REVIEW POTPOURRI – Composer: Bartok; Musician: Sidney Bechet; Comedians: Jonathan Winters & Dean Martin

Peter Catesby Peter Cates


Divertimento; 5 Chants for Children’s Chorus and Orchestra; 12 Miniatures for Orchestra
Vassil Kazandjiev conducting the Sofia Chamber Orchestra, with the Bodra Smyana Children’s Chorus directed by Liliana Bocheva singing the five chants – Balkanton/Harmonia Mundi HMB 103, stereo LP, released early 1980s.

Vassil Kazandjiev

Also a noted Bulgarian composer and now 84, Vassil Kazandjiev conducts these very fine performances and recording of three Bela Bartok compositions, the haunting, eloquent 1939 Divertimento for strings; the earlier Five Songs for Children’s Chorus and Orchestra and the Twelve Miniatures for Orchestra. All of these add up to a solid program of three works of the great Hungarian composer (1881-1945).

I have CDs of Kazandjiev conducting the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique and Beatrice and Benedict Overture and the Brahms 1st Piano Concerto with Ivan Drenikov, soloist, all three very well-conducted.

The Best of Sidney Bechet

18 sides for Alfred Lion’s Blue Note label, 1939-1953.

Sidney Bechet

The brilliant clarinet and soprano saxophone player Sidney Bechet, 1897-1959, recorded such classic standards as Summer­time, St. Louis Blues, Muskrat Ramble, All of Me, etc., included on this Blue Note CD transfer reissue with guitarist Teddy Bunn, pianists Meade Lux Lewis and Art Hodes, drummer Sid Catlett and trumpeter Jonah Jones among the sidemen working with Bechet.

Jonathan Winters and Dean Martin

At the Bar: 12-minute comedy YouTube from the 1970s Dean Martin Show.

Dean Martin

Jonathan Winters

The late comedians, Dean Martin as the bartender of his own nightclub, and Jonathan Winters as four characters with different personalities and voices, one of them an 86-year-old lady. Dino works with a script while Winters is totally unpredictable, with nobody ever knowing what he is going to say and do. As the old lady, she comments on her figure as an “uprooted rubber plant.” In the sketch of the grieving relative driving 2,500 miles that day to attend the burial service of a step-cousin dropped in an open grave wearing only poker dot trunks, he laments the inconsiderate behavior of his only heir, a 15-pound tomcat receiving $4,000, as not even bothering to attend the funeral.


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