This week’s BSO concert a Pops affair: “A Tribute to Irving Berlin.” I’m sure you’re already familiar with Irving Berlin’s music. This is good, because there’s not much I can tell you about it.
Which is weird, because, as Wednesday’s post will reveal, I’m a major fan of old musicals, the kind that require your early acceptance that what follows will make the world’s prettiest nonsense. So by rights and logic I should know all about Berlin’s work, and yet the “favorite hits” the season brochure mentions – “A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody,” “How Deep is the Ocean,” “Blue Skies” to name a few – leave me with naught but a sense of “…?” (Except for “God Bless America.” I know that one.)
This didn’t seem right to me, so I went ahead and looked him up on Imdb. Which initially led to more questions (he was from Russia?!). Then I had to sift through all the recent credits when his songs were used in modern movies and TV.
Finally I skipped to the bottom, which I where I found enlightenment. Of a sort. Is it bad that my source of familiarity with “Puttin’ On the Ritz” is that scene where Gene Wilder dances with a monster Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein? But I finally hit upon something when it came to Easter Parade, some of Annie Get Your Gun (<3 HOWARD KEEL), and of course we all know “White Christmas.” I can sing along with you now, Mr. Berlin!
All of this is just to say that Irving Berlin is in fact very much worth your time, and if only the copy writers who put together the brochure had mentioned, oh, I don’t know, “A Couple of Swells,” I would’ve KNOWN this already.
Right, so the concerts are Thursday, May 20 at 8 pm at Strathmore, then Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22 at 8 pm at the Meyerhoff, and then also Sunday, May 23 at 3 pm at the Meyerhoff. Jack Everly to conduct, Ashley Brown and Tony DeSare to sing (and in the case of the latter, piano…ify). The Van Der Bilts are waiting at the club – you don’t want to disappoint them, do you?