Archive for the ‘Music: The Power to Enchant’ Category


Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Directed by Sergio Leone.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger

This movie was made in 1984 by the great Italian director Sergio Leone.  It owes a lot to the 1972 film The Godfather, but it is wonderful in its own right.

The soundtrack is by Ennio Morricone whose association with Leone is well known.  (As in “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”)

Here is a link to my still portrait of Elizabeth McGovern in black and white:




The video below shows the wonder of movie-making as done by a master, even if viewed as still images.  The acting is great, especially with the stunning Elizabeth McGovern (the adult Deborah), DiNiro (Noodles)  and James Woods (Max.).

“Deborah’s Theme” is magical and plays in the background of this video and, during the movie, when the beautiful Deborah glides across the screen.


Jennifer Connelly as Deborah

Jennifer Connelly as Deborah


Here is our description of the ballet scene from our previous article about this film:

“There is an early scene where the teen-aged Deborah (played by Jennifer Connelly) is practicing her ballet moves while wearing a tutu. Noodles (later played by Robert DiNiro) is watching her through a small portal in the wall. It is shot in a storage area behind her parents store.

The whole scene is done as if in slow motion, and the music playing then is the song “Amapola.”  The clarinet carries the solo while a violin plays the counter melody. A lone guitar provides the rhythm. The total effect is exquisitely beautiful.


Jennifer Connelly plays the young Deborah in this marvelous movie. The ballet scene is filmed in a dusty storehouse. Paul Goldfinger still photo 10/6, 2021 from the streaming movie.


Ballet scene in Once Upon a Time in America. Paul Goldfinger photo from the movie. Oct 6, 2021. M-9 Leica digital camera.


This version of  “Amapola”  is done in a nearly identical  tempo and effect as in the movie, although this cut, by Stuart Matthewman, is from the soundtrack of another film called Twin Falls, Idaho.  


Read Full Post »

Ocean Grove beach. By Moe Demby December 21, 2013 ©

Ocean Grove beach. By Michael Goldfinger. December 21, 2013   Special to Blogfinger.net


BELA KOVACS.    Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto in A major—Adagio.”  From the movie 27 Dresses.


Read Full Post »

Eydie Gormé. Internet photo.

As a teenager working a summer job in Times Square, I would go into a little deli hole-in-the-wall down 48th Street  which was so small that it just had a counter–no chairs or tables. I’d order something and while waiting, I would stare at a photo on the wall. It was of Eydie Gormé, autographed, in her 20’s—just gorgeous.

I thought she was beautiful and so talented as a singer with that effortless voice and smooth/precise intonation and phrasing. She was from a Sephardic Jewish family, so she often sang in Spanish including the  song  below  from an album with the Trio Los Panchos.

—Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger









Read Full Post »

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger on Martin Luther King’s birthday—-Re-posted 2022.    It was first presented on Blogfinger in July, 2014.

It was Saturday night, July 18, 1925, at 8:15 p.m., when vocalist Paul Robeson and his accompanist Lawrence Brown strode onto the stage of the Great Auditorium to present a concert of “Soul Stirring Negro Spirituals” (1)  to an integrated audience of three thousand people. Mr. Robeson, an imposing black man, was twenty seven years old. He was already famous as a screen and stage actor as well as a singer.  He was a true Renaissance man who would become one of the most popular performing artists of the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Robeson, who was born (1898) and raised in New Jersey, was an All-American football player and Phi Beta Kappa at Rutgers University and an honors graduate of the Columbia University Law School. As a college student, Robeson was friends with the Day family who owned Day’s Ice Cream “Gardens” in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove. He had a summer job as a singing waiter at Day’s. (3)  When he came to Ocean Grove for his 1925 concert, he had just completed a triumphant run at The Provincetown Theater in New York, where he performed the lead role in Eugene O’Neill’s “All God’s Children Got Wings.”

He had friends at the Algonquin Round Table in New York City, and it was there, with the encouragement of his colleagues, that he decided to do a concert tour with an entire program of “Negro” spirituals and secular songs also known as “slave or plantation music.”

This would be the first time that this music would be performed in concert, and he would appear with his close friend Lawrence Brown, also an African-American, who was a gifted composer, pianist and singer. The two would work together for thirty years. The first stop on the tour was The Greenwich Village Theater in New York City, and then, three months later, he appeared in Ocean Grove.

The concert was reviewed by the Asbury Park Press, which said, “Robeson showed an intelligent appreciation of his task and a splendid voice.” They called him “a talented son of this state” and they described “great applause” in the Auditorium. Among the songs which he and Lawrence Brown sang were “Go Down Moses,” “Weepin’ Mary” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.”

The following month he performed his concert in Spring Lake. They would tour for five years, all over the world, with this program. Later, Robeson would become the third most popular radio artist in the USA in the 20’s and 30’s. In the 1940’s he was the highest paid concert performer in the country and he was also successful as a recording artist. He would sing in the first production of “Showboat” and he would play Othello on Broadway and in England. He would star in eleven movies.

But his visit to OG that night was not only about music; it was also about recognition of African-American culture and the elevation of that folk music to high art. In addition, Robeson always was about hope for African-Americans, and performing that music was his way to offer pride and encouragement to his people. In 2004, when Barack Obama gave his “Audacity of Hope” speech at the Democratic convention, the first example he cited was, “…the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs.”


Robeson would accomplish much in his life, but his greatest contribution would be his tireless and life-long advocacy for civil rights. In 1925, Martin Luther King wasn’t born yet, and the “civil rights movement” would not begin until the 1950’s. Imagine how much courage was required for a black man to step forward publicly on behalf of racial justice at a time when lynchings were still occurring in this country. In 1921 a race riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma resulted in the deaths of 20 whites and 60 blacks. In 1922, an anti-lynching bill was defeated by filibuster in the US Senate. In 1925, the year of the concert, there were 17 reported lynchings in the US. Jim Crow laws could be found in many states, but Paul Robeson pressed for racial justice wherever he went and for his entire life.

Robeson had been “eagerly” (1) looking forward to his concert in The Great Auditorium. It is likely that he was aware that many “extraordinary African Americans” (2) had appeared there in the past, including the famous Marian Anderson (1921),  Booker T Washington (1908), the singing evangelist Amanda Berry Smith (late 1800’s) and many renowned black  preachers. The Ocean Grove Historical Society has documented the African-American History Trail in our town. (2)

In 1998, the Ocean Grove Historical Society celebrated the 100th anniversary of Robeson’s birth by a day-long commemoration featuring lectures, dance, a book signing and an exhibition. The centerpiece of the program was a re-creation of the 1925 concert in the Auditorium. They brought the noted African-American bass Kevin Maynor, who used the original program and reproduced the concert from 73 years earlier. This remarkable event was made possible by a committee of Ocean Grovers led by Rhoda Newman (chairman), Kevin Chambers, Phillip May, Jr., and others.

Paul Robeson’s contributions have been recognized many times in the form of tributes at Carnegie Hall and NJPAC, plus many articles, books, exhibits and documentaries. He is a part of Ocean Grove’s musical heritage which includes Enrico Caruso, Duke Ellington, John Phillip Sousa, and Pearl Bailey (2). Paul Robeson died in 1976 at age 77. Five thousand people attended the funeral in Harlem.

Paul Robeson sings “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” from The Complete EMI Sessions 1928-1939, remastered 2008.


1. Asbury Park Press Archives (Asbury Park Library)

2. Ocean Grove Historical Society Archives (Ms. Rhoda Newman)

3. Mr. Kevin Chambers, Ocean Grove Historian

4. Ocean Grove Times Archives (Neptune Township Library: Mrs. Marian R.Bauman, Director)

Read Full Post »


Beachfront. Ocean Grove, New Jersey. 2010 By Paul Goldfinger.Copyright. Click left for full view.

Beachfront sunrise. 7:53 a.m. 2002. Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Click image for full view.  This image became a widely distributed postcard.By Paul Goldfinger, MD,  Editor,  Blogfinger.net.


As a photographer, I much prefer sunrises to sunsets. Maybe it’s because photographs of sunrises are rarer than sunsets. After all, most people are still awake when the sun sets, but hardly anyone is up and about when the sun reappears early in the morning. But also, in my opinion, sunrises are more beautiful than sunsets, and speaking philosophically, more uplifting because beginnings are happier than endings.

Yet people love to see images of sunsets. To be honest, I almost never photograph a sunset or accept one for publication on Blogfinger with rare exceptions as when the  sunset is contributory to something else in the photograph, such as special lighting for a back-lit portrait.

Some of you will probably sneer at my opinion and consider me to be an  effete snob. One of the definitions of effete is  “decadent.” I like that, although I have never actually tried it — except when I sneak over to Days for an illicit hot fudge sundae, twice or thrice each summer.

Of course, this image has some special meaning since the portion of the pier that is seen here is no longer present due to hurricane Sandy  (2012,) and  compare to the recent total rebuild.  I think they both went out 500 feet.

The picture reminds me of the song from Annie –“Tomorrow”  (“The sun will come out tomorrow; bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun…”).  But that’s not the song for this photograph.

Instead, I’m in the mood for John Rutter’s music, and here is his “Blow, blow thou winter wind.”   — Paul Goldfinger, MD, Editor,  Blogfinger.net


Read Full Post »

Ocean Grove beach. September 29, 2015. By Moe Demby. Blogfinger.net staff. ©

Ocean Grove beach. September 29, 2015. By Michael Goldfinger. Blogfinger.net staff. ©  Click to enlarge


LEONARD BERNSTEIN  “On the Waterfront. Moving Forward.”  with the ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA.  Album is the Essential Leonard Bernstein, Disc 2


Read Full Post »

Riding in an open car in Dallas that day. Photo from NJ.com

Riding in an open car in Dallas that day. Photo from NJ.com

By Paul and Eileen Goldfinger

I was a freshman medical student in the fall of 1962 at the George Washington University School of Medicine. The med school was in a downtrodden neighborhood around 14th Street and H. There was a strip joint around the corner and a tiny park across the street where homeless people would hang out.   It was a 19th century brick building, 3 stories high, and it even had an amphitheatre like the photographs or paintings of autopsies or surgeries from that era.

Being in Washington produced a number of special memories, but one was how the President would ride around in an open car when a visiting dignitary from another country  was visiting. The government would close down some offices  at lunchtime to allow a crowd to be on the streets for a small motorcade to drive around and create an event.  The two of them would wave to the crowds.

We would be let out of anatomy lab for a short time to go out to the nearby intersection. We would join the crowd while wearing our formaldehyde-smelly white lab coats. Small flags from both countries were handed out to the crowd, and we would wave ours while onlookers would move away from us.

One year later, on November 22, 1963, I was about to enter a classroom for a bacteriology final exam. We were told that the President had been shot, but no other information was available. The test was not cancelled.  While we were taking the exam, the professor wrote on the blackboard, “The President is dead.”  Nevertheless, despite the distraction, we had to complete the test.

That day, Eileen, a coed at GW in Foggy Bottom, was in class when the professor announced the news. Classes were cancelled.  That night, at about 10 pm, she, along with her roommate and a friend, went to the Capital to join the huge “solemn line” waiting to enter the Rotunda.

Waiting to get in. Internet photo

Waiting to get in. Internet photo

They were there all night and finally they got in the next morning, just for a few moments, to view the coffin.  They felt “awed” that they were “part of history as it’s being written.”  They experienced “a sort of disbelief”  that they were actually there.

Inside the Capital Rotunda. Internet photo

Inside the Capital Rotunda. Internet photo

I never saw any open car motorcades after that day. Still security in the neighborhood was not very evident. I lived on 16th street which runs into the White House.  We often walked by the White House and could peer through the iron fence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Eileen liked to see if she could spot the pony–Macaroni—or any members of the family.  Traffic drove by as if it were just an ordinary street.

At St. Elizabeth Hospital, a now closed psych facility, I got to interview “White House cases.”  These were paranoid schizophrenics who were detained after trying to get to the President at the White House, either to kill him or tell him about a plot. It was a sort of patient that med students only got to see in Washington, D.C.  We took Eileen’s parents to see the grounds at St E’s, and her dad said, “You have to be nuts to come here.”   It’s too bad they didn’t catch Oswald in time.

LONDON FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA.  Music played at the Pres. Kennedy funeral. Intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana” by Pietro Mascagni.

Paul and Eileen at the Washington DC zoo. May, 1963. Photographer: some guy passing by.

Paul and Eileen at the Washington DC zoo. May, 1963. Photographer: some guy passing by (He shook the camera.Where was Cartier Bresson when we needed him?)

Read Full Post »

Italy. Chianti vineyards. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Tuscany, Italy. Chianti vineyards.
By Paul Goldfinger.   Click and you will be there.



AL MARTINO.   from “The Godfather, Part I”



Read Full Post »

George Tice.*     Belmont Hotel, Asbury Park. 1974. This is a selenium-toned silver gelatin print.


By Paul Goldfinger ©. The Belmont burned down about 7 years ago.

By Paul Goldfinger.  Blogfinger.net.  Rear view.  Photo taken before the Belmont was destroyed by fire. 2006..

Paul Goldfinger, MD.  Editor @Blogfinger.   Re-posted from 2016 and 2018.    The editor’s note below still rings true in 2020 and has been updated.

There were two historic (over 100 years old) hotels in A.Park which were adjacent to each other on Asbury Avenue—-The Belmont and the Atlantic.   The Belmont had 50 rooms, but it was vacant in 2006.   The entire block was scheduled for demolition, but it burned down during a 5 alarm fire in 2006, along with the Atlantic, in December of that year.  The balloon construction made for a deluge with quick destruction up and down the buildings.

An AP historian said, in an APP article, that the buildings were considered historically significant to Asbury Park and Monmouth County.
“This site is one of the small remaining number of turn-of-the-century hotels that once flourished,” he said.

“The local historical society wanted to save the Atlantic and Belmont Hotels and have them refurbished to be used for residential purposes, but the society’s efforts were thwarted some years ago by the City Council and re-developers,” he said.

“And, now that the fire has destroyed the hotels, there is nothing left to do but start from the ground up.  They could have been adapted to modern uses, but now they are gone,” said the historian.

Residents said they were upset to see history disappear so quickly. “I hate to see it go,” Robert Razminas, 48, an Asbury Park resident for 25 years, said as the buildings burned. “These old places are Asbury Park history. They should be restored and kept up.”

George Tice* is one of America’s most famous photographers.  He is especially known for his work in his native New Jersey.  His specialty is documenting historic old buildings and neighborhoods, as in his photographs of Paterson, an old immigrant-based blue collar city.

The Tice photograph above of the Belmont is from an on-line gallery web site   (Paddle8).  In 1974 he photographed two Victorian houses in Ocean Grove.

Tice has published about 20 photographic books including one about the Amish in Pennsylvania and another in Ireland and England called Stone Walls, Grey Skies.

A platinum print from that book resides in Ocean Grove. Contact us if you want to view it. One of his most important books is Paterson.

Here is a link to a BF piece in 2013 which shows some of his images:

Tibet in Jersey: The Newark Museum Scores With Exhibits on Tibet and George Tice–Jersey Photographer


PHILLIP SMITH ( of Ocean Grove and the NY Philharmonic) on trumpet along with JOSEPH TURIN on piano play Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me”  Note: I spotted Phil—Phil Smith and the NY Philharmonic–on TV for the Live From Lincoln Center New Years Eve show on PBS.  The camera caught him having a string of rests and gazing ahead as Yo Yo Ma played a tango. He has since retired from the Phil, but he still spends summers in the Grove and plays in the Great Auditorium.


EDITOR’S NOTE:  This article rings true as we think about historic preservation in Ocean Grove. These two Asburian hotels could have been re-purposed into residences while maintaining their  historic “bones.” 

As noted before by Blogfinger, Asbury has an advantage for preservation because of the available land for parking, but that didn’t save these two structures—they were destined to be replaced by condominiums.

Evidently the idea of remodeling them into residences was not considered because AP has turned over that entire oceanfront area to trash-and -build-new developers without any worry about history.  They  don’t seem to care about AP’s history and they don’t mind turning much of their reclaimed property into condominiums. I recall when the beautiful old Metropolitan Hotel, a nostalgic place, which I visited before it’s death spiral, with much history, was allowed to rot and then be demolished.

However there is a huge difference between the two towns:  Ocean Grove is on the National and State Historic Registers, so we have an obligation to try and save historic buildings and not mow them down like dead ducks. But turning old hotels into condo’s here is contrary to our Master Plan which has a vision that is totally different than Asbury’s, and we really shouldn’t allow more space-clogging condo conversions of old hotels to occur, especially in defiance of RSIS parking standards.

Our old hotels need to be dealt with in ways that meet the special needs of our town, with the interests of the people and the history placed ahead of the developers and the politicians who want more money from the Cash-Cow-By-The-Sea.

Current related issues in 2018 directs our attention to the Aurora Hotel and the Warrington.*   We have posted articles about both, and both face an uncertain future in Ocean Grove;  and the best we can  hope for in both cases would be single family Victorian designer homes.

Phil Smith’s solo above  (“Someone to Watch over Me”) reminds us to protect our town’s historic treasures.

—Paul Goldfinger, Editor.

*The Warrington was destroyed in a fire on March 3, 2017. Its burned-out foundation is hanging around awaiting the results of some legal action related to the fire and its damages to the nearby neighborhood.

Read Full Post »

“Looking Back” at Ocean Grove, New Jersey. As seen from the OG fishing pier. May 8, 2008. Paul Goldfinger photo ©. Please do not reproduce.  Click left for large view.


By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor. Blogfinger.net

This image is permanently exhibited on Blogfinger in the “About” section above. It appeared in Maine Ahead, a magazine which featured it in their January 2011 Anniversary Collectors Edition.

Note that this special uncropped commemorative “print” of it includes a piece of the old OG fishing pier in the lower left hand corner.

Here’s Bruce Springsteen;  a musical hero at the Jersey Shore. He appeared in the 12/12/12 Benefit Concert in NYC  with the E Street Band — raising money for  hurricane victims.

Below is a live recording of “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” — from the 2008 album “Magic.”

This song reminds me of the Jersey Shore — you can almost smell the surf and see the girls walking on the boardwalk and the fishing pier.

“And the girls in their summer clothes
In the cool of the evening light
The girls in their summer clothes
Passing by.”



Read Full Post »

Windows at the top reaches of the Tabernacle. All photos by Paul Goldfinger ©

Windows at the top reaches of the Tabernacle. All photos by Paul Goldfinger © Click on all photographs to enlarge them.


By Paul Goldfinger MD, Editor @Blogfinger.net     Original 2014…

The Bishop Janes Tabernacle is the oldest permanent structure in Ocean Grove, build in 1877.

It is an airy, open building consisting basically of one room and  a center section on top where  a sweep of windows allows light to stream in from above  and illuminate the seating below–symbolic perhaps, or very practical, or both.

Light and breezes come inside. ©

Light and breezes come inside. ©


Ted Bell, Ocean Grove historian and author, showed us the 19th century ventilation system which keeps the place cool.  Downstairs there is a ring of large doors and windows.   The latter open in a curious way, but there is a purpose to the design. The window aims the warm breezes upward where they can stream through the top  row of windows.


Ted Bell shows how the lower level windows open. ©

Ted Bell shows how the lower level windows open. ©

Outside, the light trickles and flows through the trees to hit the Tabernacle and creates moving patterns on its outside walls and illumination for the prayer books inside.


outside one


BACH:  Double concerto in D minor for 2 violins and strings.  With Yehudi Menuhin, Alberto Lysy, and Camerata Lysy Gstaad.


—- Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Read Full Post »


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger    I like this post, so here it is again.   .  Some of you read this post, but there is one addition* regarding Madeleine Peyroux the jazz singer working a corner in Paris.    The year is 1991, and we were visiting with our son Michael. We had been there before and we liked the Left Bank the best, especially the area near the oldest church in town  (St. Germaine des Pres)  located on the Boulevard St. Germaine.

You can walk that neighborhood and find bookstalls along the River Seine, Musee D’Orsay—home of the Impressionists, funky neighborhoods near the Sorbonne, antique shops, bistros where you can’t get a bad meal, small hotels with floor to ceiling windows and no elevators, and wonderful food markets.


Boats moored along the Seine. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Boats moored along the Seine. Paul Goldfinger photo ©


Behind the old church where the Blvd. St. Germaine meets Rue de Rennes, is a tiny park where you can relax, called the Rue de l’Abbaye—a respite from the bustle all around it.  But also at that intersection is the famous Café Les Deux Magots where Hemingway, Picasso and other artists and intellectuals used to hang out. It’s so much fun to sip an espresso there and people-watch.


Park adjacent to the church: St. Germaine des Pres. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.


One evening Michael, Eileen,  and I took a walk.  At the corner, in front of the church and across from the café, we heard a street band playing. They were called “The Lost Wandering Blues and Jazz Band,”  composed mostly of American musicians.  But we were most intriqued by their vocalist, a seventeen year old young woman from New York and California who sounded like Billie Holiday.

She had been living in Paris since she moved there at age 16 with her mom.  Madeleine Peyroux is now a jazz star who performs around the world, but we think of her standing on the sidewalk with a floppy hat on, charming the crowd.

Below is the Café Deux Magots which dates back to 1875—just a few years younger than Ocean Grove.

And below that is Madeleine Peyroux singing in French. The song is “J’ai Deux Amours”  (I have two loves).  It is from her album “Careless Love.”    That’s a good song for an album with that name.


Cafe Deux Magots. Paris. 1991. By Paul Goldfinger


Presenting Madeleine Peyroux: *  I just found a photo which I took that evening in 1991 across the street from Deux Maggots and on the corner of the church. For years I wondered why I didn’t photograph her.



The teen age Madeleine Peyroux singing with an American band in Paris. Paul Goldfinger photo ©. Copywrite. 1991.




Read Full Post »

Ocean Grove, NJ By Paul Goldfinger © Feb. 2010

Ocean Grove, NJ By Paul Goldfinger   Thornley Chapel. 
Feb. 2010. silver gelatin print. Click once to enlarge.


MARTHA WAINWRIGHT  from the soundtrack of the movie Aviator


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »