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30 May 2013

100th Anniversary of premier of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps / here's Nijinsky a-doin the Rhumba / here's her Social Security Nhumba

Click to enlarge. Set dials to desired Past or Future destination.

Hi Mary, salut Axel --

Thanks for the great and rare links.

Because no one on Earth could possibly care about my odd neuroses, I'll write this off-List ...

I have a personal affection for all classical, symphonic and operatic works whose premieres ignited audience fistfights. I'm pretty sure a real screaming brawl erupted at the premier of Le Sacre du Printemps.
It was written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company; the original choreography was by Vaslav Nijinsky, with stage designs and costumes by Nicholas Roerich. When first performed, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation and almost a riot in the audience.
Most of the violent brawls I've seen, the brawlers and screamers are wearing informal attire, and the room reeks of strong, cheap drink.

But once in a while -- about as frequently as a flyby by Halley's Comet -- the brawlers and screamers are wearing gorgeous gowns and expensive fur coats and diamonds and pearls and evening dress and top hats. If there's a fragrance of alcohol, it's the finest champagne. THOSE are the brawls I love the most.

And of course the music isn't accidentally G-22 (a Country & Western tune) on the Wurlitzer juke box, but a symphonic classic.

When I finally get my Time Machine working, one of the first destinations I'll set the dials for is Paris 29 May 1913, with enough advance time to buy a good seat for the premier of Le Sacre. And a few hours to rent evening attire and a top hat.

Thanks, merci, dank u wel!


Massachusetts USA

----- Original Message -----
From: Axel Van Looy
To: Discussion of the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould.
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 4:32 AM
Subject: Re: [f_minor] Happy Birthday "Le Sacre"

Thanks Mary for the mail and link,

Yesterday ARTE celebrated the 100th anniversary with 

- a live broadcast from the Théâtre des Champs Elysées where the Sacre was represented twice : once with the original choreography of 1913 and one with a new creation by Sasha Waltz.

- a documentary by Dag Freyer about the year 1913

- the film by Jan Kounen : Coco Chanel & Igor Strawinski (2009)

I only saw the live broadcast yesterday, rest will come in the weekend.



Le 29 mai 2013 à 23:34, maryellen jensen a écrit :

Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du printemps" celebrates its 100th birthday today:

Here's a link to a splendid documentary of an older Leonard Bernstein rehearsing a
younger Schleswig-Holstein orchestra in the art of 'bestial' effects; this is one of the best docus of Bernstein at work that I've ever seen: Vive Le Sacre !! Vive Bernstein !!

English, a little German with Italian subtitles, it's a miracle the thing is still available to be seen so catch it while you can.



As he lay on his deathbed, what were Leonard Bernstein's last words?

It's STINE!!!


Here is Grover Whelan
the Trylon
over on the West Coast
we have Treasure Island
Here's Nijinksy a-doin the Rhumba
Here's her Social Secutity Number

-- "Lydia the Tattooed Lady"
from "At the Circus" (1939)
by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg
sung by Groucho Marx

from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopydia

Lydia the Tattooed Lady

"Lydia, the Tattooed Lady" is a 1939 song written by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg.[1] It first appeared in the 1939 Marx Brothers movie At the Circus and became one of Groucho Marx's signature tunes. In 1950 Groucho famously 'stopped' trading at the New York Stock Exchange by commandeering a microphone and singing the song before telling jokes for 15 minutes, during which time traders suspended their work to watch him perform.[2] The lyrics made many contemporary references to topical personalities such as Grover Whalen, who opened the World's Fair in 1939. The complex lyrics written by Yip Harburg with clever rhymes such as Lydia/encyclopedia were inspired by W.S.Gilbert.[1]
Among the items, persons, and scenes tattooed on Lydia's body are the Battle of Waterloo (on her back), The Wreck of the Hesperus (beside it), the red, white and blue (above them); the cities of Kankakee and "Paree", Washington Crossing the Delaware, President Andrew Jackson, Niagara, Alcatraz, Buffalo Bill, Captain Spaulding exploring the Amazon, Lady Godiva (with her pajamas on), Grover Whalen, the Trylon, Treasure Island, Nijinsky, and a fleet of ships (on her hips).
As lyricist Harburg explains,[citation needed] the final stanza originally contained the lyrics "When she stands, the world gets lit'ler. When she sits, she sits on Hitler"; the lines were removed because the studio feared the song would sound too dated. The line that replaced it begins "Grover Whalen unveilin' the Trylon" which seems far more dated today than the reference to Hitler. On some subsequent radio appearances, Groucho sang the song in its entirety. Feinstein's recording omits a number of other lines, but restores the "Hitler" couplet, while Morris's is essentially as Groucho sang it in At the Circus.
The couplet "Come along and see Buffalo Bill with his lasso / Just a little classic by Mendel Picasso" seems to flub the name 'Pablo Picasso', noted painter and personality of the 1930s,

Other versions

The song has been performed by many other artists:

  • In the 1940 movie The Philadelphia Story, Dinah Lord (played by Virginia Weidler) sings the song's first verse.
  • The song has been recorded by Stubby Kaye (1961), Michael Feinstein (album: Pure Imagination, 1992), and Joan Morris (album: Bolcom, Morris & Morath sing Yip Harburg, 2003).
  • In January, 1976, Kermit the Frog sang this song, complete with a Muppet version of Lydia (pig), on the second episode of The Muppet Show, which featured Connie Stevens as the guest star. Muppets creator Jim Henson is said to have considered the song one of his favorites. Henson also drew all the tattoos on the Lydia puppet. The song was also used in Jim Henson's memorial service, performed by Kevin Clash in his ¨Elmo¨ voice.
  • On the television series M*A*S*H, Maxwell Klinger sang part of this song in the episode "Images" after seeing the extensive tattoo work on a wounded soldier.
  • An abridged Barbershop Quartet arrangement was performed by "The New Tradition" quartet while dressed and acting as the Marx Brothers as part of their final song set as they won the 1985 International Barbershop Competition. They subsequently repeated this performance during shows they performed, and finally recorded it as part of an LP.
  • The song was also sung by Robin Williams in the 1991 film The Fisher King. In that version, the reference to Andrew Jackson is changed to Michael Jackson.
  • In the 1995 Disney comic "The Treasury of Croesus"[3] by Don Rosa, Donald Duck sings the song throughout the comic. This is a pun on the ancient kingdom of Lydia — as Donald asks whether King Croesus really existed, his uncle Scrooge asks him if he has never heard about Lydia, to which Donald replies that he learned all about Lydia on last night's late movie. When asked to share his newfound knowledge, he starts singing "Lydia the Tattooed Lady".
  • In the situation comedy It's a Living, pianist Sonny Mann (Paul Kreppel), meeting a woman whose body is covered with tattoos, plays the song until one of the waitresses flips the keyboard cover onto his fingers (a running gag in the series).
  • In season 4 of the Canadian sketch comedy series The Kids in the Hall, a sketch is featured in which an escape artist successful in the '30s, played by Dave Foley, performs the song at Carnegie Hall whilst being hung from the ceiling and bound in a straitjacket as part of his final public performance.

1 comment:

LandscapeWindscreen said...

I must confess that I had never seen Fantasia untill about last summer I decided to kick back with a sixpack and check it out. It had never been broadcast on local TV and the only thing I had seen as a wee lad was the Master’s Apprentice skit. That may strike one as odd, europeans usually dislike the disneyfication of popular culture and Fantasia is anything but.

So I sit there with a beer in hand, watching the woodnypmps dancing to the Nutcracker suite, the elabore fractals of a Bach Partita, somehow wishing I still had a bag of good weed hidden somewhere and then – suddenly- this comes on:

(Why the bloody hell is nobody making movies like this one anymore ??? And good old Uncle Leopold had the galls to convince Walt to use the music of Strawinsky of all things ! Wow !)

Could well be that people in North America associate Strawinsky with dead dinosurs and today Sacre du Printemps will not even raise an eyebrow of the very few concert-goers these days. The only thing that would cause a riot these days would be Daniel Barenboim performing Wagner Overtures in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, but that is another story....