Wednesday, July 26, 2017

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bizet: Carmen Suite #1

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

George Gershwin, An American in Paris


In the movie, Felinni's Roma, an actor represents the director, newly arrived in Rome after World War II. The young man walks around Rome, his eyes wide with awe and wonder as he tries to absorb the sights, sounds, smells and physical beauty of the city and its inhabitants. How different from his sleepy, provincial seaside hometown. That was the way I felt on alighting from the train that brought me from Charles De Gaulle airport to the Gare du Nord in Paris in January 1977. What better piece to write about to mark my arrival in the City Of Lights, than Gershwin's An American in Paris? Gershwin wrote the piece in Paris in 1928, scored it later that year in Vienna, and premiered it in New York.


 It starts out with a wonderful travelling sections, with a xylophone capturing perfectly the frenetic footsteps of pedestrians and the horn section imitating the blasts of taxi horns. For the premiere, Gershwin actually brought Parisian taxi horns with him, which he had bought on his trip. Despite its name, the inspiration and tone of its sections are more influenced by American jazz and rhythms than anything Parisian. By this time anyway, most European composers were aping American jazz themes and rhythms anyway.

Every time I hear this piece, I smile as I think back to my first day in Paris.

Starting in the 1950s, America started to systematically destroy its passenger railway system. It began with the commerce secretary, Charles Wilson, saying "What's good for GM is good for the country." Congress, kow-towing to the Big Three auto makers, then built Interstate highways and tore out tram lines. When I was 11 in 1966, my parents took my brother, Ken, and me on a train trip from Chicago to Denver. By 1977, Amtrak was almost bankrupt and most grand train stations had closed up. In Europe, trains were very much alive.

The Gare du Nord was particularly international because it serviced the trains to and from England. Inside swarmed thousands of people of all ages, race and dress, each one representing a chapter out of France's colonial history. Subsaharan Africans strode around hawking beads and trinkets. North African men, dressed in jalabas, strode along proudly, a string of veiled women following behind. Tunisians and Moroccans in dark blue work uniforms scuttled around pushing baggage carts, dust bins, and brooms. Haughty French women in furs climbed into first class Wagon-Lits, their debonair husbands following, tipping the porters. Old ladies with pinched faces sold train tickets behind thick glass windows. Gravelly-voiced, middle-age men, their faces pock-marked and heavily lined, a Gauloise hanging off the lip, barked out the prices of magazines and newspapers, their hands shooting out to grab a bill and dispense change. Gypsy women, a toddler in tow, an infant tightly swaddled in a bundle, thrust dirty hands out to beg for money.

It took me a while to work out a plan of action. At a tobacconist, I bought a copy of Paris par Arrondissement, a wonderfully indexed book of maps, bus routes, subway lines of each section of the city. It still being early in the morning, I decided to walk the from the train station to the Left Bank. It didn't look all that far on the map. My suitcase in hand, I started off.
At the right end of the train station, I found the Rue Du Faubourg Saint Denis which the maps showed ending at the Seine. As luck would have it, it turned out to be market day, and this road was lined with every type of shop devoted to the alimentation of the Parisian population. It was time to play the gawking, slack-jawed country bumpkin again. In my defense, however, from all sides came inputs to stimulate every sensory receptor. One section of the street was given over to cheese shops. From floor to ceiling, shelves held cheese in every size, shape and color. There were huge, hundred-pound wheels of Emmenthal, Gruyere, and Raclette. There were logs, patties, mounds and balls of Chevre, which smelled of goat. Countless small round wooden boxes held Camemberts and Bries, each with different amounts of fat. Port Salut. Pont Eveque. Roquefort. It was like a Monty Python cheese shop sketch, except they had everything!
A little bit further down the street, I came across the butchers. These were narrow bright shops, with large windows and white tile everywhere. Huge sides of beef hung on great hooks. The butchers, wearing blood-stained white smocks and holding machete-sized knives deftly carved fine filets, entrecotes, Chateaubriand, and onglets. Next came the pork butchers followed by the horse butchers. Further on, I came to a shop in whose window hung pheasants, hares, boar, and quail. Nearby were the chicken butchers in which you could buy plucked, unplucked, dressed and undressed birds.
The sidewalks of the street were only about a foot wide and near the butchers covered with wet sawdust. A sluice of water ran down the gutter and sometimes I'd see a chicken head or foot go floating by. At the street corners, little weather-beaten North African men controlled the flow of water and used brooms, made out of long twigs, to push the debris along.
Carrying the suitcase had not been a good plan. By the time I reached the Porte St. Denis, I felt its weight dragging on me, so I decided to take the subway into the Latin Quarter to find a hotel. This was back in the days before some genius started putting wheels on suitcases, and taking my big, hulking bag through the various turnstiles and up and down endless stairways of the subway proved even more tiring. The subway itself impressed me however, and today, the Paris metro remains one of my favorite in the world. They used to say that in Paris you are never more than 100 yards from a subway stop, and I don't think there was ever a time when it did not take me where I wanted to go. The subway had its own smell--tobacco mixed with burning carbon, perspiration, underground must, urine and coffee. Not exactly heady, but you soon get used to it.
I entered the subway at the station called Strasbourg St. Denis. This was on the line that ran from the north gate of Paris, at the Porte de Clignancourt to the South at Porte d'Orleans. It runs under the Seine, stops on the Ile de la Cite, and runs through the Latin Quarter. I alit at the Place de L'Odeon, which stood about midway between the river and the Jardin Du Luxembourg, on the Boulevard St. Germain. This had been the focal point for the lost generation in the 1930s and seemed like a good place to start.
The escalator deposed me in the dead center of the Place. It was like arriving in Shangri-La. Down the Rue de l'Odeon, I could see the famous theatre and at the end, the gates of the Jardin. On that street, a rich American girl named Sylvia Beach opened a little bookstore and lending library called Shakespeare and Company. Among its customers were the names that changed the shape of 20th Century English and American literature--James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, and William Carlos Williams. The picture below shows me this past summer standing outside of bookstore that has replaced Sylvia Beach's place.
Crossing St. Germain Across the street, I spied, "Chez Procope," the oldest café and restaurant in Paris, where the likes of Diderot and Voltaire used to meet. I continued in the direction of the river, eventually turning onto a road with an ominous name-Rue de l'Echaude, (Road of the Scalded Person.) It led me vaguely toward the river and the Ecole des Beaux Arts and was fairly quiet. Near the end of it, I looked up and saw a sign for a hotel--Providence Hotel. It was providential in price--it ran about 22 Francs a night, which was just under five dollars back then. The concierge led me up a tiny winding stairwell to my room, which was the only one on my landing. It was a trapezoidal-shaped cube barely large enough for a bed, an armoire, a little writing desk and a tiny sink by the head of the bed. A small window looked out on a high, narrow and gray courtyard whose only purpose seemed to be a haven for pigeons. The room smelled of pigeon dung. I was so tired I took it, feeling not unpleased at the price and its garret-like quality. What a great place to play the role of the starving artist. Completely fatigued, I flopped down on the bed and fell asleep immediately.
I slept until the late afternoon and went out for a stroll. It happened to be market day in this neighborhood as well. Once again I marveled at the presentation of food, all of it fresh and very few things pre-packaged or processed. The fish mongers had created huge ice bergs of crushed ice and laid out red mullets, plaice, sole, flounder, cod, all types of shrimp--small, large, jumbo, smoked, red, and gray-Dublin bay prawns, lobsters, salmon, trout, winkles, mussels, clams, oysters, sea snails, octopus and squid. Here I also saw for the first time fruit and vegetable stalls that put my Midwestern farmer's markets to shame with variety and quality.
I decided to walk over to the Ile de la Cite and visit the grounds of the Louvre, the huge palace that had been turned into the world famous art museum. On my way, I passed the Place de l'Institut, which houses the Academie Francaise in a 17th Century grand, colonnaded structure with a bronze dome. There I crossed the river on the Pont Des Arts, a pedestrian bridge. It was getting late, the sun was sinking so I hurried through the courtyard of the Louvre, and made my way back to bridge. As I crossed, the clouds broke and the setting sun shot a few golden rays down on the Institut and the Ecole des Beaux Arts. Just the thing to buoy my spirits.
I wandered through the market, picked up a log of goat cheese, some oranges, a loaf of bread and made it back to my hotel. There I flipped on the radio and tried to follow a very intellectual discussion on the arts and politics before falling asleep.








Saturday, August 13, 2011

Johannes Brahms: Piano Concerto Number 2


In my previous entry, I ended up talking about how rich cultural life was at the turn of the 20th century and how poor ours seemed by comparison. Of course, writers for thousands of years have decried the decadence of their own era and pined for the "Golden Age," that is some time in the remote past when everyone was a philosopher, ate ambrosia, and created great works of art. We think of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Florentines in Renaissance Italy, the French in the age of enlightenment, and in our own era, the fin de siecle. But a look at a few of the musicians whose lives overlapped in the last decade of the 19th Century and the first of the 20th--Puccini, Faure, Mahler, Verdi, Toscanini, Milhaud, Tchaikowsky, Brahms, Grieg, Debussy, Rachmaninov and Stravinsky--does point to a golden age.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D18AujwrQb4]
Often, I suspect the people who bemoan the sad state of the arts in their time are more often than not critics, not creators, of the arts. There's a poem by E.A. Robinson called "Miniver Cheevy" that sums up these souls. Here are a few stanzas from it:
Miniver Cheevy Child of Scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.Miniver mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
And Art, a vagrant.Minver cursed the commonplace
And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
He missed the mediaeval grace
Of iron clothing.
Miniver Cheevy, born too late
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.
The fact of the matter is that great works of art and philosophy that survives and from which we think we know the past was created by an educated minority. Right now over five of the Earth's six billion people live in abject poverty and have pathetically short life spans. Think of how much higher the mortality rates must have been just a hundred years ago. Would any of us who yearn for those great minds of yesteryear swap places with anyone back then?
Woody Allen recently explored this idea again, in Midnight In Paris, in which the main character, at the ringing of a bell at midnight, is transported back to the 20s, where he meets Hemingway, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel, and Picasso.  He falls in love with one of Picasso's models and together they travel back in tim to the the previous generation of Toulouse Lautrec, Degas, Gaugin and Offenbach.  She longs for that golden age and cannot see the greatness of the artists around her, just as the Woody Allen character longs for the times of the Lost Generation.
Our problem today, methinks, is glut. We're supersaturated with information. With radio, television, high literacy rates, and now the Internet, we suffer from so much information that we find it hard to separate the gold from the dross.
I am heartened though, when I look everywhere and see people in their everyday lives trying to create works of art and beauty. A friend of mine from grade school, Jayne Holsinger, has been living in New York since 1978, where she's supported herself as a waitress and graphic designer and is now exhibiting her paintings in galleries. Another friend from high school, Doug Gottberg, has been composing and playing music with his group, Kino, in Paris since the early 1980s.  A while back, at my 25th high school reunion, I met an old friend named Ralph Scutchfield, who's played bluegrass banjo since he was a boy and was then learning how to play the violin in a Suzuki class with his daughter. The hamstrung intellectuals will tell you that the arts are in bad shape, but not if you're willing to go out and do them yourself.
What does this have to do with Brahm's Piano Concerto Number Two? For a number of years, I went through my own Minver Cheevy phase. My drug, as I've said before, was music. Shy and lacking in self-confidence, I would sit in my room for hours listening to great works of music, letting my emotions flow out, feeling sorry for myself, feeling victimized. Brahm's music was particularly affecting, and this concerto became one of my favorite pieces during that time period.
Unlike other concertos it has four movements, and it really is a breathtakingly grand work. When I think of it, it seems almost like a symphony with piano, so skillfully is the piano integrated with the orchestra. One critic of the time even labeled it as a "symphony with a piano obligato," but the piano is used so expressively that comment seems like a cheap shot. Make no mistakes about it, Brahms was an incredible genius and a master of the instrument. He chose to express his genius through heart-rendingly beautiful melodies, that often brought tears to my eyes.
A high school friend--Paul Mankowsk--once told me a story that illustrates the composer's gifts. Once Brahms went into a beer hall and was asked to play a tune on the piano. While warming up, he discovered the instrument to be excruciatingly out of tune. Brahms played a few scales and memorized which notes were off. He then transposed the notes of his piece correctly as he played it so that no one could hear that the piano was bad.
I particularly love the first movement, which starts with horns playing the Romantic melody.  The piano then picks the theme up in an almost angelic manner. The second movement, an allegro, is the extra movement, and is full of passion. The third reminds me a bit of Brahm's violin concerto and often served to set me off self-wallowing sadness. Fortunately, Brahms finishes the work with a lively and upbeat Rondo, which never failed to lift me out of my doldrums.
So do I still grouse about the philistinism around me? Do I still feel like Miniver Cheevy? You tell me. What helped, I think, was taking violin lessons with my own daughter, when she started when she was around nine year old. Sure, anyone can complain about the work of others. But it is immensely humbling--and liberating--to try some creative endeavor. Should more people do so, the end of the Millenium jitters would quickly evaporate, and we'd all see, that truly, we create our own "Golden Age."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gioacchino Rossini: "Largo al Factotum" from The Barber of Seville


I'm going to shift gears from writing about the passionate and romantic piano concertos that formed the subject of most of my several previous entries. Maybe this change results from a comment that my friend John Kim made, when I told him about all the gushing Romantic pieces that I listened to in high school. He said, "weren't there any fun things you listened to?" In fact there was--The Barber of Seville. So this week, I'm going to write about several arias from this opera.



A while back, here, I wrote about its overture, which I first heard used in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. For some reason I was able to memorize it, and I would use it to break the monotony of the hundreds of laps we had to swim each day on the swim team. I used to be able to whistle it as well. I learned to whistle from my father, who always seemed to have a tune on his lips. I wonder if this is genetic: my daughter when she was in middle school was often reprimanded for whistling tunes in the hall and sometimes during class at school.

The Barber of Seville probably ranks as one of the most well known and popular of all operas. Rossini actually composed 36 operas from the age of 18 until 37, many of the overtures to which also get considerable airplay. (And which have been pirated--remember the theme from the Lone Ranger? It's actually from the overture to his opera William Tell.) But theBarber which Rossini composed at the age of 24, was his ne plus ultra. Had he composed only this one piece, his reputation probably would the same.

Rossini started out as a cellist and composer, and was especially influenced by Mozart. He had a great ear for melody, of course, but he also understood the human voice. Nowhere does this show than in the The Barber of Seville in which the arias and grouping of the vocalists--duos, trios, quartets--are so masterfully composed that they soar and amaze.
What the Barber also shows is that Rossini additionally possessed a superb sense of humor coupled with a zest for life. Much of this comes out in his characters, but particularly in the pieces given to the role of Figaro, that is the barber of this work.

The aria Largo al Factotum introduces Figaro's entrance on the stage. Figaro is a "fixer," who by the end of the opera will help Count Almaviva, his old employer (from Mozart's Marriage of Figaro), capture the heart of the maiden, Rosina. We don't know of the connection between the Figaro and the Count, who has just finished paying off some musician when the barber arrives. Figaro appears singing a perky, boasting aria in which he talks about how much he loves his job as a barber and go-between. The job keeps him hopping-he shaves the faces of the rich young bloods, prepares wigs for them and for the rich young ladies and bleeds everyone-but it has its perks, especially among the young ladies, "la, la, la, la!"

The words are funny, true, but what makes it so incredible is that the baritone must sing it faster and faster as he nears the end. You normally think of the deep bass voice as being serious, but at one point, he sings in falsetto, imitating the ladies calling him for his services. And of course, there is the familiar: "Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!" which, even if you know nothing about opera, you probably have sung once in your life.

My high school friend, Paul Mankowski, whose family introduced me to many works of classical music, told me that the Barber of Seville was a good place to start listening to opera. He was the one who told me that this aria by Figaro was calledLargo al Factotum, which means "make way for the jack-of-all-trades." He also recommended a recording of it, which, since it costs a whopping $15.99 in 1972, I persuaded my parents to buy it for me as a birthday present that year. They were puzzled, but complied.

Around the time I received my copy of it, Paul told me he had recently heard the Barber on a Saturday broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera, sponsored by Texaco. During Largo al Factotum aria, the soloist actually started singing lines in English that made fun of the other singers. That caught my attention. It showed me that this serious stuff called "classical music" actually had some humorous soul who practiced it.

Needless to say, this was one of the best birthday presents I ever received, and giving it a spin today to refresh my memory, I find that it still makes me smile.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Brahms: Piano Concerto Number 2

In my previous entry, I ended up talking about how rich cultural life was at the turn of the 20th century and how poor ours seemed by comparison. Of course, writers for thousands of years have decried the decadence of their own era and pined for the "Golden Age," that is some time in the remote past when everyone was a philosopher, ate ambrosia, and created great works of art. We think of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Florentines in Renaissance Italy, the French in the age of enlightenment, and in our own era, the fin de siecle. But a look at a few of the musicians whose lives overlapped in the last decade of the 19th Century and the first of the 20th--Puccini, Faure, Mahler, Verdi, Toscanini, Milhaud, Tchaikowsky, Brahms, Grieg, Debussy, Rachmaninov and Stravinsky--does point to a golden age.



Often, I suspect the people who bemoan the sad state of the arts in their time are more often than not critics, not creators, of the arts. There's a poem by E.A. Robinson called "Miniver Cheevy" that sums up these souls. Here are a few stanzas from it:

Miniver Cheevy Child of Scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.Miniver mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
And Art, a vagrant.Minver cursed the commonplace
And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
He missed the mediaeval grace
Of iron clothing.

Miniver Cheevy, born too late
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.

The fact of the matter is that great works of art and philosophy that survives and from which we think we know the past was created by an educated minority. Right now over five of the Earth's six billion people live in abject poverty and have pathetically short life spans. Think of how much higher the mortality rates must have been just a hundred years ago. Would any of us who yearn for those great minds of yesteryear swap places with anyone back then?

Woody Allen recently explored this idea again, in Midnight In Paris, in which the main character, at the ringing of a bell at midnight, is transported back to the 20s, where he meets Hemingway, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel, and Picasso.  He falls in love with one of Picasso's models and together they travel back in tim to the the previous generation of Toulouse Lautrec, Degas, Gaugin and Offenbach.  She longs for that golden age and cannot see the greatness of the artists around her, just as the Woody Allen character longs for the times of the Lost Generation.

Our problem today, methinks, is glut. We're supersaturated with information. With radio, television, high literacy rates, and now the Internet, we suffer from so much information that we find it hard to separate the gold from the dross.

I am heartened though, when I look everywhere and see people in their everyday lives trying to create works of art and beauty. A friend of mine from grade school, Jayne Holsinger, has been living in New York since 1978, where she's supported herself as a waitress and graphic designer and is now exhibiting her paintings in galleries. Another friend from high school, Doug Gottberg, has been composing and playing music with his group, Kino, in Paris since the early 1980s.  A while back, at my 25th high school reunion, I met an old friend named Ralph Scutchfield, who's played bluegrass banjo since he was a boy and was then learning how to play the violin in a Suzuki class with his daughter. The hamstrung intellectuals will tell you that the arts are in bad shape, but not if you're willing to go out and do them yourself.

What does this have to do with Brahm's Piano Concerto Number Two? For a number of years, I went through my own Minver Cheevy phase. My drug, as I've said before, was music. Shy and lacking in self-confidence, I would sit in my room for hours listening to great works of music, letting my emotions flow out, feeling sorry for myself, feeling victimized. Brahm's music was particularly affecting, and this concerto became one of my favorite pieces during that time period.

Unlike other concertos it has four movements, and it really is a breathtakingly grand work. When I think of it, it seems almost like a symphony with piano, so skillfully is the piano integrated with the orchestra. One critic of the time even labeled it as a "symphony with a piano obligato," but the piano is used so expressively that comment seems like a cheap shot. Make no mistakes about it, Brahms was an incredible genius and a master of the instrument. He chose to express his genius through heart-rendingly beautiful melodies, that often brought tears to my eyes.

A high school friend--Paul Mankowsk--once told me a story that illustrates the composer's gifts. Once Brahms went into a beer hall and was asked to play a tune on the piano. While warming up, he discovered the instrument to be excruciatingly out of tune. Brahms played a few scales and memorized which notes were off. He then transposed the notes of his piece correctly as he played it so that no one could hear that the piano was bad.

I particularly love the first movement, which starts with horns playing the Romantic melody.  The piano then picks the theme up in an almost angelic manner. The second movement, an allegro, is the extra movement, and is full of passion. The third reminds me a bit of Brahm's violin concerto and often served to set me off self-wallowing sadness. Fortunately, Brahms finishes the work with a lively and upbeat Rondo, which never failed to lift me out of my doldrums.

So do I still grouse about the philistinism around me? Do I still feel like Miniver Cheevy? You tell me. What helped, I think, was taking violin lessons with my own daughter, when she started when she was around nine year old. Sure, anyone can complain about the work of others. But it is immensely humbling--and liberating--to try some creative endeavor. Should more people do so, the end of the Millenium jitters would quickly evaporate, and we'd all see, that truly, we create our own "Golden Age."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto in A Minor

Musically, the 19th century went through amazing upheavals. It started out with Beethoven at the height of his powers reinventing the symphony. He changed it from the sweet pleasant "sounding together" of what in Handel's time was a sonata for orchestra, into a great momentous format for working out the turbulence of the times. Hot on his heels came Brahms ushering in the Romantic movement with the struggles of the passionate artist finding order and creating beauty out of this chaos. The idea of the Romantic artist, laboring alone in his garret, pouring out his soul seems to match the ascendancy of the concerto as a form for giving air to the creative process. By the end of the century, Europe was in the midst of such a cultural revolution--think of Wagner and Brahms, Monet and Van Gogh, Hardy and Tolstoy--the likes of which I dare say we might not see in a long while. They were humans imitating gods, while during our century we've been trying to get machines to do that for us.



Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor is one of those wonderfully gushingly Romantic works from the late 1800s. He wrote it when he was 25 and when he premiered it at one of his concerts, for he was a gifted pianist, it garnered him instant acclaim and established his reputation as a major composer. His output was modest--no symphonies, no operas and no other concertos. His best known work is Peer Gynt and this Holberg Suitegets a fair amount of air play. Maybe this was due to having to run his family's business after his father went bust trying to corner the lobster market.

Here is an interesting anecdote about Grieg and two other "noteworthy composers" that gives a little of the flavor of what the cultural life was like in fin de siecle Europe:

"At the home of Adolf Brodsky, who had launced his Violin Concerto five years earlier, Tchaikovsky inadvertently walked in on a rehearsal of Brahms's Piano Trio in C minor, with the great man himself at the piano. When Tchaikovsky grew 'uneasy', evidently reluctant to pay Brahms the compliments expected of him, their hostess feared 'a difficult scene' until the day was saved by the arrival of the short, frail figure of Edvard Grieg, to whom Tchaikovsky quickly warmed. At lunch Grieg's wife Nina, finding herself seated between Brahms and Tchaikovsky, sprang from her seat after only a few minutes, exclaiming: "I can't sit between these two. It makes me too nervous." "I have the courage," said Grieg, promptly taking her place. "So the three composers sat there together, all in high spirits," recalled Mrs Brodsky. "Brahms grabbed a dish of strawberry jam, insisting that he wanted to eat it all himself, and that no-one else could have any... It was more like a children's party than a gathering of great composers." (From Tchaikovsky,by Anthony Holden).

Who among our artists, composers, and writers would we place in the same Pantheon as those who were alive 100 years ago. Frankly I'm at a loss right now, so if anyone is out there with someone they'd like to nominate, please email me. Or even nominate yourself: you've probably got a lot more going for you than Lady Gaga.

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