Saturday, August 25, 2001

Last night at Arlene Grocery The Stones Beggars Banquet album received a brilliant performance by noted musicologist Tammy Faye Starlight and other members of the Mike Hunt band, including Steve Espinola performing the piano parts of Nicky Hopkins. Ms. Starlight played Mick Jagger, who himself played The Devil in the 1968 recording. The percussion in Sympathy for the Devil developed over time under the supervision of Godard documented in the film of the same title.

Sunday, August 19, 2001

The Phenomenon of Leonard Lehrman -- a composer on the fringes of greatness who draws upside-down response from his peers.

His immediate peers fit into two groups that may be defined by niche terms, such an oversimplification being easily objectionable but here are the terms ingrained in my mind and they help to familiarize us, as in volumes of information delivered through shorthand.

People get characterized as Jews, Gays, Episcopals, Catholics, Blacks, Italians, Irish, Midwesterners, et cetera. The first two are highly triggerable, yet here goes because they have a niche element. People characterized thus may actually characterize themselves.

Jewish culture is solid; it may provide the most solid organized lifestyle. It continues to stand the test of time. Christianity, Islam, Rabbi Schnierson Lubivitchers, these are fads arising like weeds in a stone...

And, of course, same sex intercourse has yet to produce offspring... Help me. I'm writing out of ignorance to learn. There are many subjective impressions and by expressing them I hope to arrive at the illusive elusive objective reality.

Some people make a point of being gay. Must I define it? Would that sexuality were so simple. (I ask the same question to those attempting to fit into and live their lives by way of a religious definition.)

I'm currently so far removed from this musical world that I'm ready to conclude this essay.

There is the Eric Gordan biography of Marc Blitzstein. There is Leonard Bernstein's extramarital activities. There is the essay posted at Do certain lifestyles lend themselves to achieving greatness, and is that greatness of necessity controvesial?

Leonard's muse, for the past 12 years, is the talented singer/actress Helene Williams. She is to him what Lotte Lenya was to Kurt Weil. Leonard graduated from Harvard. He has a childish laugh, almost like he's afraid to laugh out loud for being found to be naughty. There is a willingness to be silly about him, as he deals with powerful subjectmatter, perhaps to difuse it and make it palatable. He does communicate fascinating ideas. Is it because of his music that he does so or is the music incidental to the ideas? I relate to him, and feel that my work is a product of being exposed and involved with his work.

There is iron within him. As he documents injustice through his work, he directs its participants with an iron fist. The terms a kinder, gentler Leonard sound encouraging, and he has become that, mellowing with time. He writes beautiful music and draws attention to other work, particularly the work of Marc Blitzstein. He devotes his life to music and through it to other causes to which he's given his respect and which deserve our attention -- naturalisme, anarchy, the dangers of bras, Emma Goldman, the innocence of Sacco and Vanzetti and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Professor Irwin Corey, The Long Island Music Scene including Joel Mandelbaum, the performing genius of Tom Lehar. I acknowledge him now for completing the opera begun in 1960 by Marc Blitzstein and left incomplete at his death in 1964, entitled Sacco and Vanzetti, which premiered this weekend at Lucille Lortel's White Barn Theatre.