Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Music: 09 Shirley and Buddy at the Codfish Ball

Shirley Temple

Music and Dance are sisters. They go together. They both know how the other one moves. And they’re able to seamlessly meld together to create something that communicates on a level far below conscious thought. How do you go about describing the way a melody makes you feel, or how a dancer’s attitudes convey joy or heartache or excitement? The great thing about art is that it can take a million words to describe it in detail, yet you still haven’t communicated its meaning as well as just viewing it.

Shirley Temple and Buddy Ebsen: “At the Codfish Ball” from Captain January 1937

When I share great old stuff with young people, inevitably someone in the crowd will pipe up with “How come only old stuff is good? New stuff is good too!” Well, it is certainly true that there is great new art being made today, but this level of skill, talent and artistry isn’t as common as it used to be, and it isn’t in the mainstream media the way it was in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Case in point: Shirley Temple.

Here’s a little kid whose dancing is just as good, if not better than anything on “Dancing With The Stars”. Buddy Ebsen just plain kicks ass in this clip and even he is hard pressed to keep up! This freakin’ 8 year old makes Beyonce look like a tired old nag! They weren’t alone. Check out MGM’s That’s Entertainment for more… and the other studios too- Fox, Columbia, Warner Bros… every studio was loaded with talent like this.

Animators need to study great dancers and learn from their techniques. I sat down with a couple of my interns and analyzed this particular clip. It has a lot of interesting things to teach animators and entertainers of all types.

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.

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Music: 08 The Ambassador of Jazz Comes Marching In

Adventures in Music

Louis Armstrong

I’m afraid I’m a little bit at a loss for words on this one… What do you say about a man who is the beginning and end of all things Jazz? I’m sure that even the most musically illiterate know who “Satchmo” is. But as much as I know about him, I keep discovering new things myself.

Louis Armstrong and Friends: “When The Saints Go Marching In”

All I’m going to say is that if you have even a passing interest in Jazz, you absolutely need Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Sevens recordings. And of his later records, the affectionate tributes to W.C. Handy and Fats Waller are standouts.

Armstrong was known as the “Ambassador of Jazz”. His trumpet continues to represent it well, and continues to speak to everyone… even those of us who are far removed from New Orleans in the early part of the 20th century, where the greatest American artistic achievement began. Louis Armstrong IS Jazz.

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.

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.