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Topic: OT: Channel 4 tonight - Greatest Composers of 20st Century

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  1. #1
    andyt
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    OT: Channel 4 tonight - Greatest Composers of 20st Century

    For those in the UK, there is an interesting documentary series (4 parts) starting tonight on Channel 4, 7:00pm. It caught my eye because one episode will be on Bernard Herman (but not tonight's).

    Its being done by Howard Goodhall who has written some fascinating documentaries (& books) on the history of music in recent years.

    One episode each on Lennon & Mcthingy, Herman, Cole Porter, Bernstein.

  2. #2
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    Re: OT: Channel 4 tonight - Greatest Composers of 20st Century

    Thanks for the tip off Andy...a couple of my favourite composers there....L&M and CP. Call me stupid (and I suppose folk will) but the name Bernard Herman didn't ring a bell. However when I looked him up on the net I notice that I've seen many of the films he wrote for. I'm one of those who just watch the pictures and enjoy the music. I rarely bother to note who has directed, produced or wrote music for them.....What would you call me....a philistine perhaps?

    Same with Bernstein (just looked up his prodigious output)....I only know him for West Side Story which although innovative, at the time, like the 60's contemporary concrete tower blocks of that period, I don't know if this music has the lasting quality of others?

    I'm a true philistine and love melody, harmony and clever lyrics and am much more of a Rodgers and Hammerstein type of person (What an unbelievable outpouring of beautiful words and music those two put out....just checked!)

    However, because of this I shall make a point of watching Herman and Berstein and be prepared to be converted.

    The other thing that just struck me, yet again, with the 100's of composers who have sprung up over the last few hundred years one can only listen to the tiniest percentage of even them, far less their output, in a lifetime....nearly all of it is lost (in percentage terms). Mathematically this is just going to get worse as time goes on.....a man still only has so many hours to listen to music in a lifetime with forever more composers in a world with more free time and facilities. It gets harder and harder for a new composer to make a mark. If that wasn't bad enough, music has to fight for it's space against many more pastimes and diversions like...TV, Video games, Posting on the Internet, drugs etc etc...... Globalisation of the entertainment industry also reduces the number of openings for artists and reduces the cost base for the megacompanies....what a great world we're making.....blah blah blah........

    I went to see the Manchurian Candidate this week (haven't got a clue who did the music) and commented to my family when watching the trailers that, again, the average person only sees a small percentage of all the films that are being churned out now....I expect we're missing a hell of a good lot of stuff. To prove the point I occasionally watch a film which comes onto the TV....one that hasn't been popular or doesn't have any well known actors and yet have been most pleasantly surprised by the enjoyment I have obtained from it. I'm sure it's the same with music. Contrarily, a lot of the over hyped and marketed Oscar nominees/winners often disappoint....but that's another rant! (Moulin Rouge...Poooh, Chicago....Poooh)

    Mind you there will always be room for an ABBA (Benny and Bjorn (again)) of the orchestral music world to spring out of nowhere and give a generation great pleasure.....what more could you ask for?

    Sadly? it is only the more popular stuff, beloved of philistines like me (I represent the masses), which survive.....

    Frank (Grumpy old(ish) man.....was an Angry young man)
    Small print...the opinions above are only my opinions , please ignore them if you find them upsetting in any way.

  3. #3

    Re: OT: Channel 4 tonight - Greatest Composers of 20st Century

    too bad they don't play it on Ch. 1 or 2, which the rest of Europe does get

  4. #4
    andyt
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    Re: OT: Channel 4 tonight - Greatest Composers of 20st Century

    It was great programme. Lennon & McCartney .. Focused totally on the music and compositions (no biography what-so-ever), and he deconstructed a lot of it, to explain from a theoretical point of what is going on and why it was so clever.

    He has an interesting point of view that the Beatles saved Western music (!), since Classical music was becoming ever more inaccesible due to the avante garde movements of the 50's and 60's, and popular music was mostly unimaginative and regurgitive rock-'n-roll. He postulated that both classical and popular music were refreshed and re-invigorated after the Beatles showed the world that there was still unplumbed depths of orginial music to be discovered in conventional western tonal music ...

    Interestingly, he explains his choice of the composers is based on his belief they had the most profound impact on 20th Century music, and that nothing was ever the same after them. He spent a little time explaining why he couldn't get Gershwin onto his short-list ...

    In radio interview earlier today, I also heard explaining why he chose Herman who to many outside of an interest in film music won't really know who he is. His hypothesis was that before Herman most film music could be described as "romantic viennese".

    Good prog. Hope some of you caught it. Really looking forward to the Herman episode.

  5. #5
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    Talking Re: OT: Channel 4 tonight - Greatest Composers of 20st Century

    Bernard Herrmann. Let's get it right lads, aye.

  6. #6
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    Re: OT: Channel 4 tonight - Greatest Composers of 20st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by andyt
    It was great programme. Lennon & McCartney .. Focused totally on the music and compositions (no biography what-so-ever), and he deconstructed a lot of it, to explain from a theoretical point of what is going on and why it was so clever.

    He has an interesting point of view that the Beatles saved Western music (!), since Classical music was becoming ever more inaccesible due to the avante garde movements of the 50's and 60's, and popular music was mostly unimaginative and regurgitive rock-'n-roll. He postulated that both classical and popular music were refreshed and re-invigorated after the Beatles showed the world that there was still unplumbed depths of orginial music to be discovered in conventional western tonal music ...

    Interestingly, he explains his choice of the composers is based on his belief they had the most profound impact on 20th Century music, and that nothing was ever the same after them. He spent a little time explaining why he couldn't get Gershwin onto his short-list ...

    In radio interview earlier today, I also heard explaining why he chose Herman who to many outside of an interest in film music won't really know who he is. His hypothesis was that before Herman most film music could be described as "romantic viennese".

    Good prog. Hope some of you caught it. Really looking forward to the Herman episode.
    I really appreciated your excellent summary for, as things worked out, I missed it even after your tip off!! I was, kicking myself, mad.

    I strongly believe in this statement you/the programme made: "still unplumbed depths of orginial music to be discovered in conventional western tonal music ... "

    There is always room for (truly gifted) people to use the 12 notes and the couple of thousand words to produce new and harmonic music....that's why I used my ABBA example.

    What I have noticed is that all these people from Robert Burns to the Beatles, Dylan, The Beachboys, The Kinks, Queen......these are just examples from a large list who have the ability to say something in apparently simple words and music and it all looks so simple that you think, well I could do that...but it isn't so easy.....Look at Joplin too, no words but after a couple of hundred years of the availability of the piano up he comes with a totally new idea.....

    Thanks again

    Frank

    PS, you haven't got it on tape have you? I'm down in the Bournemouth area!

  7. #7
    andyt
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    Re: OT: Channel 4 tonight - Greatest Composers of 20st Century

    Hi Frank,

    Sorry, no I didn't record it.

    I like your example of ABBA. I love them too. Almost every phrase in their songs (musical phrases not lyrical phrases) is interesting and moves the songs along. Their intro's often had many ideas as most songwriters manage in an entire song ... to my ears a lot of modern pop music use the intro just to building up a groove.

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    Re: OT: Channel 4 tonight - Greatest Composers of 20st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by andyt
    Hi Frank,

    Sorry, no I didn't record it.
    Bugguerre!!!

    Thanks for responding though.

    Cheers

    Frank

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