New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

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Rach3
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New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by Rach3 » Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:30 pm

A live Brahms 4th Symphony with the Pittsburgh Symphony under Manfred Honeck, a Reference Recordings cd released Oct. 22, 2021, much lauded for its vigor at another CM group I occasionally read.Dont know date of recording, but assume recent (?). Apparently the only one of the Brahms symphonies Honeck/PSO have recorded so far. I must confess I enjoyed more than most Brahms 4th’s I’ve heard, including my lp with Bruno Walter, but I’ll defer to the symphonists here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luMVuuZ ... Z8_S4&t=29

maestrob
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by maestrob » Thu Nov 18, 2021 1:17 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:30 pm
A live Brahms 4th Symphony with the Pittsburgh Symphony under Manfred Honeck, a Reference Recordings cd released Oct. 22, 2021, much lauded for its vigor at another CM group I occasionally read.Dont know date of recording, but assume recent (?). Apparently the only one of the Brahms symphonies Honeck/PSO have recorded so far. I must confess I enjoyed more than most Brahms 4th’s I’ve heard, including my lp with Bruno Walter, but I’ll defer to the symphonists here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luMVuuZ ... Z8_S4&t=29
Yes, well, I beg to differ. I was going to post a review on this yesterday, but ran out of time.

Frankly, I find Honeck's take more than a bit spastic. He ignores over and over the first cardinal rule of tempo, which is that music should flow easily from one idea to the next, not happen in fits and starts like a marionette with a badly tangled set of strings. Quite offensive to my ears. In other words, you can hear/feel the gears shifting.

After one hearing, I'll not play this CD again.

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maestrob
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by maestrob » Fri Nov 19, 2021 1:04 pm

For the record, my recommended Brahms IV would be Solti/Chicago or Bernstein/NY

YMMV of course.

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Lance
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by Lance » Sat Nov 20, 2021 1:59 am

Somewhere along the way, I realize I have to draw the line. I will, no doubt, audition the Honeck recording somewhere but will not add it to my collection. When I see a thread like this, I always wonder how many recording of the Brahms 4th do I have of this or any composition. I almost hesitate to tell you, but it is well over 45 on CD of the Brahms 4th! At this point in life, and with so many fine recordings already, I find I am satisfied with the interpretations I have. Oddly, I never collected much of Solti except in his collaborative recordings or with him as a pianist. It is, nonetheless, always interesting to see what new recordings are being issued.

My list also includes many live performances as well as commercial recordings from Abendroth to G. Wand and every great conductor in between that recorded the work. Fourth symphonies seem attractive to me ... not only the Brahms but Schumann as well.
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by barney » Sat Nov 20, 2021 7:49 am

Lance wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 1:59 am
Fourth symphonies seem attractive to me ... not only the Brahms but Schumann as well.
You forgot Beethoven, Mahler, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and quite a few others... :lol:

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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by diegobueno » Sat Nov 20, 2021 5:48 pm

Oh boy! Just what the world needs! Another recording of Brahms 4th. :roll:
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Heck148
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by Heck148 » Sat Nov 20, 2021 10:11 pm

maestrob wrote:
Fri Nov 19, 2021 1:04 pm
For the record, my recommended Brahms IV would be Solti/Chicago or Bernstein/NY
The Solti/CSO is very good...I never liked the Bernstein #4 too much...seemed like an off day for the orchestra....His NYPO 2 is really excellent, 1 and 3 are good, too...
My favorite Brahms 4s are Toscanini/NBC ['51] and Reiner/RoyalPO...great performances, by the time they get to the finale, things are really cooking!!
I'm undecided about Honeck....I've heard parts of his Eroica with Pittsburgh...good, not earth-shaking...and I have his Strauss 'Elektra" Orchestral Suite and Rosenkavalier Suite....Reference Recordings provides great sound quality....performances are very good, but not equal to Solti/VPO or Reiner/CSO.

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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by Lance » Sat Nov 20, 2021 11:22 pm

Actually, that's how I feel. On the other hand, we have to give today's artists a chance to record if not necessarily for us "oldsters," then for the "newbies." Yes?
diegobueno wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 5:48 pm
Oh boy! Just what the world needs! Another recording of Brahms 4th. :roll:
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by Lance » Sat Nov 20, 2021 11:26 pm

Well, yes, of course, but then I think of Schumann when I see Brahms' name. Insofar as Beethoven is concerned, however, I would choose the 7th and 9th though they are all indispensable. And somehow I recall that Schumann's 4th was published as the fourth though the 3rd/Rhenish was finished first. I should look that up and I might be wrong about that. It's tantamount to Beethoven's Piano Concerto #2 actually being his first and #1 being the second only because of order or publication. Howzat? :)
barney wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 7:49 am
Lance wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 1:59 am
Fourth symphonies seem attractive to me ... not only the Brahms but Schumann as well.
You forgot Beethoven, Mahler, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and quite a few others... :lol:
Lance G. Hill
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______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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maestrob
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by maestrob » Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:09 am

Lance wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 11:26 pm
Well, yes, of course, but then I think of Schumann when I see Brahms' name. Insofar as Beethoven is concerned, however, I would choose the 7th and 9th though they are all indispensable. And somehow I recall that Schumann's 4th was published as the fourth though the 3rd/Rhenish was finished first. I should look that up and I might be wrong about that. It's tantamount to Beethoven's Piano Concerto #2 actually being his first and #1 being the second only because of order or publication. Howzat? :)
barney wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 7:49 am
Lance wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 1:59 am
Fourth symphonies seem attractive to me ... not only the Brahms but Schumann as well.
You forgot Beethoven, Mahler, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and quite a few others... :lol:
I love all the core repertoire when they are conducted properly. The great Maestro who used to conduct the San Francisco Symphony has now taken over the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and is in the middle of a first-rate Brahms cycle in his 90's: I and II have already been released and they are both knockouts IMHO. I speak of course of Herbert Blomstedt. Do try to hear those and restore your confidence that modern interpretations of that great music can stand up to the best of the past. Amazon & Spotify have them both.

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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by diegobueno » Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:46 am

Lance wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 11:22 pm
Actually, that's how I feel. On the other hand, we have to give today's artists a chance to record if not necessarily for us "oldsters," then for the "newbies." Yes?
diegobueno wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 5:48 pm
Oh boy! Just what the world needs! Another recording of Brahms 4th. :roll:
I think I have stated in this forum that I believe the Brahms 4th to be the greatest symphony ever composed by anybody. I had the pleasure to play the principal clarinet part a couple of years ago under the direction of a fantastic young conductor named Tiffany Lu, who, if there's any justice in this world, people are going to be hearing about in a few years. It was a spiritual experience.

As I see it, the issue is not that of "allowing" the young artists today to perform Brahms (as if there's anything preventing them), rather it is of allowing them to record something other than the standard rep in order to build a career. It's about fostering a musical culture in which performing artists can work with their composer contemporaries to renew the art of music, and thus assure its survival into the future.

Because just performing the same old music over and over means death as far as our art is concerned.
Black lives matter.

Heck148
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by Heck148 » Mon Nov 22, 2021 10:43 am

diegobueno wrote:
Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:46 am
As I see it, the issue is ....of allowing them to record something other than the standard rep in order to build a career. It's about fostering a musical culture in which performing artists can work with their composer contemporaries to renew the art of music, and thus assure its survival into the future.Because just performing the same old music over and over means death as far as our art is concerned.
Good point!! and well-stated...

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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by dirkronk » Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:29 pm

Heck148 wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 10:11 pm


My favorite Brahms 4s are Toscanini/NBC ['51] and Reiner/RoyalPO...great performances, by the time they get to the finale, things are really cooking!!
Agreed, Heck. Have not heard Honeck in anything, truth be told, but my personal preference lies also with Reiner/RPO for Brahms 4th. Never did warm to Solti/CSO, though I certainly tried. A quick search on the Googly machine tells me I opined in May of 2008:
"For Brahms sym. 4, I personally like Reiner/RPO in whatever incarnation it now exists (Chesky?). Van Beinum is a less frequently touted name in the work, but very good if not quite at the same adrenaline level as Reiner. Beyond these, most of my favorites are historical and thus may not qualify for consideration due to sonics.
"I classify Carlos Kleiber compelling if not ideal in this work. I frequently find Kleiber's live recordings...often on smaller labels...more impressive and involving than the critically acclaimed items on DGG. But the only live 4th I have by him doesn't follow that rule...and mine is probably a minority opinion, anyway."

Like Lance, I'll try to audition the Honeck. My local library may have gotten a copy...I'll check. But it'll have to be pretty astounding to knock Reiner off the pinnacle here.

Dirk

Heck148
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by Heck148 » Tue Nov 23, 2021 9:24 am

dirkronk wrote:
Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:29 pm
Agreed, Heck. Have not heard Honeck in anything, truth be told, but my personal preference lies also with Reiner/RPO for Brahms 4th. Never did warm to Solti/CSO, though I certainly tried. A quick search on the Googly machine tells me I opined in May of 2008:
"For Brahms sym. 4, I personally like Reiner/RPO in whatever incarnation it now exists (Chesky?). Van Beinum is a less frequently touted name in the work, but very good if not quite at the same adrenaline level as Reiner. Beyond these, most of my favorites are historical and thus may not qualify for consideration due to sonics.
"I classify Carlos Kleiber compelling if not ideal in this work. I frequently find Kleiber's live recordings...often on smaller labels...more impressive and involving than the critically acclaimed items on DGG. But the only live 4th I have by him doesn't follow that rule...and mine is probably a minority opinion, anyway."

Like Lance, I'll try to audition the Honeck. My local library may have gotten a copy...I'll check. But it'll have to be pretty astounding to knock Reiner off the pinnacle here.
The Kleiber/VPO Brahms 4 I heard was very good....maybe a notch or so below Reiner and Toscanini, but still very fine....excellent performance.

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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by maestrob » Tue Nov 23, 2021 9:26 am

Agree with you there, Heck! I'm also fond of Toscanini's Philharmonia live performance in 1952. Now if the engineers could only figure out how to remove the sound of those fireworks! :roll:

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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by dirkronk » Tue Nov 23, 2021 10:14 am

On my honeymoon in NYC in 1984, I was shopping at the old Tower Records basement annex and chanced upon a vinyl set of Toscanini Brahms with the Philharmonia. Had it shipped home to Texas and, from that point on, it was often Toskie (Phil) vs Toskie (NBC) in Brahms…the performances were SO different. And I would go back and forth about which I preferred. As a set, that Philharmonia called me back far more than I would have imagined!

Dirk

maestrob
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by maestrob » Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:48 pm

dirkronk wrote:
Tue Nov 23, 2021 10:14 am
On my honeymoon in NYC in 1984, I was shopping at the old Tower Records basement annex and chanced upon a vinyl set of Toscanini Brahms with the Philharmonia. Had it shipped home to Texas and, from that point on, it was often Toskie (Phil) vs Toskie (NBC) in Brahms…the performances were SO different. And I would go back and forth about which I preferred. As a set, that Philharmonia called me back far more than I would have imagined!

Dirk
Dirk, I've always felt that Toscanini's Philharmonia performances were far better recorded with more warmth and depth to the sound. Not only that, but his interpretations were warmer and, if anything, much more "in the moment" than the rather dry, stiff and clinical studio recordings with the NBC orchestra.

In particular, I would refer to the finale of the First Symphony, where in the finale as he approaches the chorale, Toscanini really moves the tempo in a way that sounds totally spontaneous, so that he can lead the chorale in tempo primo, then rally the Philharmonia forces in the following bars to the end. Now that's hardly the "bean counter" musicianship that he was so famously accused of by Furtwangler and others!

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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by Heck148 » Tue Nov 23, 2021 3:58 pm

maestrob wrote:
Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:48 pm
....Toscanini really moves the tempo in a way that sounds totally spontaneous, so that he can lead the chorale in tempo primo, then rally the Philharmonia forces in the following bars to the end. Now that's hardly the "bean counter" musicianship that he was so famously accused of by Furtwangler and others!
The claim that Toscanini was nothing but a metric, rigid time-beater is complete baloney....Toscanini always had a wonderfully supple, flexible quality to his conducting - there is an elasticity to his beat, a give and take within the beat that is constant and entrancing....whether it's Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Verdi, whatever, there is always this flexibility, "souple" as the French would say...this leads to an inevitable flow, connection to his interpretations...of course, he could get musicians to follow him, he had amazing control over his orchestras...
The finale to Brahms 4 is a perfect example [his NBC '51 version] all of the 8 bar variations over the ground bass are perfectly connected, a continuous flow from one to the next...the climaxes are stunning for their power and clarity...there is nothing whatever stiff or rigid in his conducting....

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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by maestrob » Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:51 am

Heck148 wrote:
Tue Nov 23, 2021 3:58 pm
maestrob wrote:
Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:48 pm
....Toscanini really moves the tempo in a way that sounds totally spontaneous, so that he can lead the chorale in tempo primo, then rally the Philharmonia forces in the following bars to the end. Now that's hardly the "bean counter" musicianship that he was so famously accused of by Furtwangler and others!
The claim that Toscanini was nothing but a metric, rigid time-beater is complete baloney....Toscanini always had a wonderfully supple, flexible quality to his conducting - there is an elasticity to his beat, a give and take within the beat that is constant and entrancing....whether it's Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Verdi, whatever, there is always this flexibility, "souple" as the French would say...this leads to an inevitable flow, connection to his interpretations...of course, he could get musicians to follow him, he had amazing control over his orchestras...
The finale to Brahms 4 is a perfect example [his NBC '51 version] all of the 8 bar variations over the ground bass are perfectly connected, a continuous flow from one to the next...the climaxes are stunning for their power and clarity...there is nothing whatever stiff or rigid in his conducting....
Completely true, Heck148!

When I was working certain roles into my voice early on, I would sing Germont, Amonasro, Iago, etc. to his recordings. Every note, every phrase & breath would be 100% comfortable.

THEHORN
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by THEHORN » Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:16 pm

Furtwangler was also one of the greatest Brahms conductors ever . And regarding Maestro B's issues with Furtwangler's allegedly "exaggerated rubato ", I have never found this to be the case in any of the many recordings I have heard by him .
Some, though by no means all of Stokowski's recordings show an exaggerated , flashy and arbitrary fiddling with tempo , but not Furtwangler's . And Furtwangler's tempi were usually not unduly slow ; on the contrary , they are often highly propulsive .

maestrob
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by maestrob » Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:29 pm

THEHORN wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:16 pm
Furtwangler was also one of the greatest Brahms conductors ever . And regarding Maestro B's issues with Furtwangler's allegedly "exaggerated rubato ", I have never found this to be the case in any of the many recordings I have heard by him .
Some, though by no means all of Stokowski's recordings show an exaggerated , flashy and arbitrary fiddling with tempo , but not Furtwangler's . And Furtwangler's tempi were usually not unduly slow ; on the contrary , they are often highly propulsive .
Always the contrarian, eh, Robert? :roll:

Of course Stokowski fiddled with tempo, we all know that. Examples would include his Scheherezade for RCA and a remarkable first movement of Rachmaninoff III for EMI. He also got the tempo of the last movement of Shostakovich VI wrong (too slow) in his premiere recording for RCA, issued originally on 78s.

Nobody's perfect, except me, of course. :lol:

barney
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by barney » Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:24 pm

It's like that marvellous line from Yes Prime Minister, when Bernard Woolley says: "It's an irregular verb. I have an independent mind, you're an eccentric, and he's around the twist."

Rach3
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by Rach3 » Wed Nov 24, 2021 10:39 pm

barney wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:24 pm
It's like that marvellous line from Yes Prime Minister, when Bernard Woolley says: "It's an irregular verb. I have an independent mind, you're an eccentric, and he's around the twist."
Another of Bernard’s great “YPM” lines:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGscoaUWW2M

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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by barney » Thu Nov 25, 2021 8:01 am

Rach3 wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 10:39 pm
barney wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:24 pm
It's like that marvellous line from Yes Prime Minister, when Bernard Woolley says: "It's an irregular verb. I have an independent mind, you're an eccentric, and he's around the twist."
Another of Bernard’s great “YPM” lines:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGscoaUWW2M
Yes, delightful. As so often with that show, pungent with lashings of truth.

maestrob
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by maestrob » Thu Nov 25, 2021 8:12 am

barney wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 8:01 am
Rach3 wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 10:39 pm
barney wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:24 pm
It's like that marvellous line from Yes Prime Minister, when Bernard Woolley says: "It's an irregular verb. I have an independent mind, you're an eccentric, and he's around the twist."
Another of Bernard’s great “YPM” lines:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGscoaUWW2M
Yes, delightful. As so often with that show, pungent with lashings of truth.
Second the motion!

So why is the Financial Times pink, may one ask? :roll:

I'm quite sure that the decision to print on salmon-colored paper pre-dates the advent of Communism, and they are hardly a "pinko" rag.....

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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by diegobueno » Sat Nov 27, 2021 9:59 am

One big reason for purchasing this particular recording of the Brahms 4th is that it comes with the Larghetto of Scottish composer James MacMillan. This work, written in 2009 for the Pittsburgh Symphony, is an adaptation of a Miserere for chorus that he had written. You can clearly hear the influence of Gregorian chant in the solo lines. It's written in a very conservative idiom and Norman Lebrecht has anointed it as worthy to stand with Barber's Adagio and Mahler's Adagietto as works to be played in times of pubic mourning.

I don't think I would choose this to mourn Stephen Sondheim (it's too Catholic; I only mention this because Sondheim is the most recent death requiring public mourning), but does carry the proper level of gravitas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlxIGd4zlCY
Black lives matter.

maestrob
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Re: New Brahms 4th Symphony recording

Post by maestrob » Sat Nov 27, 2021 10:28 am

diegobueno wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 9:59 am
One big reason for purchasing this particular recording of the Brahms 4th is that it comes with the Larghetto of Scottish composer James MacMillan. This work, written in 2009 for the Pittsburgh Symphony, is an adaptation of a Miserere for chorus that he had written. You can clearly hear the influence of Gregorian chant in the solo lines. It's written in a very conservative idiom and Norman Lebrecht has anointed it as worthy to stand with Barber's Adagio and Mahler's Adagietto as works to be played in times of pubic mourning.

I don't think I would choose this to mourn Stephen Sondheim (it's too Catholic; I only mention this because Sondheim is the most recent death requiring public mourning), but does carry the proper level of gravitas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlxIGd4zlCY
Yes, Mark, the Larghetto is a fine work.

We were introduced to Stephen Sondheim one evening by a student of mine who knew him, as we attended an uptown production of his Pacific Overtures. We had been invited to dinner and the theater by Mimi Benzell's daughter Jennifer (also niece to Morton Gould) who was a voice student of mine during my 30's, and we exchanged a few words while a n autograph was generously given.

Sondheim's gift with words was unparalleled and probably will never again be equaled. Imagine, he used a 1947 thesauras and a rhyming book!

We will watch Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd in his honor over the weekend.

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