Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tranced, fanatical they shrieked and sang

I've been toying around with the idea of singing Ives' song "General William Booth Enters into Heaven" for my upcoming recital this summer. The song is a huge mess: multiple musical quotations, the occasional 4.5/4 bar, a hefty vocal line (including an Ab), not to mention the singer has to compete with a typical Ives "elbow" chord peppered accompaniment.

Where would one get the inspiration for a 5 minute religious revival?

One of the best movies ever.

That's right, Elmer Gantry.

Charlatan doesn't begin to describe Burt's was probably the turning point in my childhood that distorted my view of any "man of god" into a degenerate snake-oil salesman.

Elmer Gantry was a typical role for Burt. He only ever played the alpha male, a hyper-masculine sexpot. Like an ape in a suit (Sorry, Wrong Number is perhaps the most conspicuous example), his animal magnetism was so raw you had to watch it through spread fingers, like a jury looking at autopsy photos.

Look out!