Monday, December 04, 2006

Mr Cogito Takes A Deep Breath And Peeks At The National Public Television Classical Music Offerings For The First Week In Early December

Il Divo: Live at the Greek -- Monday, December 4, 8 PM

The popular cross-continental operatically trained quartet Il Divo presents a program of well-known hits — both old and new — transformed with a refined classical twist of new arrangements. Taped in June 2006 at the stunning Greek Theater in Los Angeles before a capacity crowd of 5,000, these charming and talented young men perform in English, French, Spanish and Italian.

Length : 00:59:48 min.


Patrizio: The New Voice of Romance -- Tuesday, December 5, 8 PM

Patrizio Buanne, the 27 year-old Italian singing sensation, performs live on stage with the legendary Dutch Metrople Orchestra conducted by Dick Bacher. Patrizio's style is warm, charismatic and romantic and will appeal to fans of Dean Martin, Tony Bennett and Paul Anka. Raised in Naples, Patrizio moved to Vienna at the age of six when his father opened Austria's first pizzeria. But his fiercely patriotic father would play only Italian music at home. When he was 8 his parents bought him a guitar, and at 11 ye old Patrizio made his first public performance at a talent contest for schools. Patrizio then began to enter more talent competitions - and always won first prize. At the age of 17 he was invited to sing for the Pope in Poland, performing in front of his biggest audience yet - 85,000 people -which led to a recording contract shortly thereafter. However, tragedy soon followed when his beloved father passed away shortly after Patrizio's 17th birthday. But one thing made Patrizio determined to survive - "I had promised my father I would be a superstar and make my name - his name - famous. It is always music that reminds me of my father and makes me happy." In 1999 Patrizio took up on an uncle's offer to return to Italy and, after winning yet another talent show, found himself offered a job as a TV entertainer. Soon he was one of the most popular young faces on Italian television, hosting his own show in between studying languages at a university in Rome. But his dream was still to be a recording artist - and most of all to be successful in Great Britain and America. In 2003 Patrizio was introduced to music producer Christian Seitz. They both shared the same passion and vision for music, so bravely quitting his burgeoning TV career they went to work on the album - going into London's world famous Abbey Road studios with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to realize his dream. 18 months later the result was "L'Italiano" (The Italian), an album mixing traditional Neapolitan romance and singing tradition with Italian standards from the 50's and 60's - songs barely known outside of Italy, but destined to become favorites for a new generation.

Length : 00:43:05 min.


Celtic Woman - A New Journey - Wednesday, December 6, 8 PM

Following on the massive success of last year's PBS special, Celtic Woman, a new special has been recorded at the historic Slane Castle. The wonderfully talented original members were joined by a sixth Celtic Woman, the New Zealand born International recording star Hayley Westenra. Hayley whose ancestors hailed from County Monaghan in Ireland brought another great dimension to the show. The setting for the show which has seen performances by U2, The Rolling Stones & Bruce Springsteen was a perfect backdrop for the music and songs that were once again arranged and written by composer David Downes. The new show received a standing ovation from a very appreciative audience. The songs were a wonderful blend of old classics, contemporary hits and original material. The individual and collective performances of Celtic Woman were enthralling and took full advantage of the castle setting on a surprisingly warm night at the County Meath venue. The evening was hosted by Lord Henry Mount Charles whose home in Slane Castle is steeped in Irish history with the famous River Boyne running through its grounds, the mystery of Newgrange at its door and the hill of Tara home to the kings of Ireland at its rear.

Length : 01:21:38 min.

Source: WETA - Public Television for a Globalized Nation's Capital

Steve McQueen momentarily gives in to inevitability in the American, not yet globalized, movie, The Great Escape, from 1963.

After McQueen left the Boys Republic home for wayward boys in Chino Hills, California, he drifted before joining the United States Marine Corps in 1947 and served until 1950. In 1952, with financial assistance of the G.I. Bill, McQueen began studying acting and auditioned to study at Lee Strasberg's Actors' Studio in New York City. Of the 2000 people who auditioned that year, only McQueen and Martin Landau were accepted. McQueen made his Broadway debut in 1955 in A Hatful of Rain.

McQueen died at the age of 50, on November 7, 1980, in Juárez, Mexico of a heart attack following cancer surgery. McQueen had traveled to the Santa Rosa Clinic in Mexico for alternative treatments for mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It is unclear whether the asbestos exposure came from his racing career or from an experience in the United States Marine Corps; he wore an asbestos-insulated racers suit in his race cars and when working on his own cars and motorbikes would use an asbestos soaked rag to cover his mouth from other fumes, and McQueen himself admitted that he was exposed to the deadly insulating material during his stint in the Marines.

Elmer Bernstein wrote the memorable music to The Great Escape. Bernstein was born in New York City. During his childhood he performed professionally as a dancer and an actor and won several prizes for his painting. He gravitated toward music by his own choice at the age of twelve, at which time he was given a scholarship in piano by Henriette Michelson, a Juilliard teacher who guided him throughout his entire career as a pianist. She took him to play some of his improvisations for composer Aaron Copland. Copland was encouraging and selected Israel Citkowitz as a teacher for the young boy. Bernstein's music bears stylistic semblance to Copland's music.

He wrote the theme songs or other music for more than 200 films and TV shows, including The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Ten Commandments (1956), The Man with the Golden Arm, To Kill a Mockingbird, Robot Monster, and the fanfare used in the National Geographic television specials.

Picture and text credit: and Wikipedia. With thanks.


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