syndicated program The Vocal Scene ran for over thirty years. I first heard Ponselle, Ruffo, Caruso, Lisitsian and many other great names on George's programs. Now he has written a memoir, "My Road to Radio and The Vocal Scene".
Do yourselves a favor and buy this book.
For me, George has always been the role model of intelligence and decency in music broadcasting.
I first met George on my Met Quiz debut (!) back in 1985.
He was already legendary to those of us who loved music and great singing.
I was selling records at Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue.
George was kind, friendly and altogether welcoming to me on that day and on any day I was privileged to be with him.
(We are hardly close friends. I don't flatter myself)
I don't think I ever heard the man say a derogatory word.
His new book is filled with warm reminiscences of may people
whose singing you have loved and I have loved.
If you want gossip of schlock criticisms this book is not for you.
Otherwise grad it.
Bravo, George!


I posted the above on the opera-l, site some days ago.
It was passed on to Geroge Jellinek who e mailed me as follows:

A dear friend called my attention to your lovely tribute. I am not in good health,
but your kind words brought back great memories and much consolation. Of course I remember you form the Quiz and other writings,
and consider you a DEAR FRIEND...

The caps are his.

So there!
But the book and say a prayer for George's health.

Monday, March 17, 2008

That's DOCTOR Big Butt, to you!!

Yesterday at Ohio State's winter commencement I officially became a DMA-doctor of Musical Arts. This after a few yeas of fun, some interesting times, help from good people and a bureaucracy that would be Orwellian if not in the end, so funny. In short, I rocked. So did a lot of people. The bureaucracy did not.

Did I march or walk or skate or what have you? I did not.
A fall on the ice last week dislocated my shoulder and has me reaching for the milk chocolate Eater eggs and jelly beans with my right hand.
In fact I'm reaching myself right back to Optifast. But this time I'll be drinking those shakes as a DOCTOR!
People ask me "What are you going to do with this degree?" Its a perfectly sensible question but it surprised me and the answer is I haven't any idea. Music therapy would require yet ANOTHER degree-dear Christ.
The DMA does me no good at WOSU. They have hit men looking for me here.
A classical music version of Laugh-In? Maybe. We'll see.

Still I guess its fun being a doctor, though its not a title I suppose I'll ever use.
The best part was finishing the Edward Downes memoir that became the dissertation.

Gotta go ice my shoulder.