Next week we’ll mark the fiftieth anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s tragic death. The occasion has inspired much speculation about alternate histories, but of course we cannot change the past.
Just a couple months earlier, Kennedy faced the unfortunate task of informing the crowd at a campaign rally of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. His speech in Indianapolis on April 4th was unscripted and heartfelt, and is regarded as one of the high points of those turbulent years when America, like today, seemed irreparably damaged and divided.
This speech has appeared on many albums over the years, but it is all the more moving in the news footage.
The hype sticker on Dick Feller’s 1972 debut album may be guilty of a little hyperbole — “Biff the Purple Bear” was hardly a hit single, although it nearly hit Billboard’s ‘hot one hundred,’ peaking at #101. Ranking higher on the country charts hardly counts as a hit.
What is remarkable about “Biff the Purple Bear” is that Feller deserves some credit for creating the original idea for the Toy Story franchise.
We have featured another Dick Feller record on the Hymies blog back here.
We took the kids to see the Han Solo movie over the holiday weekend, and the whole family loved it! We’d go back again today, if only for the air conditioning, but there’s work to do in the record shop and there’s eight days left in the school year.
So instead we’ll revisit one of our favorite posts in the Hymie’s archives. Longtime readers have probably already noticed that we’re on ‘summer repeats’ here at the Hymies blog production company. Did you know there are over 2,00 posts below. You could keep scrolling for hours! It reminds us of the moment near the end of “Alice’s Restaurant” when Arlo says, “I’ve been singing this song now for twenty-five minutes. I could sing it for another twenty five minutes. I’m not proud… or tired.”
Anyway, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there was…
Amateur Star Wars
This is a Buena Vista Records production of Star Wars for which the music, sound effects and images were licensed but not the actors’ voices. The result? Star Wars performed by a cast of understudies! To make it even, uh, more exciting they seem to be making up some of their lines.
We would love to see an entire film starring this Han Solo instead.
Here’s three minutes of “highlights”:
Enjoy Amateur Star Wars? There’s two more episodes here.
Irene had her annual visit to the vet this past week, and she walked away with a clean bill of health. Also a pretty small bill compared to any time either of us has been to the doctor. It’s funny how much easier Irene’s annual visits are compared to our own — she is hardly left waiting at all, and when seeing her doctor not rushed along in the least. Even after every last concern has been covered, her doctor follows up and checks on her after the appointment.
Irene is getting better health care than either of us.
A post about a famous cellist as a nod to our friend Aaron Kerr, a cellist and teacher who has hosted his student recitals here at Hymies for eight years.
There’s a controversial movie about the private life of Jacqueline Du Pré, a cellist whose short career revived England’s role in classical music, in particular Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto. Du Pré’s life and career didn’t need to be sensationalized to be interesting, as she was one of those classical musicians whose music spoke for itself.
Du Pré first performed the Elgar concerto at her concert debut in 1962 when she was seventeen years old. She went on to perform it again at the BBC’s prominent Proms summer festival, and a subsequent recording of the piece became an international hit. After this she studied with Mstislav Rostropovich and earned his praise.
She made many famous friends in the classical community — A 1969 recording of Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet featured Du Pré along with her husband Daniel Barenbiom, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zuckerman and Zubin Mehta. It was a classical “super group” along the lines of rock’s Traveling Wilburys, and they performed and recorded several chamber pieces together.
Du Pré was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and her career came to a tragic end. She was so, so young when she passed away, and the loss for listeners like ourselves is enormous. In a short time she truly brought new life into the world of classical music.
Her recordings of Elgar and Schubert are highly regarded. We also love this album of Du Pré and Barenbohm performing Beethoven’s Cello Sonata no.3 in A Major. Regular readers of the Hymies blog know how highly we regard Beethoven’s music — this work, completed at the same time as the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, is unique in the way the cello and piano interact and share the lead role.
Pianist Stephen Bishop-Kovacevich had toured with Du Pré, and had also performed and recorded other Beethoven works at the time of this recording. His 1968 recording of the Diabelli Variations is one of the best. Although he was born in the United States, he has long lived in England. At seventy-seven, he is still performing.