Archive for the ‘exhibit’ Category

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Music: 07 Superhuman Powers of Concentration

Adventures in Music

Sviatoslav Richter

Music has the power to spur performers on to superhuman feats of skill that from the audience just don’t look humanly possible. Here is just such a performance…

Sviatoslav Richter: Chopin Etudes Op. 10 No. 1-4

Russian virtuoso Sviatoslav Richter (on DGG and EMI) was one of the towering figures of classical music in the 20th century with a repertoire as broad as any pianist before or since. He saw himself as a servant of the composer and criticized performers who took liberties with the letter of the score. He disliked recording, and preferred to perform in quickly arranged concerts in almost total darkness.

Richter believed that performing with only a single small light on the piano helped the audience focus on the music. Undoubtedly, it also helped him focus, and in this clip, he very nearly loses his cool. The BBC negotiated for months with Richter to be able to televise one of his performances. He grudgingly agreed, but stipulated that he have total control of the lighting and camera angles. Just after Richter launched into some of the most technically difficult pieces in all of the repertoire for piano, the video director decided to turn up the lights a little, thinking no one would notice. Well, Richter noticed, and in the middle of concentrating on his performance, he flashed a look to the camera that would melt steel. I’ve seen that look before on my dad’s face when I was a kid!

Watch Richter’s hands carefully. Superman is REAL!

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Adventures in MusicAdventures in Music

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Adventures in Music.

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Music: 06 Bluegrass, Beehives and Beautiful Ignorance

Adventures in Music

The Osbourne Brothers

Back in the sixties, there was an explosion of bluegrass festivals- gatherings of fans and musicians in an open air venue to relax and enjoy music together. They were informal affairs. People would bring a picnic lunch and lawn chairs and sit in the sunshine enjoying The Dillards, the Stanley Brothers, Flatt and Scruggs or Roy Acuff. The performers even encouraged fans to bring along reel to reel tape recorders, and you can find hundreds of these incredible live recordings circulating in the mp3 trading newsgroups.

This clip comes from another “must have” DVD that vividly captures that exciting scene… Bluegrass Country Soul.

The Osbourne Brothers: “Rocky Top”, “Ruby”

When I watch this clip, I’m transported to another time and another place. Those beehive hairdos would be hilarious in any other context, but here they seem right at home. A lot of hipsters look down their nose and make fun of “hicks” and “trailer trash”, but I see great beauty in this stuff.

My friend John K once described this old time country music to me as “beautiful ignorance: the high lonesome sound of an injured animal all alone in the woods, not knowing why he hurts or whether it will ever stop.” My God! My heart stopped when he said that. Beautiful ignorance! What a wonderful way of putting it.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Adventures in MusicAdventures in Music

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Adventures in Music.

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Music: 05 A Scenester and a Square

Adventures in Music

Frank Oz and Jim Henson with Rowlf

Music isn’t intended to be kept to yourself. You have to share it. I love chatting about music with my friends and getting excited about new discoveries. It’s a lot of fun. It’s clear that the folks in this clip feel the same way.

Jimmy Dean and Jim Henson’s Rowlf, “You Are My Sunshine”

I mentioned before how upset I was to find out that “The Jimmy Dean Show” DVDs were out of print. It was a really important show- the first country-western music show in prime time. But it was also the first nationwide TV series to feature Jim Henson’s Muppets.

This clip is brilliant. Henson is a drop-dead genius. Since he passed away, the spark of life and vivid spontaneity of the Muppets’ performances have faded away with him. The characters all seem to be lip syncing to a prerecorded track now. But it wasn’t always that way. Look at the brilliant feeling of ad-lib and give and take between Rowlf and Jimmy Dean in this clip. Also, keep in mind that the puppet is operated by two people- Henson operates the mouth and one hand and his wife operates the other hand. The complexity of co-ordinating that sort of co-operative performance is totally erased by the vivid performance. Animators can learn a lot from puppeteers when it comes to creating a living, breathing character.

The best way to learn about music is to hang out with people who know more about it than you do. A lot of my best friends are musicians and I’m constantly learning new things from them. Music sure is fun, isn’t it?

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Adventures in MusicAdventures in Music

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Adventures in Music.