Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Music: 10 Bernstein on What Makes American Music American

Adventures in Music

Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein was an accomplished composer and conductor, but if you want my opinion, he really stood out as being one of the world’s greatest educators. He began a series of televised educational concerts in 1958 called “Young People’s Concerts”, and systematically educated America’s youth about great music for the next 15 years. Bernstein didn’t talk down to the kids. Looking at these lectures today as an adult, there’s still plenty for me to learn. It distresses me that there’s nothing even remotely like this available to kids on television today. It’s a crime in fact. Thankfully, the entire series of Young People’s Concerts is available on DVD.

Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man, Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts

In this clip, Bernstein sums up how America’s melting pot of cultures distilled many different kinds of music into quintessentially “American” music. Too often we try to ignore cultural differences and pretend they don’t exist. Pointing out the things that are particular to a group of people is seen as “impolite”. I prefer to celebrate all of the ethnic cultures around me here in Hollywood- Hispanic, Asian, Black, Middle Eastern- even the plain old white bread people I grew up around are unique in their own way. As a cartoonist, the differences between all of us are much more interesting than the similarities. Viva la difference!

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.

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.