Tag Archives: MKG

Quality of Life

2 Aug

Mary Kunz Goldman’s “family nut” gets a ticket:

Leonard Pennario 1924 – 2008

27 Jun

The subject of Mary Kunz Goldman’s upcoming book, Buffalo-born concert pianist Leonard Pennario, died last night in La Jolla. Mary has the info here.

The ultimate child prodigy, Pennario learned the Grieg Concerto in one week so he could perform it, from memory, with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Texas Exposition, before 2000 people. This mind-boggling feat has been well documented by journalists.

At 19, wearing his private’s uniform, Pennario made his debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic, playing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Arthur Rubinstein was in the audience, and so were critics Virgil Thomson and Olin Downes.

The great violinist Jascha Heifetz chose Pennario from all the pianists in the world to perform and record with himself and the great cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. By performing in that famous trio, Pennario filled the seat vacated by Rubinstein. Pennario won a Grammy Award for his work in the 1960s with Heifetz and Piatigorsky, and next to Rubinstein, he is the pianist most closely associated with those two great musicians.

The greatest conductors in the world admired Pennario and sought him out as soloist — including Fritz Reiner, Dimitri Mitropoulos and Leopold Stokowski. Mitropolous said of Pennario: “Playing with this musician has been one of the joys of my life. He has technique, but he has what is more important, a soul.”

The foremost critics in the world praised Pennario and acknowledged his greatness. In 1952, writing in a London paper, Andrew Porter, who later became the longtime music critic for The New Yorker, wrote, “No one plays the piano better than Pennario.”

The Grammy-winning film composer Miklos Rozsa, who composed concertos for Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky, wrote a piano concerto for Pennario, who premiered it. Rozsa also wrote a piano sonata for Pennario. Both these pieces are highly esteemed by pianists today.

Pennario was one of only two pianists named permanent members of the jury of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. (The other was the Hungarian-born Lili Kraus.)

In 1959, both the New York Times and Musical America acknowledged Pennario to be the best-selling American-born classical pianist. Between 1950 and 1960, as the sole classical pianist for the Capitol label, he made over 40 recordings. He went on to make over 20 more.

Sometimes referred to by journalists as “the wizard of the keyboard,” Pennario became the first pianist after Rachmaninoff himself to record all four of the Rachmaninoff concertos plus the Variations on a Theme of Paganini.

In 1989, Pennario toured Communist China, one of the few American pianists to have done so. He was the first pianist to perform in all 50 of the United States.

MKG's Buzz

12 Jun

It’s sorta kinda back, but it’s hard to mock now, given that this is so much better. And I don’t mean to be didactic or facetious in any way.

Mary Kunz Goldman has a Blog

21 Apr

Someone emailed the URL to me while I was away, and I checked it out yesterday upon my return.

When I regularly mock(ed) her Monday column in the News or Thursday “Buzz”, my biggest critique was that it was as if the News was publishing what amounted to blog posts. That, and the fact that Buzz tends to rely on booze, Catholicism, booze, Deutschland, booze, classical music, booze, flea markets, being Republican in Buffalo, and booze. (Not necessarily in that order). Great blog topics, for sure. Lame column fodder.

Her blog? I find it well written and funny, and well worth the addition to the blogroll. It has a “cast of characters”, and has a central theme involving her writing a book about a pianist I never heard of. Check it out.

Shorter Buzz: Hiatus Cessation Edition

14 Feb

Permit me to shunt aside all things Dejac, Obama idolatry, New York State and Erie County dysfunction, and – yes, even cars, to herald the return of something unique and wonderful in Western New York.

That’s right. As a Valentine’s Day gift to us all, The Buzz is back.

For old times’ sake, permit me to deconstruct it with Shorter Buzz:

1. MKG was in San Diego for three months and missed Buffalo weather. Our weather is the punch line of jokes.

2. MKG mistakenly cracked open a bottle of 30+ year old bourbon belonging to her Bloviating husband, who at first was upset because it’s worth $700 on eBay. Being a good sport, however, he and his missus – who infuriatingly refers to herself in these columns in the plural – enjoyed the booze after all. So, check off the drinking box.

3. Some clubs on Chippewa have “college night”, and bar people who are too old. Check off drinking a second time.

4. The phone book uses a bigger font than before, and is littered with ads for plaintiffs’ firms.

Welcome back, Mary. We’ll hold off on giving this a mockability rating in honor of your return.

2007 Bad for WNY Females?

7 Jan

It wasn’t too long ago that we greeted Monday mornings with a Buffalo News column by Mary Kunz Goldman and mocked the living crap out of it.

After many moons of nothing along the left margin of Monday’s City Region, the reins have been handed over to Charity Vogel.

In today’s column, she argues that 2007 was a very bad year indeed for women in Western New York. She cites Lynn Brol (left her kid in a sweltering car, resulting in death) and Lynn DeJac. She argues that even Donna Fernandes was busy defending the zoo after the deaths of three polar bears, and Kathleen Gaffney is facing the possible closure of Studio Arena Theater.

What’s sad about these two cases, other than the obvious, is that there was nothing more.

What’s sad is that better stories involving local women didn’t far overshadow them.

Gender doesn’t determine news value — at least, it typically shouldn’t. Brol and DeJac would have made the news if they were husbands and fathers, instead of wives and moms. (Whether their cases would have been covered the same way is open to debate, since women who hurt their own children often find themselves called nasty names.)

But any inspection of the top news stories of ’07 yields an uncomfortable feeling that women came out looking — and I put this delicately — quite a bit worse than the guys.

Take the rescued jailbird category. There we had two main characters, DeJac and Anthony Capozzi. Capozzi — freed after 22 years in prison for crimes he did not commit — turned out to be a warm-and-fuzzy family guy with saintly parents and a shy smile. DeJac, on the other hand, barhopping the night her daughter was killed, became a walking textbook on how not to parent.

Outside the courtroom, things didn’t get much better. No woman won any local race higher than Erie County clerk in this fall’s elections.

Really? In twelve months’ worth of reporting, there weren’t five or six inspiring local stories involving female Western New Yorkers? The fact that Kathy Hochul was re-elected County Clerk, and that the Erie County Legislature has a female chairperson and a female majority leader should count for something, no?

Go ahead – name something good that happened in 2007 in WNY that involved a female.

Where, or where has the Buzz gone?

6 Dec

Although I sort of stopped with the Mary Kunz Goldman posts (too much of a good thing), her Thursday “Buzz” column has completely disappeared in the last several weeks. What’s up with that?