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Stephen Sondheim, RIP
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The eminent Broadway musical composer Stephen Sondheim has died at 91.

As I wrote here in 2015 about the movie version of his Into The Woods:

The one missing item is of course catchy tunes. As with most Sondheim musicals, you won’t walk out humming the closing song. …

In a more tuneful alternate reality version of Broadway history, Leonard Bernstein would have followed up West Side Story by composing three or four more musicals, with Sondheim repeating as lyricist.

For an example of Sondheim as a lyricist:

Sondheim was a superb critic of lyric writing. (Here’s his analysis of why DuBose Heyward’s line “Summertime and the living is easy” is so great.) Here, from his obituary in the New York Times, is his own criticism of “America:”

“Words must sit on music in order to become clear to the audience,” he said to his biographer Meryle Secrest for her 1998 book, “Stephen Sondheim: A Life.” “You don’t get a chance to hear the lyric twice, and if it doesn’t sit and bounce when the music bounces and rise when the music rises, the audience becomes confused.”

In “America,” he added, “I had this wonderful quatrain that went: ‘I like to be in America/OK by me in America/Everything free in America/For a small fee in America.’ The little ‘for a small fee’ was my zinger — except that the ‘for’ is accented and ‘small fee’ is impossible to say that fast, so it went ‘For a smafee in America.’ Nobody knew what it meant!”

As I wrote in 2015:

But Bernstein got himself stuck thinking he had to top West Side Story, and that proved dauntingly hard to do. So the Bernstein-Sondheim composer-lyricist pairing never happened again.

Sondheim always wanted to compose his own music, and as Mark Twain sort of said about Wagner’s oeuvre, it’s better than it sounds. Sondheim is a hard-working artist who is an ornament of the upper reaches of American popular culture. It’s good to have a culture sophisticated enough to produce a Sondheim. It’s just unlucky that he lacks the gift of composing melodic hooks.

Here’s Sondheim’s famous lyric “Finishing the Hat” from Sunday In the Park With George about how painstaking a great artist like Georges Seurat (or, by implication, Stephen Sondheim) must be and the sacrifices his devotion to his art demands from his loved ones.

Sondheim chose Finishing the Hat to be the title of his memoirs, so this song meant a lot to him, as it exemplifies his motto that “that art is work and not inspiration, that invention comes with craft.”

It’s a really good song … except for the tune, which sounds as if Mandy Patinkin is making it up as he goes along. Judging by Peter Jackson’s new Get Back documentary about the Beatles, in 1969 Paul McCartney could have improvised a better melody off the top of his head the first time he was handed these lyrics.

The story Sondheim has often told about how when he was 15 his friend’s dad taught him how to write a musical is delightful. Of course it help if your friend’s dad is Oscar Hammerstein II. To reach a Sondheim level of sophistication it usually takes more than one generation. From the Paris Review:

INTERVIEWER When you were ten and your parents divorced, your mother moved to Pennsylvania and it was there at the age of eleven that you encountered Jimmy Hammerstein and were welcomed into the family of Oscar and Dorothy Hammerstein. I understand you’ve said that if Hammerstein had been a geologist, you would have become a geologist.

STEPHEN SONDHEIM Yes. He was a surrogate father and a mentor to me up until his death. When I was fifteen, I wrote a show for George School, the Friends school I went to. It was called “By George” and was about the students and the faculty. I was convinced that Rodgers and Hammerstein couldn’t wait to produce it, so I gave it to Oscar and asked him to read it as if he didn’t know me. I went to bed dreaming of my name in lights on Broadway, and when I was summoned to his house the next day he asked, Do you really want me to treat this as if I didn’t know you?

Oh yes, I said, to which he replied, In that case, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever read. He saw me blanch and continued, I didn’t say it was untalented, but let’s look at it. He proceeded to discuss it as if it were a serious piece. He started right from the first stage direction; and I’ve often said, at the risk of hyperbole, that I probably learned more about writing songs that afternoon than I learned the rest of my life. He taught me how to structure a song, what a character was, what a scene was; he taught me how to tell a story, how not to tell a story, how to make stage directions practical.

Of course when you’re fifteen you’re a sponge. I soaked it all up and I still practice the principles he taught me that afternoon. From then on, until the day he died, I showed him everything I wrote, and eventually had the Oedipal thrill of being able to criticize his lyrics, which was a generous thing for him to let me do.

INTERVIEWER I’ve read that one of the things you learned from him was the power of a single word.

SONDHEIM Oscar dealt in very plain language. He often used simple rhymes like day and May, and a lot of identities like “Younger than springtime am I / Gayer than laughter am I.” If you look at “Oh, what a beautiful mornin’! / Oh, what a beautiful day!” it doesn’t seem like much on paper, but he understood what happens when music is applied to words—the words explode. They have their own rainbows, their own magic. But not on the printed page. Some lyrics read well because they’re conversational lyrics. Oscar’s do not read very well because they’re colloquial but not conversational. Without music, they sound simplistic and written. Yet it’s precisely the hypersimplicity of the language that gives them such force. If you listen to “What’s the Use of Wond’rin’ ” from Carousel, you’ll see what I mean.

INTERVIEWER He also stressed the importance of creating character in songs.

SONDHEIM Remember, he’d begun as a playwright before he became a songwriter. He believed that songs should be like one-act plays, that they should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. They should set up a situation, have a development, and then a conclusion . . . exactly like a classically constructed play. Arthur Pinero said about playwriting: “Tell them what you’re going to do, then do it, then tell them you’ve done it.” If that’s what a play is, Oscar’s songs are little plays. He utilized that approach as early as Show Boat. That’s how he revolutionized musical theater—utilizing operetta principles and pasting them onto American musical comedy.

INTERVIEWER That afternoon, as I recall, Hammerstein also outlined for you a curriculum and told you he wanted you to write four things. It sounds like a wonderful fairy tale. What were they?

SONDHEIM First, he said, take a play that you like, that you think is good, and musicalize it. In musicalizing it, you’ll be forced to analyze it. Next, take a play that you think is good but flawed, that you think could be improved, and musicalize that, seeing if you can improve it. Then take a nonplay, a narrative someone else has written—it could be a novel, a short story—but not a play, not something that has been structured dramatically for the stage, and musicalize that. Then try an original. The first one I did was a play by George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly, Beggar on Horseback, which lends itself easily to musicalization because it’s essentially a long fantasy. We performed that at college when I was an undergraduate at Williams. I got permission from Kaufman to do it and we had three performances. It was a valuable experience, indeed. The second one, which I couldn’t get permission for, was a play by Maxwell Anderson called High Tor, which I liked but thought was sort of clumsy. Then I tried to adapt Mary Poppins. I didn’t finish that one because I couldn’t figure out how to take a series of disparate short stories, even though the same characters existed throughout, and make an evening, make an arc. After that I wrote an original musical about a guy who wanted to become an actor and became a producer. He had a sort of Sammy Glick streak in him—he was something of an opportunist. So I wrote my idea of a sophisticated, cynical musical. It was called “Climb High.” There was a motto on a flight of stone steps at Williams, “Climb high, climb far, your aim the sky, your goal the star.” I thought, Gee, that’s very Hammersteinish. I sent him the whole thing. The first act was ninety-nine pages long. Now, the entire script of South Pacific, which lasted almost three hours on the stage, was only ninety-two pages. Oscar sent my script back, circled the ninety-nine, and just wrote, Wow!

A delightful contributor to American culture …

 
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  1. • Replies: @AndrewR
    @JohnnyWalker123

    I am not a jazz expert but that doesn't really sound like any jazz from the 1940s

    Replies: @Clifford Brown

    , @Anon
    @JohnnyWalker123

    Being from the rock generation, I am unable to like Sondheim. He's from that boring time before music became really exciting.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

  2. Based AF.

  3. That is a beautiful dancing segment from West Side Story and the Sondheim lyrics are brilliant, but the obvious dubbing is a bit of shame to modern tastes. It is a truly classic movie scene nonetheless. Thanks to Steve once again for keeping the best of popular culture alive, despite the current censorious left-wing tyranny in the USA.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    @Peter Johnson

    I find the lyrics to that song America (clip above) really cringe-worthy.

    I wonder if Sondheim had ever met any young people from Puerto Rico.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @Peter D. Bredon, @Reg Cæsar, @Peter Johnson

  4. A delightful contributor to American culture …

    Right. I especially like how they manage to fit their tribal socio-political propaganda into nearly everything they wrote. Works like West Side Story and South Pacific are full of great music, and beloved by countless millions who happily sing along with the propaganda, not really even thinking.

    • Agree: Charon, Kylie
    • LOL: BB753
    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    @HammerJack

    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time, but I suspect that very few people who have ever seen it give very much thought to the themes of interracial and intergenerational sex, or pay attention to the fact that Nelly Forbush comes from Little Rock, Arkansas of all places.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @Bardon Kaldian, @SFG, @Wade Hampton, @Wilkey

    , @SFG
    @HammerJack

    You could claim A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum draws on classical culture.

    (Yes, that was a joke.)

    , @Suburban_elk_4
    @HammerJack


    Right. I especially like how they manage to fit their tribal socio-political propaganda into nearly everything they wrote. Works like West Side Story and South Pacific are full of great music, and beloved by countless millions who happily sing along with the propaganda, not really even thinking.
     
    Yeah exactly. Thematically, as art, it's weak sauce. (Or at least going by the clips in the OP.)
    , @Wade Hampton
    @HammerJack

    If you are talking straight multiculti propaganda, it's hard to beat "South Pacific". The big song "You've Got to be Carefully Taught" must have been Robin DiAngelo's inspiration for her crusade for anti-white racism.

    "You've got to be taught
    To hate and fear,
    You've got to be taught
    From year to year,
    It's got to be drummed
    In your dear little ear
    You've got to be carefully taught.

    You've got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
    And people whose skin is a different shade,
    You've got to be carefully taught.

    You've got to be taught before it's too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You've got to be carefully taught!"

  5. For example, it’s quick work to draw a straight line between the lyrics of those two musicals and the news that NYC is about to legalize noncitizen voting.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/will-noncitizens-pick-new-yorks-mayors-11637968529

    What’ll be next? Allowing noncitizens to vote before they have even migrated. Prohibiting citizens from voting. White ones, anyway.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    @HammerJack

    Not every musical composer can be a champion of reactionary values like Richard O’Brien.

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/1456468386012180481?s=21

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @Almost Missouri

  6. …in 1969 Paul McCartney could have improvised a better melody off the top of his head the first time he was handed these lyrics.

    Or Richard Rodgers could have, to use his own metaphor, peed it.

    Sondheim was called on to do both words and music for Gypsy, but Ethel Merman scotched* that idea. Jule Styne did the music instead. Hammerstein told Sondheim to suck it up, and he did, praising Styne’s score.

    After Hammerstein died, Rodgers did his own lyrics (for a show about Hammerstein’s fixation, a mixed couple), and Sondheim did Forum, with his catchiest song, “Comedy Tonight”. Then the two collaborated on a forgotten show in which Sondheim rhymed intellectual, ineffectual, and homosexual to a bouncy tune. That’s all I can remember of it!

    …the first time he was handed these lyrics.

    Usually the melody comes first, then the words. Rodgers did this with Lorenz Hart. Hammerstein, though, set his lyrics to opera tunes and handed them to Rodgers. This may be why the Hart-era songs are favored by jazzed.

    Words-first is a clumsy way to work. There are a hundred ways to say something to mean the same thing, but fiddle with the notes and it’s a different tune. Classical composers could do it with the Mass because they had the freedom of melisma, which was shunned by Broadway and Tin Pan Alley. (Yes, New York’s standards were stricter than Europe’s, at least on this. How many librettists can you name, anyway?)

    *Fun fact: Merman, Hammerstein, Donald Trump, and Jay Leno all had Scottish mothers.

    • Replies: @Kylie
    @Reg Cæsar

    "Words-first is a clumsy way to work."

    It worked just fine for Schubert.

    Replies: @additionalMike, @Reg Cæsar

    , @Buck Ransom
    @Reg Cæsar

    Then the two collaborated on a forgotten show in which Sondheim rhymed intellectual, ineffectual, and homosexual to a bouncy tune. That’s all I can remember of it!

    Here it is, from a 2016 production of Do I Hear a Waltz? The part you're thinking of starts around the 3:45 mark. It's not a collaboration, Sondheim did the music and lyrics for this show.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy9bwhS3Xgo

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

  7. @HammerJack
    For example, it's quick work to draw a straight line between the lyrics of those two musicals and the news that NYC is about to legalize noncitizen voting.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/will-noncitizens-pick-new-yorks-mayors-11637968529

    What'll be next? Allowing noncitizens to vote before they have even migrated. Prohibiting citizens from voting. White ones, anyway.

    Replies: @Dave Pinsen

    Not every musical composer can be a champion of reactionary values like Richard O’Brien.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    @Dave Pinsen


    Steyn
     
    I was wondering if his name would come up in the comments, and if not if I would bring it myself.

    And yeah, Rocky Horror may have marked the formal end of musical theater, not least because it was a film rather than actual musical theater.

    Replies: @Ralph L, @Dave Pinsen

    , @Almost Missouri
    @Dave Pinsen

    In his Song of the Week feature this week, Mark Steyn gave Steve an explicit name-check and a link directly to this blogpost. The Song of this Week was "Send in the Clowns", which Steyn used as the basis for an obit for Sondheim.

    He writes his characteristic criticism:


    But clever words on notes that seem to object on principle into cohering into a take-home tune is a much tougher sell to a mass audience.

    So Sondheim, the protégé of Oscar Hammerstein and sometime composing partner of Richard Rodgers, took the great central throughway of American popular culture and made it a dead end. Broadway is Spin-off Boulevard now: screen adaptations and jukebox musicals. He raged against that in the last couple of years, without apparently reflecting on what his own role might have been. "Finishing the Hat ...where there never was a hat" became making a wasteland where there never was a wasteland.

    ... It seems strange consciously to court unpopularity in a popular medium.
     
    but still finishes with some appreciation.

    Anyway, it's rather good.

    https://www.steynonline.com/11936/send-in-the-clowns
  8. Sondheim sums up a lot of Broadway of the last 50 years, and its decline into a gay-Jewish ghetto:

    -gay
    -Jewish
    -massively overrated/feted with awards because of the above 2 qualities
    -wrote insular lyrics only beloved by critics and “high brow” snots who hated America
    -made musicals that “deconstructed” (i.e. attacked) traditional morality and healthy psychology — so much so that no one saw them who didn’t already agree with him.
    -super huge ego such that he wrote his own music as well as his lyrics, when the norm was to do one or the other
    -made crap music
    -unknown and unbeloved outside of NYC and super-hard musical geeks

    If anything, Sondheim is proof why music & lyrics were separate functions in musical theater forever.

    I had to do his Into the Woods back in high school and lemme tell you–it was as boring and awful doing it as it is watching it. I have no idea why the theater teachers (all female) chose that over so many other ready-for-high-school-and-fun-to-sing-musicals, but likely their feminism and arrogance played a roles.

    • Thanks: Mike Tre
    • Replies: @Agitprop
    @R.G. Camara

    Into the Woods is morally incoherent but fundamentally trying to be reactionary. The somewhat recent film version stepped on the message even more and rendered it totally morally incoherent. Still, if you think Sondheim hated America, I think you have missed the point. For example, in "America", look again at which side is portrayed as right, and which side's parochialism drove the tragedy — and remember that, in the years since, the girls' parting shot, "everyone there will have moved here", more or less happened.

    Replies: @R.G. Camara

    , @Clyde
    @R.G. Camara

    Here are the top ten Sondheim songs. https://wfuv.org/content/10-stephen-sondheim-songs-well-never-stop-listening
    Send in The Clowns is the only one I know about. I am surprised because I have a good awareness of pop culture. I see that Bernadette Peters was often in his musicales. At Unz we know her for doing great in "Pink Cadillac" with Clint Eastwood. A comedy that had to do with The Aryan Nation guys in Hayden Lake, Idaho.

    Replies: @theMann, @Reg Cæsar

    , @Anon
    @R.G. Camara

    Agree re Into The Woods - dull, dull, dull.

    Send In The Clowns - is there anything else memorable he wrote? That's better than anything I've managed, but the Guardian aren't fawning over me.

    Sort of on topic - woke education at the American School in London, Jewish people worst hit.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10247727/Wokest-head-leaving-revolt-parents-said-pupils-indoctrinated-white-privilege.html

    Here's their "privilege wheel"

    https://i.dailymail.co.uk/1s/2021/11/26/22/51019285-10247727-image-a-31_1637964757515.jpg

    Replies: @Inselaffen

    , @Dave Pinsen
    @R.G. Camara

    I meant to post this comment as a reply here. Tl;dr: some of the biggest Broadway hits of the last 50 years have been written by straight, white gentiles like Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

    Replies: @R.G. Camara

    , @Old Prude
    @R.G. Camara

    I attended a Rogers and Hammerstein medley performance this Friday: The music was great, but the production was awful: Oklahoma! becomes an interracial Broke Back Mountain: A gay black man singing "I can't say no" and fagging it up the rest of the show. The best performer was a chubby asian girl, but like the gay black singer, unwatchable without vague disgust.

    It was of the same kidney as modern staging of classic operas. The producer can't mess with the genius of the music and lyrics, so they compensate by a repellant, insulting production. It is just an indication of how petty and inadequate they are in comparison with the creators. They should not be allowed near these works of genius.

  9. One of the few enduring controversies of the Lennon/McCartney songbook is who wrote the melody to “In My Life”. McCArtney insists he took john’s lyrics and went to the piano and came up with melody. In an interview, John claims to have been pretty much the sole composer with Paul maybe helping out with the middle eight. Of course the song doesn’t even have a middle eight (bridge). Recently, a musicologist did an analysis of all their songs and concluded that based on the chord progression it’s more likely John than Paul.

    We may never know for sure – but we can be certain either one could compose a better tune than Sondheim.

    • Replies: @R.G. Camara
    @Ziel

    Lennon was the brains.

    McCartney was the heart.

    Harrison was the soul.

    And Ringo played the drums.

    ------------------------

    Not that I believe that, it's just a funny joke.

    Ringo's drum playing has actually been lauded by many later drummers (including Bruce Springsteen's longtime celebrated drummer Max Weinberg) as innovative and era-shaping.

    And remember the Beatles never hit it big until Ringo joined.

    And they elevated Ringo and his drums behind them so everyone could see him, and named their band after the "beat" of the drums -- clearly, they thought his drumming was important to their songs.

    Not to mention how many songs Ringo sang on the albums (unheard of in those days, or indeed today, for a non-writing drummer to be so spotlighted), including the first song on Sgt. Pepper's ("I get by with a little help from my friends") and how after the Beatles broke up Ringo started a very successful career and had some good hit songs.

    Still, for some reason it became standard Beatles lore that Ringo was a nonentity nothing with no contributions. Sad!

    Replies: @Hibernian, @Raz, @G. Poulin

    , @Hangnail Hans
    @Ziel


    One of the few enduring controversies of the Lennon/McCartney songbook
     
    Probably can profitably delete the word "few" from that sentence, otherwise I can introduce you to some online music forums if you like.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

  10. Oh my.

    • Replies: @Peter D. Bredon
    @JohnnyWalker123

    Shot in the food court? Ouch, that sounds really painful.

  11. Sondheim sums up a lot of Broadway of the last 50 years, and its decline into a gay-Jewish ghetto:

    -gay
    -Jewish
    -massively overrated/feted with awards because of the above 2 qualities
    -wrote insular lyrics only beloved by critics and “high brow” snots who hated America

    Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice have had a number of hit musicals on Broadway in the last 50 years, and neither is Jewish or gay. And as for “insular lyrics”, here’s one of songs Tim Rice wrote the lyrics for in Aida (which has become a popular high school musical since debuting on Broadway at the turn of the century; this video appears to be from a fancy private high school):

    • Thanks: Buffalo Joe
  12. @JohnnyWalker123
    https://twitter.com/CryptoParadyme/status/1443663622169759758

    Replies: @AndrewR, @Anon

    I am not a jazz expert but that doesn’t really sound like any jazz from the 1940s

    • Replies: @Clifford Brown
    @AndrewR

    It's from the video game LA Noire about 1940's Los Angeles.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ol0vvI7snvw

  13. @R.G. Camara
    Sondheim sums up a lot of Broadway of the last 50 years, and its decline into a gay-Jewish ghetto:

    -gay
    -Jewish
    -massively overrated/feted with awards because of the above 2 qualities
    -wrote insular lyrics only beloved by critics and "high brow" snots who hated America
    -made musicals that "deconstructed" (i.e. attacked) traditional morality and healthy psychology -- so much so that no one saw them who didn't already agree with him.
    -super huge ego such that he wrote his own music as well as his lyrics, when the norm was to do one or the other
    -made crap music
    -unknown and unbeloved outside of NYC and super-hard musical geeks

    If anything, Sondheim is proof why music & lyrics were separate functions in musical theater forever.

    I had to do his Into the Woods back in high school and lemme tell you--it was as boring and awful doing it as it is watching it. I have no idea why the theater teachers (all female) chose that over so many other ready-for-high-school-and-fun-to-sing-musicals, but likely their feminism and arrogance played a roles.

    Replies: @Agitprop, @Clyde, @Anon, @Dave Pinsen, @Old Prude

    Into the Woods is morally incoherent but fundamentally trying to be reactionary. The somewhat recent film version stepped on the message even more and rendered it totally morally incoherent. Still, if you think Sondheim hated America, I think you have missed the point. For example, in “America”, look again at which side is portrayed as right, and which side’s parochialism drove the tragedy — and remember that, in the years since, the girls’ parting shot, “everyone there will have moved here”, more or less happened.

    • Replies: @R.G. Camara
    @Agitprop

    Sondheim writing lyrics as an underling in 1957 musical theater for a show that catered to Middle America is a far cry from his 1970s-1990s career as the critically-acclaimed star lyricist/music maker writing for a gay-Jewish audience that hated Middle America.

    Please also note the "all races are the same" nonsense was still being pushed in that 1957 musical.

  14. Sondheim obits clog the net, okay, he was good. Once in awhile.

    I don’t seem to recall a similar outpouring (even a few drips in fact) just over 5 years ago when Merle Haggard died. And Ol Merle went over 50 years touring and writing his music and having an effect on real people throughout the nation, and elsewhere as well.

    Worse still, Merle Haggard was from California. Did the entertainment industry not approve of a Native Son? He guest starred an a Clint Eastwood movie even. What gives?

    Expect big sendoffs for the critics darlings. What the rest of us like, not so much.

    • Replies: @R.G. Camara
    @Franz

    Merle likely was the single most important innovator in country music since Hank Williams Sr.

    Replies: @SonOfFrankenstein

    , @Mike Tre
    @Franz

    Roy Clark did as much or more for flyover culture than anyone. He was fret tapping 15 years before anyone had heard of Eddie VanHalen.

    https://youtu.be/lxDQQDF6j0Y

  15. Was he as influential as Dr. Seuss? This short propaganda film was done in 1945 to tell us how evil the German people are. It was literally written by Dr. Seuss. It said Germans were an eternal menace and we must watch out for fascism in America.

    It was pure race-hatred against Germans. It ends with a supportive image of Uncle Joe Stalin. It won the Academy Award.

    For those who think “woke” culture and propaganda just started in 2013. Or that culture just recently got dumbed down. This was moron level stuff.

    • Replies: @epebble
    @Loyalty Over IQ Worship

    How is it race-hatred when a mostly white America (and allies) considers (till recently) white supremacist Hitler's Nazi Germany as an enemy? Is our continuing enmity towards (far more whiter than U.S.) Russia also race-hatred? We have an alliance with South Korea but enmity with North Korea. Is that race-love/race-hatred/both/none?

  16. Very few people have any interest in this guy or any of the other ones mentioned. Far more people pretend to care than actually do. He contributed nothing of value and this era will be enthusiastically forgotten.

  17. Sondheim always wanted to compose his own music, and as Mark Twain sort of said about Wagner’s oeuvre, it’s better than it sounds.

    Lol.

    You’re obviously from a social class where the likes of a Broadway musical resonates. The funny thing about so called White privilege is that the actual privileged never pay the price of that privilege.

    How much does it cost to see and appreciate a Broadway musical? The former would be an easy google search based on selection of seats, the latter a calculation of a multitude of hitherto hidden social layers and their ancillary costs.

    The fact that you’re commenting on the value of a Sondheim musical marks out your social-strata, a sort of Territorial Pissings.

    Yet, I reckon that in the VAST sweep of the tide of time combined! with the benfit of hindsight, the likes of Sondheim and his ilk will be summarised in one word: Schmaltz.

    And perhaps another: Kitsch.

    Maybe, one day the most perspicacious of historians will categorise Sondheim and the entire gammut of the Broadway Musical as: Schmaltz unt Kitsch

    I think they’d be right.

    (I prefer the Alice Cooper version: story of my life*)

    *It’s actually derived from Chopin. If Chopin had a Jewish copyright lawyer he’d sue. Well, at least the copyright holder would.

    • LOL: BB753
  18. Stephen Sondheim wrote a perfect song for this CCP_virus hypochondria era — “Send in the Clowns”. He was from an era where gays put together some great popular entertainment, when they kept their gayness to themselves, even better, in the closet. In contrast to, from what I understand, today’s theater and musicals are dominated by “out” gay themes.

  19. @Ziel
    One of the few enduring controversies of the Lennon/McCartney songbook is who wrote the melody to "In My Life". McCArtney insists he took john's lyrics and went to the piano and came up with melody. In an interview, John claims to have been pretty much the sole composer with Paul maybe helping out with the middle eight. Of course the song doesn't even have a middle eight (bridge). Recently, a musicologist did an analysis of all their songs and concluded that based on the chord progression it's more likely John than Paul.

    We may never know for sure - but we can be certain either one could compose a better tune than Sondheim.

    Replies: @R.G. Camara, @Hangnail Hans

    Lennon was the brains.

    McCartney was the heart.

    Harrison was the soul.

    And Ringo played the drums.

    ————————

    Not that I believe that, it’s just a funny joke.

    Ringo’s drum playing has actually been lauded by many later drummers (including Bruce Springsteen’s longtime celebrated drummer Max Weinberg) as innovative and era-shaping.

    And remember the Beatles never hit it big until Ringo joined.

    And they elevated Ringo and his drums behind them so everyone could see him, and named their band after the “beat” of the drums — clearly, they thought his drumming was important to their songs.

    Not to mention how many songs Ringo sang on the albums (unheard of in those days, or indeed today, for a non-writing drummer to be so spotlighted), including the first song on Sgt. Pepper’s (“I get by with a little help from my friends”) and how after the Beatles broke up Ringo started a very successful career and had some good hit songs.

    Still, for some reason it became standard Beatles lore that Ringo was a nonentity nothing with no contributions. Sad!

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    @R.G. Camara

    There's a reason why McCartney was knighted, and I don't think it was only because Lennon died tragically young.

    , @Raz
    @R.G. Camara

    John Lennon was asked about Ringo vs Pete Best, who had been replaced by Ringo as the drummer. John replied, “Pete was a better drummer, Ringo is a better Beatle”.

    Pete Best later released an album “Best of the Beatles”. LOL

    Replies: @pirelli

    , @G. Poulin
    @R.G. Camara

    Before Ringo came along, the Beatles were just another pretty good club band. Ringo made the Beatles.

  20. Never heard of that man. I thought this was about some filmmaker.

    On the other hand, I can’t stand musicals (nor ballets, for that matter & I could include operas, too), so I have no opinion on this guy.

    So… I’m sorry he died so young. He could have lived as long as Jimmy Carter.

    • LOL: Buffalo Joe
  21. OT on the new Omicron variant. Will this threat pan out? The Pharmas are proclaiming they are working on a new Omicron vaccine soup to put into your arm. Being tested in Africa, and no one had dropped dead yet. That will be out in America in a few weeks. For a new and improved boost. Like the new and improved Tide. Pharmas always on your side, Clyde.

    Pharmas new tune:
    Don’t be a dope
    Omicron will put you
    On the ropes
    We got a new spiked soup
    For you
    Will make you feel good
    Through and through
    A new vaxxxx pie in the sky
    Without it you will die

    We put it together on the sly
    That when never-vaxxers die
    And turn stiff
    They’ll give us no mo’ lip
    They’ll turn stiff
    They’ll turn brown
    Send in the Clowns

  22. @Peter Johnson
    That is a beautiful dancing segment from West Side Story and the Sondheim lyrics are brilliant, but the obvious dubbing is a bit of shame to modern tastes. It is a truly classic movie scene nonetheless. Thanks to Steve once again for keeping the best of popular culture alive, despite the current censorious left-wing tyranny in the USA.

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason

    I find the lyrics to that song America (clip above) really cringe-worthy.

    I wonder if Sondheim had ever met any young people from Puerto Rico.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    @Jonathan Mason


    I wonder if Sondheim had ever met any young people from Puerto Rico.
     
    As menials and servants perhaps, in his rarified worlds of midcentury Manhattan and Doylestown. But yes, you make a good point. The West Side Puerto Ricans are really just sock puppets mouthing Sondheim's personal culture of critique. It's an early example of the mode of the Sacralized Other.

    Replies: @Dmon

    , @Peter D. Bredon
    @Jonathan Mason

    Steve and everyone is focusing on only one side of the lyrics. The trick here is that it's a duet, and Anita responds to all the pro-PR stuff with what can only be called "PR is a shithole."

    https://www.songlyrics.com/sondheim-stephen/america-lyrics/

    If you think "both sides are heard" is a defense in Woke America, read the papers sometime. Was this preserved in the new film? How, was it grandfathered in, or did They figure no one gave a tinker's damn about some dumb old musical?

    Replies: @Dave Pinsen

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Jonathan Mason


    I wonder if Sondheim had ever met any young people from Puerto Rico.
     
    In 1950s NYC, how could you not? Someone had to sweep the stage. Immigrants were fewer and farther between.

    My aunt's father was a professional from Puerto Rico who plied his profession in the city. He taught us card tricks at our uncle's wake. (He buried his German son-in-law. Better genes.) He would have been the exception. And overwhelmingly Iberian.
    , @Peter Johnson
    @Jonathan Mason

    Musicals are just artistic fantasies so you need to practice suspension of disbelief to enjoy them. There are some nice people from Puerto Rico and some not-so-nice but the typical characteristics of the population have no relevance to enjoying musicals.

  23. @R.G. Camara
    Sondheim sums up a lot of Broadway of the last 50 years, and its decline into a gay-Jewish ghetto:

    -gay
    -Jewish
    -massively overrated/feted with awards because of the above 2 qualities
    -wrote insular lyrics only beloved by critics and "high brow" snots who hated America
    -made musicals that "deconstructed" (i.e. attacked) traditional morality and healthy psychology -- so much so that no one saw them who didn't already agree with him.
    -super huge ego such that he wrote his own music as well as his lyrics, when the norm was to do one or the other
    -made crap music
    -unknown and unbeloved outside of NYC and super-hard musical geeks

    If anything, Sondheim is proof why music & lyrics were separate functions in musical theater forever.

    I had to do his Into the Woods back in high school and lemme tell you--it was as boring and awful doing it as it is watching it. I have no idea why the theater teachers (all female) chose that over so many other ready-for-high-school-and-fun-to-sing-musicals, but likely their feminism and arrogance played a roles.

    Replies: @Agitprop, @Clyde, @Anon, @Dave Pinsen, @Old Prude

    Here are the top ten Sondheim songs. https://wfuv.org/content/10-stephen-sondheim-songs-well-never-stop-listening
    Send in The Clowns is the only one I know about. I am surprised because I have a good awareness of pop culture. I see that Bernadette Peters was often in his musicales. At Unz we know her for doing great in “Pink Cadillac” with Clint Eastwood. A comedy that had to do with The Aryan Nation guys in Hayden Lake, Idaho.

    • Replies: @theMann
    @Clyde

    That top 10 list does seem odd.


    First thing that came to mind for upon news of his death was " Everybody ought to have a maid ". Musicals aren't my thing, but Forum is one of the very few I have watched more than once.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Clyde


    "Send in The Clowns" is the only one I know about.
     
    You must have heard the Stove Top commercial:


    https://youtu.be/HSjTHgibFQk
  24. @HammerJack

    A delightful contributor to American culture …
     
    Right. I especially like how they manage to fit their tribal socio-political propaganda into nearly everything they wrote. Works like West Side Story and South Pacific are full of great music, and beloved by countless millions who happily sing along with the propaganda, not really even thinking.

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason, @SFG, @Suburban_elk_4, @Wade Hampton

    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time, but I suspect that very few people who have ever seen it give very much thought to the themes of interracial and intergenerational sex, or pay attention to the fact that Nelly Forbush comes from Little Rock, Arkansas of all places.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    @Jonathan Mason


    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time
     
    Some good melodies, but can't hold a candle to My Fair Lady, which bests it in every regard and as a bonus isn't busy laying groundwork for the extermination of the Caucasian race. For some of us, that makes a difference.

    Replies: @SafeNow, @Ian M., @FPD72, @Jonathan Mason

    , @Bardon Kaldian
    @Jonathan Mason


    to the themes of interracial and intergenerational sex
     
    Both repulsive, say what you want. I am not a person who would stay in the way of anyone's fetishes or happy life; even if I could, I wouldn't do it.

    But, looking at photos of supposedly happy inter-racial families, it becomes obvious that something is, clearly- wrong.

    Of course, blacks stick out in any combination. No need to expatiate.

    But even east Asians, south Asians etc. are, to say the least, weird in combination with whites, let alone blacks.

    Lighter and darker Caucasians, as is the case with Europeans and Arabs, is not, visually, too irritating.

    And most children, especially with blacks, but to a lesser degree with others - look somehow unhealthy, confused & puffy faced. Actually, almost all of them look simply weird, as if they sense they have a search for identity for them in store.

    The lesser the difference between spouses (visual, cultural) - the better.

    Replies: @Ian Smith

    , @SFG
    @Jonathan Mason

    I think the point is it seeps in through osmosis--you see who the good and bad guys are and you get an idea of what's OK and what's not OK, so it has a net leftward effect. Probably these things are about a quarter as effective as their detractors on the right and enthusiasts on the left claim--was Will and Grace really responsible for gay marriage?--but over time they do have an effect.

    , @Wade Hampton
    @Jonathan Mason

    Lol.

    Good heavens, it is impossible to watch "South Pacific" without having multiculti garbage rubbed in your face. ("You've got to be carefully taught".)

    "South Pacific" is OK, but its not even the best of the R&H oeuvre. That honor goes to either "Oklahoma" or "The King and I".

    The greatest musical honors belong to "Music Man" (Meredith Willson) or "My Fair Lady" (Lerner and Loewe).

    Replies: @theMann

    , @Wilkey
    @Jonathan Mason


    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time
     
    If, by “greatest musical of all time,” you mean the earliest musical to most hit you over the head with its preachiness, then yes, you are right. Some good numbers in “South Pacific,” but story-wise it’s hardly the greatest.

    Question: is there a single show for which Sondheim did both music and lyrics currently performing on Broadway? If so, is it just a brief revival, or something that’s been playing for years? His lyrics were often serious genius. Listen to “Being Alive” from “Company,” which is the song Adam Driver also sings near the end “Marriage Story”; or to pretty much anything from “A Little Night Music.” Clever, cutting, and deeply insightful. More intelligence in any one of those songs than literally then entirety of “Rent “ “Frozen,” and “Book of Mormon” - combined.

    Sondheim was a major influence on American culture. But he might have had an even greater influence if he had stepped back and allowed someone else to write more of his music.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

  25. One of my customers (I sold hardwoods) had been in West Side Story, both on Broadway and the film, as a dancer. He had kind words for Rita Morena. Natalie Wood, not so much.

    I asked him if he had been a Shark or a Jet. His reply, “A Jet, man!”

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    @James Speaks

    James, I saw Rita Moreno doc a couple of weeks ago, very talented lady, with an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony award. And me, at 75 , thought she was still pretty hot.

  26. @Jonathan Mason
    @HammerJack

    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time, but I suspect that very few people who have ever seen it give very much thought to the themes of interracial and intergenerational sex, or pay attention to the fact that Nelly Forbush comes from Little Rock, Arkansas of all places.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @Bardon Kaldian, @SFG, @Wade Hampton, @Wilkey

    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time

    Some good melodies, but can’t hold a candle to My Fair Lady, which bests it in every regard and as a bonus isn’t busy laying groundwork for the extermination of the Caucasian race. For some of us, that makes a difference.

    • Replies: @SafeNow
    @Hangnail Hans

    “Greatest musical of all time”

    There are many lists. There is significant variation among lists, and so this is quite subjective. People here will all differ in ranking the top contenders, and they will all be correct. (Unless someone disagrees about the old musicals being much better.)

    Here is one good list:

    https://www.imdb.com/list/ls051686144/

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @The Germ Theory of Disease

    , @Ian M.
    @Hangnail Hans

    High point of film musicals was the '60s: best film musicals in my opinion are My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, and Fiddler on the Roof. (Last one is 1971, but close enough).

    (I'm not considering Disney animated musicals).

    I get tired of too much dancing, so I'm less inclined toward famous musicals like West Side Story or Singing in the Rain.

    , @FPD72
    @Hangnail Hans


    Some good melodies, but can’t hold a candle to My Fair Lady, which bests it in every regard
     
    I saw MFL at Lincoln Center in 2019 and have to agree. I grew up hearing its songs on the radio; many of them became pop standards. Other personal favorites, with original music, for dramatic effect are Man of La Mancha and Phantom of the Opera. For non-original music it’s hard to beat Beauty.

    Replies: @FPD72

    , @Jonathan Mason
    @Hangnail Hans

    A lot of the songs in My Fair Lady were written as patter songs because Rex Harrison couldn't sing.

    I guess he was a prototype rapper.

    My Fair Lady was a mega hit on Broadway with the young Julie Andrews, but the movie role was given to Audrey Hepburn who couldn't sing either, and the vocals were dubbed in by Marni Nixon, who sounded a lot like Andrews.

    I didn't think Hepburn was very good in that role. The plot of my fair lady is pretty ridiculous. From today My Fair Lady looks like a period piece, but South Pacific is still very watchable.

    Replies: @Wilkey

  27. These self important homosexuals may as well be aliens from another planet afaic. If their contributions to American culture are delightful – then they lived in a different country than I remember.

    This high brow naval gazing is pretty sad. I’ll take the song writing and lyrics of James Hetfield over these two perverts any day of the week. Hefield represents the America I know much better.

  28. Anon[130] • Disclaimer says:
    @R.G. Camara
    Sondheim sums up a lot of Broadway of the last 50 years, and its decline into a gay-Jewish ghetto:

    -gay
    -Jewish
    -massively overrated/feted with awards because of the above 2 qualities
    -wrote insular lyrics only beloved by critics and "high brow" snots who hated America
    -made musicals that "deconstructed" (i.e. attacked) traditional morality and healthy psychology -- so much so that no one saw them who didn't already agree with him.
    -super huge ego such that he wrote his own music as well as his lyrics, when the norm was to do one or the other
    -made crap music
    -unknown and unbeloved outside of NYC and super-hard musical geeks

    If anything, Sondheim is proof why music & lyrics were separate functions in musical theater forever.

    I had to do his Into the Woods back in high school and lemme tell you--it was as boring and awful doing it as it is watching it. I have no idea why the theater teachers (all female) chose that over so many other ready-for-high-school-and-fun-to-sing-musicals, but likely their feminism and arrogance played a roles.

    Replies: @Agitprop, @Clyde, @Anon, @Dave Pinsen, @Old Prude

    Agree re Into The Woods – dull, dull, dull.

    Send In The Clowns – is there anything else memorable he wrote? That’s better than anything I’ve managed, but the Guardian aren’t fawning over me.

    Sort of on topic – woke education at the American School in London, Jewish people worst hit.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10247727/Wokest-head-leaving-revolt-parents-said-pupils-indoctrinated-white-privilege.html

    Here’s their “privilege wheel”

    • Replies: @Inselaffen
    @Anon

    the thing that really grinds my gears about this story is that, as usual, it's institutionalised anti-white hatred (being taught at school!!) yet it's not until an 'oppressed minority' (jews) complain about the situation because something was said that offends them, that something gets done about it.

    kinda like how in the run-up to the last general election a cooked-up 'anti semitism' furore was generated in the press to help sink Corbyn (not that that needed much help) (and of course the genuinely anti-semitic base of Labour - muslims - were never mentioned), with a weak counter-punch of 'islamophobia' being levelled at the Conservatives a few weeks later based on more nothingburgers. Meanwhile us natives actually are being crushed into oblivion but nobody is gonna be talking much about *that* in the press...

  29. It’s good to have a culture sophisticated enough to produce a Sondheim. It’s just unlucky that he lacks the gift of composing melodic hooks.

    Aye, there’s the crux of it. Or composing much of any melody at all, one might add.

    Sondheim was effectively apprenticed to the greatest living musical writer in America, undistracted by family,* yet after the confected triumph of West Side Story, we got … what? Can anyone sing from memory a Sondheim song since “Officer Krupke”?

    To be fair to Sondheim, the modernists—or is it post-modernists?—might have a point when they say that the conventional musical is obsolete. Most semi-cultured people can sing the chorus from a slew of songs from the musicals from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. From the five more recent decades though? People might recognize an occasional heavily-promoted song, but would be uninspired to sing it.

    Three decades fruitful to five decades fallow is a terrible ratio anywhere. If it were a farm, it would have been paved over for a parking lot long since. But plenty of investment money goes to Broadway to die (at least in the parts uncolonized by Disney), so unwatchable musicals will continue to be made.

    Of course, all it would take to refute the modernist critique would be the emergence of a new Rodgers-and-Hammerstein-like creative duo. Is our modern decadent, depraved, woke culture likely to produce such? Laughable.

    ——

    *Did he really have many “loved ones” to “sacrifice” for his art? His art was his loved one. And yet his art lacks an actual completeness. His successful lyrics could reflect the greater glories of music and dance composed by others, but his own work was second best: in second place perhaps to the social milieu and its attendant pretensions that he adored. Is it too much to speculate that Hammerstein (twice married, three kids, two step-kids) understood creation on a biological level, while Sondheim (gay—i.e. fake—married, semen+feces≠life, to be very blunt about it) knew only a parody of creation? I dunno. You decide.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    @Almost Missouri


    Most semi-cultured people can sing the chorus from a slew of songs from the musicals from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. From the five more recent decades though? People might recognize an occasional heavily-promoted song, but would be uninspired to sing it.
     
    Andrew Lloyd Webber.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

  30. @Ziel
    One of the few enduring controversies of the Lennon/McCartney songbook is who wrote the melody to "In My Life". McCArtney insists he took john's lyrics and went to the piano and came up with melody. In an interview, John claims to have been pretty much the sole composer with Paul maybe helping out with the middle eight. Of course the song doesn't even have a middle eight (bridge). Recently, a musicologist did an analysis of all their songs and concluded that based on the chord progression it's more likely John than Paul.

    We may never know for sure - but we can be certain either one could compose a better tune than Sondheim.

    Replies: @R.G. Camara, @Hangnail Hans

    One of the few enduring controversies of the Lennon/McCartney songbook

    Probably can profitably delete the word “few” from that sentence, otherwise I can introduce you to some online music forums if you like.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Hangnail Hans


    Probably can profitably delete the word “few” from that sentence, otherwise I can introduce you to some online music forums if you like.
     
    Hit Parader interviewed Lennon not long after the breakup to find out who wrote which song. They went through the pair's entire "domestic" catalogue. (There is little if any controversy about those songs they farmed out-- "It's For You", "Bad To Me", "World Without Love", "Come and Get It", "Goodbye".)

    The list was shown to McCartney, who reaffirmed it with the exception of one-half of one song. McCartney said he composed the middle eight. There were also the occasional small, uncredited contributions from and to Harrison.

    That "She Loves You" opens with the chorus, which makes the song, was the suggestion of one of their roadies. In the hip-hop world, minor contributions like this from outsiders are often credited and thus remunerated. You could get shot if they're not!

    It sounds like these online forums disagree with the creators themselves. Latter-day anti-Stratfordianism.

  31. @Almost Missouri

    It’s good to have a culture sophisticated enough to produce a Sondheim. It’s just unlucky that he lacks the gift of composing melodic hooks.
     
    Aye, there's the crux of it. Or composing much of any melody at all, one might add.

    Sondheim was effectively apprenticed to the greatest living musical writer in America, undistracted by family,* yet after the confected triumph of West Side Story, we got ... what? Can anyone sing from memory a Sondheim song since "Officer Krupke"?

    To be fair to Sondheim, the modernists—or is it post-modernists?—might have a point when they say that the conventional musical is obsolete. Most semi-cultured people can sing the chorus from a slew of songs from the musicals from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. From the five more recent decades though? People might recognize an occasional heavily-promoted song, but would be uninspired to sing it.

    Three decades fruitful to five decades fallow is a terrible ratio anywhere. If it were a farm, it would have been paved over for a parking lot long since. But plenty of investment money goes to Broadway to die (at least in the parts uncolonized by Disney), so unwatchable musicals will continue to be made.

    Of course, all it would take to refute the modernist critique would be the emergence of a new Rodgers-and-Hammerstein-like creative duo. Is our modern decadent, depraved, woke culture likely to produce such? Laughable.

    ------

    *Did he really have many "loved ones" to "sacrifice" for his art? His art was his loved one. And yet his art lacks an actual completeness. His successful lyrics could reflect the greater glories of music and dance composed by others, but his own work was second best: in second place perhaps to the social milieu and its attendant pretensions that he adored. Is it too much to speculate that Hammerstein (twice married, three kids, two step-kids) understood creation on a biological level, while Sondheim (gay—i.e. fake—married, semen+feces≠life, to be very blunt about it) knew only a parody of creation? I dunno. You decide.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans

    Most semi-cultured people can sing the chorus from a slew of songs from the musicals from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. From the five more recent decades though? People might recognize an occasional heavily-promoted song, but would be uninspired to sing it.

    Andrew Lloyd Webber.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Hangnail Hans


    Andrew Lloyd Webber.
     
    Lloyd Webber is similar to Sondheim as a composer. Both wrote a few catchy tunes when young and fresh, but what can the average man name after that?

    Broadway tunes from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1950s were on everybody's lips.

    Replies: @Abolish_public_education, @Meretricious

  32. @Dave Pinsen
    @HammerJack

    Not every musical composer can be a champion of reactionary values like Richard O’Brien.

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/1456468386012180481?s=21

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @Almost Missouri

    Steyn

    I was wondering if his name would come up in the comments, and if not if I would bring it myself.

    And yeah, Rocky Horror may have marked the formal end of musical theater, not least because it was a film rather than actual musical theater.

    • Replies: @Ralph L
    @Almost Missouri

    Rocky began life as a stage show.

    , @Dave Pinsen
    @Almost Missouri


    And yeah, Rocky Horror may have marked the formal end of musical theater, not least because it was a film rather than actual musical theater.
     
    It was both, like many successful musicals (Evita, Rent, West Side Story, Chicago, etc., etc.).

    Replies: @Stan Adams

  33. Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story comes out next month.

  34. One! One good song and here is the best version:

    http://y2u.be/SzLHU6S4oic

    That’s not a career. That’s a lucky accident–maybe even a mistake on his part. Anything else from Sondheim gives that queasy, uncomfortable feeling all Broadway gives, but that he mastered.

    You almost wonder if he bought that song from some loser from the Brill Building, the same way Dickens is rumored to have bought “A Christmas Carol”. It so far eclipses the rest of his career in both art and popularity that it just doesn’t feel like the same guy.

  35. @Jonathan Mason
    @Peter Johnson

    I find the lyrics to that song America (clip above) really cringe-worthy.

    I wonder if Sondheim had ever met any young people from Puerto Rico.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @Peter D. Bredon, @Reg Cæsar, @Peter Johnson

    I wonder if Sondheim had ever met any young people from Puerto Rico.

    As menials and servants perhaps, in his rarified worlds of midcentury Manhattan and Doylestown. But yes, you make a good point. The West Side Puerto Ricans are really just sock puppets mouthing Sondheim’s personal culture of critique. It’s an early example of the mode of the Sacralized Other.

    • Agree: SafeNow, Charon
    • Replies: @Dmon
    @Almost Missouri

    And the presence of large numbers of Puerto Ricans in NY at all is an early example both of immigrants using political power to undermine America and of White leftist politicians stabbing their own in the back in order to cement a voting block dependent on government handouts. As personified by Vito Marcantonio.

    https://centropr.hunter.cuny.edu/centrovoices/chronicles/remembering-vito-marcantonio

  36. I saw a BBC documentary on West Side Story, replete with interviews of Bernstein. Not once did he mention Sondheim. What a turd.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @dearieme

    I'll wager he did and it ended up on the cutting room floor.

  37. Can anyone sing from memory a Sondheim song since “Officer Krupke”?

    Comedy Tonight.

  38. In “America,” he added, “I had this wonderful quatrain that went: ‘I like to be in America/OK by me in America/Everything free in America/For a small fee in America.’ The little ‘for a small fee’ was my zinger — except that the ‘for’ is accented and ‘small fee’ is impossible to say that fast, so it went ‘For a smafee in America.’ Nobody knew what it meant!”

    I think Sondheim’s point that the lyrics and music have to support each other is not very brilliant. It is rather obvious in fact. Plus, he seems to have missed a bigger deficiency with his line “for a small fee in America”: it follows incongruously on a line that, on its face, contradicts it. His cynicism, which he seems to think makes the quatrain clever, makes it too clever by half and undermines it.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    @Chrisnonymous


    Plus, he seems to have missed a bigger deficiency with his line “for a small fee in America”: it follows incongruously on a line that, on its face, contradicts it.
     
    That line is sung by a different character in the musical, so it's two characters who disagree about the appeal of America, not Sondheim contradicting himself.
  39. I never had any trouble with the “small fee” or understanding any other Westside Story lyrics from the first time I heard them.

  40. @Jonathan Mason
    @HammerJack

    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time, but I suspect that very few people who have ever seen it give very much thought to the themes of interracial and intergenerational sex, or pay attention to the fact that Nelly Forbush comes from Little Rock, Arkansas of all places.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @Bardon Kaldian, @SFG, @Wade Hampton, @Wilkey

    to the themes of interracial and intergenerational sex

    Both repulsive, say what you want. I am not a person who would stay in the way of anyone’s fetishes or happy life; even if I could, I wouldn’t do it.

    But, looking at photos of supposedly happy inter-racial families, it becomes obvious that something is, clearly- wrong.

    Of course, blacks stick out in any combination. No need to expatiate.

    But even east Asians, south Asians etc. are, to say the least, weird in combination with whites, let alone blacks.

    Lighter and darker Caucasians, as is the case with Europeans and Arabs, is not, visually, too irritating.

    And most children, especially with blacks, but to a lesser degree with others – look somehow unhealthy, confused & puffy faced. Actually, almost all of them look simply weird, as if they sense they have a search for identity for them in store.

    The lesser the difference between spouses (visual, cultural) – the better.

    • Replies: @Ian Smith
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Some white + Asian mixes are attractive, particularly women. But with race mixing, you’re engaging in an extreme crapshoot. I remember when they did that National Geographic issue on half-castes, they all looked like mutants, even factoring in the harsh lighting and mopey expressions.

    Seriously, would anyone want to shag any of the below?:

    https://spacecoastdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/changing-faces-388.jpg

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Art Deco

  41. @Almost Missouri
    @Dave Pinsen


    Steyn
     
    I was wondering if his name would come up in the comments, and if not if I would bring it myself.

    And yeah, Rocky Horror may have marked the formal end of musical theater, not least because it was a film rather than actual musical theater.

    Replies: @Ralph L, @Dave Pinsen

    Rocky began life as a stage show.

  42. This guy sucked. Into the Woods is the worst kind of self-aware po-mo garbage and the music, lyrics etc. suck bad. I had to read and watch that crap in high school and it was awful. All the kids who did the plays hated it too and rolled their eyes. They knew why they were being force fed this crap. Just another untalented Jew put in charge of our culture by the Jewish establishment. They take these talentless Jews and make icons out of them with relentless media propaganda. Stephen Sondheim is the Adam Sandler of musical theatre.

    When we take back our culture, we will produce TV documentaries about the practice of creating fake icons out of talentless Jews and run them on TV as much as ESPN runs documentaries about Jackie Robinson.

  43. Anonymous[252] • Disclaimer says:

    Good analysis of Sondheim’s oeuvre. As to the commenters: I get the distinct impression they have not listened closely to his work since I find it hard to believe anyone could paint Sondheim’s music as nonmusical.

    Here is a typically brilliant Sondheim piece no other composer could have written: the essence of Sondheim’s genius.

  44. Dude…are you gay?!

  45. @JohnnyWalker123
    https://twitter.com/CryptoParadyme/status/1443663622169759758

    Replies: @AndrewR, @Anon

    Being from the rock generation, I am unable to like Sondheim. He’s from that boring time before music became really exciting.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    @Anon

    Most old folk, low-brow music is & remains much more satisfying that anything from the 60ies & later..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvb04uxsAno

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwo2hzQ9px4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5gf9I7YG5k

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB_l8e-Wbjk

    or even comedy on Jingo:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1ZFzs7hL5g

  46. I watched the “Godfather” for a bit the other night. Great theme song and I thought have we ever had a theme song conversation here? Some of my favorites; The Godfather, Pink Panther, The Graduate, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Goldfinger, The Good, the bad and the ugly, The Sting. Non musicals, please.

    • Replies: @Mike Tre
    @Buffalo Joe

    The original Star Wars, the 1978 Superman motion picture, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Terminator, Red Dawn, and the original Rocky.

    Replies: @Joe Stalin

    , @SunBakedSuburb
    @Buffalo Joe

    "The Graduate"

    A perfect film.

    Replies: @Peter D. Bredon

    , @obwandiyag
    @Buffalo Joe

    Godfather's alright. But all those cheesy 60s movies. The 60s were not good for movies.

    My vote: "Out of the Past" and "The Adventures of Robin Hood."

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Buffalo Joe


    I watched the “Godfather” for a bit the other night. Great theme song
     
    https://m.facebook.com/LordVinheteiro/videos/playing-godfather-theme-with-a-gun/742050456622059/


    https://youtu.be/A9QJ-JA7Rcw

    Replies: @Inquiring Mind

  47. Breakfast at Tiffany’s for me. Audrey Hepburn was gorgeous, though I didn’t think much of the movie. Moon River is one heck of a song though. I always liked Burning Bridges from Kelly’s Heroes too. I think I’ve demonstrated that my musical tastes, while eclectic, are decidedly lower middlebrow.

  48. @HammerJack

    A delightful contributor to American culture …
     
    Right. I especially like how they manage to fit their tribal socio-political propaganda into nearly everything they wrote. Works like West Side Story and South Pacific are full of great music, and beloved by countless millions who happily sing along with the propaganda, not really even thinking.

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason, @SFG, @Suburban_elk_4, @Wade Hampton

    You could claim A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum draws on classical culture.

    (Yes, that was a joke.)

  49. @Jonathan Mason
    @HammerJack

    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time, but I suspect that very few people who have ever seen it give very much thought to the themes of interracial and intergenerational sex, or pay attention to the fact that Nelly Forbush comes from Little Rock, Arkansas of all places.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @Bardon Kaldian, @SFG, @Wade Hampton, @Wilkey

    I think the point is it seeps in through osmosis–you see who the good and bad guys are and you get an idea of what’s OK and what’s not OK, so it has a net leftward effect. Probably these things are about a quarter as effective as their detractors on the right and enthusiasts on the left claim–was Will and Grace really responsible for gay marriage?–but over time they do have an effect.

  50. But everything is FREE in AH-MERE-EE-CHA!

    Up to 30 conduct Black Friday robbery at Best Buy in Burnsville

    Police said no weapons were used and no arrests have been made.

    By Kevin Duchschere

    MINNEAPOLIS Star Tribune NOVEMBER 27, 2021 — 9:31AM

    A group of 20 to 30 people grabbed numerous electronic items Friday evening at the Best Buy store in Burnsville and quickly fled before police could arrive.

    No weapons were seen in the incident and no one was reported injured, Burnsville police Capt. Don Stenger said. No one had been arrested as of Saturday morning.

    “We don’t know exactly what was taken or the dollar value,” Stenger said.

    The robbery occurred shortly after 8 p.m. on Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year following the Thanksgiving holiday. There were unconfirmed media reports that a similar robbery conducted by a smaller group also happened Friday at the Best Buy in Maplewood.

    The incidents resemble a number of mass robberies recently reported across the United States, where groups of people “swarm” a store, clear the shelves of goods and then flee.

    • Replies: @Mike_from_SGV
    @Jack Armstrong

    It's happening a lot now in SF Bay Area, and Los Angeles County. The perfect storm of 1) reduced penalties for theft, 2) cops demoralized by anti-police propaganda, 3) leftist prosecutors who don't prosecute, 4) the sacralization of the demographic that is disproportionately criminal.

  51. @Reg Cæsar

    ...in 1969 Paul McCartney could have improvised a better melody off the top of his head the first time he was handed these lyrics.
     
    Or Richard Rodgers could have, to use his own metaphor, peed it.

    Sondheim was called on to do both words and music for Gypsy, but Ethel Merman scotched* that idea. Jule Styne did the music instead. Hammerstein told Sondheim to suck it up, and he did, praising Styne's score.

    After Hammerstein died, Rodgers did his own lyrics (for a show about Hammerstein's fixation, a mixed couple), and Sondheim did Forum, with his catchiest song, "Comedy Tonight". Then the two collaborated on a forgotten show in which Sondheim rhymed intellectual, ineffectual, and homosexual to a bouncy tune. That's all I can remember of it!


    ...the first time he was handed these lyrics.
     
    Usually the melody comes first, then the words. Rodgers did this with Lorenz Hart. Hammerstein, though, set his lyrics to opera tunes and handed them to Rodgers. This may be why the Hart-era songs are favored by jazzed.

    Words-first is a clumsy way to work. There are a hundred ways to say something to mean the same thing, but fiddle with the notes and it's a different tune. Classical composers could do it with the Mass because they had the freedom of melisma, which was shunned by Broadway and Tin Pan Alley. (Yes, New York's standards were stricter than Europe's, at least on this. How many librettists can you name, anyway?)

    *Fun fact: Merman, Hammerstein, Donald Trump, and Jay Leno all had Scottish mothers.

    Replies: @Kylie, @Buck Ransom

    “Words-first is a clumsy way to work.”

    It worked just fine for Schubert.

    • Replies: @additionalMike
    @Kylie

    Supposedly, for Bernie Taupin and Elton John also.

    Replies: @Kylie

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Kylie



    Words-first is a clumsy way to work.
     
    It worked just fine for Schubert.
     
    Schubert used melisma, which was considered cheating on Broadway, where every syllable was to be attached to a single note. To use Comden and Green's term, that is a helluva lot harder. Try it sometime!

    Hammerstein did it the normal way with Jerome Kern and Vincent Youmans. It's no accident that he used opera as dummy tunes when he wrote words-first with Rodgers. That way, the scansion was built in.

    And that was for Richard Rodgers, who claimed he could "pee a melody"! You try it!

    Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease

  52. @Buffalo Joe
    I watched the "Godfather" for a bit the other night. Great theme song and I thought have we ever had a theme song conversation here? Some of my favorites; The Godfather, Pink Panther, The Graduate, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Goldfinger, The Good, the bad and the ugly, The Sting. Non musicals, please.

    Replies: @Mike Tre, @SunBakedSuburb, @obwandiyag, @Reg Cæsar

    The original Star Wars, the 1978 Superman motion picture, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Terminator, Red Dawn, and the original Rocky.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    @Mike Tre


    The original Star Wars, the 1978 Superman motion picture, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Terminator, Red Dawn, and the original Rocky.
     
    Basil Poledouris, who did the Conan the Barbarian theme.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZY2mRG5mzg
  53. Four White Children were slaughtered in Wisconsin by a black racist…and your making a post about a Broadway homosexual….perhaps I have missed something…

  54. “Peter Jackson’s new Get Back documentary about the Beatles”

    Good to see the Beatles getting some attention after languishing in obscurity for so many years. Sure, the band had only one truly talented kat — McCartney, whilst the rest of them — the Gypsy barely on drums, the reverse Arthur C. Clarke on, supposedly, guitar, and Mr. Yoko Ono — hung desperately on the Cute One’s coattails, but this is still a band that deserves to be rediscovered. Kudos Hobbit Boy.

  55. @Buffalo Joe
    I watched the "Godfather" for a bit the other night. Great theme song and I thought have we ever had a theme song conversation here? Some of my favorites; The Godfather, Pink Panther, The Graduate, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Goldfinger, The Good, the bad and the ugly, The Sting. Non musicals, please.

    Replies: @Mike Tre, @SunBakedSuburb, @obwandiyag, @Reg Cæsar

    “The Graduate”

    A perfect film.

    • Replies: @Peter D. Bredon
    @SunBakedSuburb

    That doesn't count. Mike Nichols (or someone) had the brilliant idea of using existing Simon & Garfunkel songs rather than a "sophisticated" "adult" score (e.g. Dave Grusin's instrumental contributions). That helped make it a perfect film (I wouldn't say 'perfect' but more like Travolta's "That's a pretty damn good milkshake" from Pulp Fiction).

    Imagine if the cigar smoking producers demanded a "real, traditional, good old Hollywood theme song"?

    "Heyyyyyyyyyy, here comes the Graduate!"

    Replies: @Jack D

  56. Hammerstein destroyed Broadway, which used to be just a factory for great jazz tunes.

    Sondheim was horrible not only because he couldn’t write music. One of the reasons his music sucked was because his songs had too many words. Somewhere there is Dick Van Dyke show where they go to a musical and it’s all “blabbityblabbityblabblabblabblab”. Too many words is, by the way, one of the worst failings of modern popular music. Why do they do it that way? Who told them to start squeezing too many words into a song, so that it sounds like Vaudeville “fast-talking” set to music? Was it Sondheim? I wouldn’t be surprised.

    And then there’s Sweeny Todd. My god. I was once forced to sit through the whole godawful thing. Bad enough that the music was so supremely annoying in and of itself. But I had to listen to a version performed by a bunch of music majors at a minor private college in the boonies. Jesus Christ. It always gets me how music directors in high schools and colleges all have stars in there eyes, and so, instead of having their students play and sing something they can handle, they give them some impossible atonal virtuosic bombastic stuff, which they proceed to ardently butcher.

    • Thanks: Old Prude
  57. @Almost Missouri
    @Dave Pinsen


    Steyn
     
    I was wondering if his name would come up in the comments, and if not if I would bring it myself.

    And yeah, Rocky Horror may have marked the formal end of musical theater, not least because it was a film rather than actual musical theater.

    Replies: @Ralph L, @Dave Pinsen

    And yeah, Rocky Horror may have marked the formal end of musical theater, not least because it was a film rather than actual musical theater.

    It was both, like many successful musicals (Evita, Rent, West Side Story, Chicago, etc., etc.).

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    @Dave Pinsen

    My mother saw the stage version of RHPS in London in 1973. Tim Curry brushed past her as he came down the aisle.

  58. One of the West Side Story dancers was Bob Banas. (He was also one of the Seven Brothers). Here is the real nitty gritty, combining music, lyric, and dance.

  59. Maybe asking this question shows my ignorance of non-pop (and most of pop) so I’ll just admit to it. I know very little about music. I know that there have been (a lot of?) Jewish classical musicians, but what of composers? Have there been lots of Jews? Did they have standout strengths and weaknesses as a group?

    I know visual arts and architecture are fields where jews punch below their cognitive weight class, but maybe they are where one would predict based on their lower non-verbal IQ? In VA&A the exceptions, like Gehry, prove the rule. The Jewish influence in the visual arts had been pernicious. The lack of talent coupled within-group promotion and verbal bamboozling is extreme enough that one must wonder about Jewish “contributions” to other fields.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Rob


    I know very little about music. I know that there have been (a lot of?) Jewish classical musicians, but what of composers? Have there been lots of Jews?
     
    Clearly you know very little about 20th-century American music!

    Jews rise to the top of composition in other societies, but haven't been all that impressive in isolation. It seems like they have the innate talent, but need help with the taste part. Their "sweet spot" seems to be high-end popular music, especially for the stage and screen.

    There is often something "odd" about the ones who make it. Mendelssohn, Mahler, and Offenbach were converts, or the children thereof. Schoenberg loved the California Republic, but was a monarchist and generally too right-wing for America. On Broadway and in Hollywood, where they dominated numerically, Jewish songwriters would marry Irish Catholic showgirls. But the only convert I know of is Al Dubin, Harry Warren's primary lyricist. Dubin's irreligious family came from Switzerland.

    (Warren himself was arguably the greatest of Italian-Amercan composers. And I love Mancini!)

    Replies: @James J O'Meara

    , @Dave Pinsen
    @Rob

    2001: A Space Odyssey is generally considered to be impressive from a visual standpoint. It was directed by a Jew (Stanley Kubrick) and arguably the most effective classical music in it was composed by a Jew (György Ligeti). Arguably, the top living classical music composer is a Jew, Philip Glass. You've almost certainly heard his music in film soundtracks, but here's the prelude to his opera Akhnaten.

    https://youtu.be/hdso3RXMwAY

    Replies: @Jack Armstrong, @JerseyJeffersonian, @Rob

    , @J.Ross
    @Rob

    Jews kept to themselves culturally for most of their history, then exploded in influence from a random conversation in Enlightenment Germania, becoming dominant with industrialization, and only now starting to fade. So they're huge despite sitting out most of the game. Had they participated in Western culture continuously from, say, the Renaissance, they would probably be even bigger, and there would be a more even distribution between mechanical experimenters like Mendelssohn, true geniuses like Korngold, and subverters like late-Sondheim. As it is, if you dig, you can find a Jewish artist or composer you like.

  60. Adam Driver does a pretty good “extemporaneous” version of Being Alive, from Sondheim’s Company, in the recent movie Marriage Story.

    David “Buster Poindexter” Johansen used to do a bit when he was a guest on CArson, etc., where he says: My agent was telling me he has a new part for me. He said you’re going to love it. The book is by Mamet. I said David MAmet? And he says, no, Charlie Mamet, but it’s great. Who wrote the music? He goes Sondheim. And I said Stephen Sondheim? And he says no, his cousin Maury Sondheim, but you’ll love it, he’s more melodic. So I said who is my co-star? And he says Goulet. And I said “Robert Goulet?” And he says “yeah.”

    My wife had the soundtrack to Assasins, the Sondheim musical that bombed in New Haven, or wherever they try out musicals. Jaunty tunes about Wilkes Booth, Guiteau, Czolgasz, Squeaky Fromme, Hinckley. Since I can still recall the melodies and some lyrics 20-30 years later, he must have been pretty good wth a hook.

  61. Stephen Sondheim? Who is that? A homosexual who produced cultural artifacts from a culture that was ostensibly mine but really wasn’t. I don’t care about him anymore than I would an African playwright or librettist for Chinese operas.

    • Replies: @hhsiii
    @Mr. Anon

    Well, Whitman is part of the american cultural canon.

  62. @Dave Pinsen
    @Almost Missouri


    And yeah, Rocky Horror may have marked the formal end of musical theater, not least because it was a film rather than actual musical theater.
     
    It was both, like many successful musicals (Evita, Rent, West Side Story, Chicago, etc., etc.).

    Replies: @Stan Adams

    My mother saw the stage version of RHPS in London in 1973. Tim Curry brushed past her as he came down the aisle.

    • Thanks: Dave Pinsen
  63. I don’t know, Steve, Sondheim wrote some beautiful music too. I’m thinking of Send in the Clowns or Not While I’m Around, off the top of my head.

  64. His work appeals to musicians, literaries, and popular audiences. That’s not an easy trick to pull off. It’s apt that some above have drawn comparisons to L&M.

    I disagree with his detractors, here. Send in the clowns. Don’t bother ..

  65. @Jack Armstrong
    But everything is FREE in AH-MERE-EE-CHA!

    Up to 30 conduct Black Friday robbery at Best Buy in Burnsville

    Police said no weapons were used and no arrests have been made.

    By Kevin Duchschere

    MINNEAPOLIS Star Tribune NOVEMBER 27, 2021 — 9:31AM

    A group of 20 to 30 people grabbed numerous electronic items Friday evening at the Best Buy store in Burnsville and quickly fled before police could arrive.

    No weapons were seen in the incident and no one was reported injured, Burnsville police Capt. Don Stenger said. No one had been arrested as of Saturday morning.

    "We don't know exactly what was taken or the dollar value," Stenger said.

    The robbery occurred shortly after 8 p.m. on Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year following the Thanksgiving holiday. There were unconfirmed media reports that a similar robbery conducted by a smaller group also happened Friday at the Best Buy in Maplewood.

    The incidents resemble a number of mass robberies recently reported across the United States, where groups of people "swarm" a store, clear the shelves of goods and then flee.

     

    Replies: @Mike_from_SGV

    It’s happening a lot now in SF Bay Area, and Los Angeles County. The perfect storm of 1) reduced penalties for theft, 2) cops demoralized by anti-police propaganda, 3) leftist prosecutors who don’t prosecute, 4) the sacralization of the demographic that is disproportionately criminal.

    • Agree: Hibernian
  66. Earlier this week I used the term Sondheim syndrome, perhaps here, to describe “something appealing, something appaling” like, e.g., Steve’s entire œuvre. Here is more of his sound advice for writers:

    We shall employ every device we know in our desire to divert you!

    Something familiar
    Something peculiar
    Something for everyone:
    A comedy tonight!

    Something appealing
    Something appalling
    Something for everyone:
    A comedy tonight!

    Nothing with kings, nothing with crowns;
    Bring on the lovers, liars and clowns!

    Old situations
    New complications
    Nothing portentous or polite;
    Tragedy tomorrow
    Comedy tonight!

    Something convulsive
    Something repulsive
    Something for everyone:
    A comedy tonight!

    https://genius.com/Stephen-sondheim-comedy-tonight-lyrics

    • Replies: @prosa123
    @Reg Cæsar

    Wonderful 1965 Plymouth commercial set to the tune of Comedy Tonight:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Awq5dQBkNqA

  67. @Mr. Anon
    Stephen Sondheim? Who is that? A homosexual who produced cultural artifacts from a culture that was ostensibly mine but really wasn't. I don't care about him anymore than I would an African playwright or librettist for Chinese operas.

    Replies: @hhsiii

    Well, Whitman is part of the american cultural canon.

  68. @Kylie
    @Reg Cæsar

    "Words-first is a clumsy way to work."

    It worked just fine for Schubert.

    Replies: @additionalMike, @Reg Cæsar

    Supposedly, for Bernie Taupin and Elton John also.

    • Replies: @Kylie
    @additionalMike

    "Supposedly, for Bernie Taupin and Elton John also[words came first, then melody]."

    I just read that somewhere very recently. It really surprised me, not sure why.

  69. @Rob
    Maybe asking this question shows my ignorance of non-pop (and most of pop) so I'll just admit to it. I know very little about music. I know that there have been (a lot of?) Jewish classical musicians, but what of composers? Have there been lots of Jews? Did they have standout strengths and weaknesses as a group?

    I know visual arts and architecture are fields where jews punch below their cognitive weight class, but maybe they are where one would predict based on their lower non-verbal IQ? In VA&A the exceptions, like Gehry, prove the rule. The Jewish influence in the visual arts had been pernicious. The lack of talent coupled within-group promotion and verbal bamboozling is extreme enough that one must wonder about Jewish “contributions” to other fields.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Dave Pinsen, @J.Ross

    I know very little about music. I know that there have been (a lot of?) Jewish classical musicians, but what of composers? Have there been lots of Jews?

    Clearly you know very little about 20th-century American music!

    Jews rise to the top of composition in other societies, but haven’t been all that impressive in isolation. It seems like they have the innate talent, but need help with the taste part. Their “sweet spot” seems to be high-end popular music, especially for the stage and screen.

    There is often something “odd” about the ones who make it. Mendelssohn, Mahler, and Offenbach were converts, or the children thereof. Schoenberg loved the California Republic, but was a monarchist and generally too right-wing for America. On Broadway and in Hollywood, where they dominated numerically, Jewish songwriters would marry Irish Catholic showgirls. But the only convert I know of is Al Dubin, Harry Warren’s primary lyricist. Dubin’s irreligious family came from Switzerland.

    (Warren himself was arguably the greatest of Italian-Amercan composers. And I love Mancini!)

    • Replies: @James J O'Meara
    @Reg Cæsar

    "Schoenberg loved the California Republic, but was a monarchist and generally too right-wing for America."

    Schoenberg is everyone's favorite punching bag (esp. on the "Right") for awful "modern" music, Jewish cultural subversion, etc. Yet I keep coming across brief remarks from some people that seem to indicate he was, indeed, a pretty right-wing guy, even in music. All the books, and articles though, seem to be either "Hooray for us modernists/jews" or the aforementioned "Schoenberg the Talmudic monster." Any suggestions for "Strange New Respect for Schoenberg" would be welcome.

    Personally, the recordings of the early string music sound pretty nice, and I recall seeing Moses and Aaron at the Met (? or some other NYC venue) and it too was pretty interesting. In between I don't know anything.

    BTW, the same is true of the Frankfurters. Horkheimer and Adorno, in their writings, are pretty "right wing" in the sense of traditional Germanic high culture (hence their hatred of "pop" culture and capitalism). Note how the Woke combine pop culture and global capitalism.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @HammerJack

  70. @JohnnyWalker123
    Oh my.

    https://twitter.com/RyanKIRO7/status/1464451272090664964

    Replies: @Peter D. Bredon

    Shot in the food court? Ouch, that sounds really painful.

  71. Rock stole Broadway’s thunder. I can recall just two Sondheim songs off the top of my head: Side by Side and Send in the Clowns. And Rock can narrate cogent, coherent stories as well as Broadway ever could. Just consider some of the narrative work of one of Rock’s best tunesmiths, the Jagger/Richard: Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Women, Can’t Always Get…, Heartbreaker. All these songs contain excellent storytelling. There are many other excellent, narrative tunesmiths in Rock.

    • Replies: @James J O'Meara
    @Daniel H

    "Brown Sugar" recently got finally cancelled (removed from their set list), but previously Jagger insisted that it "told of the horrors of slavery" but people just misunderstood it. Some storyteller.

  72. @Jonathan Mason
    @Peter Johnson

    I find the lyrics to that song America (clip above) really cringe-worthy.

    I wonder if Sondheim had ever met any young people from Puerto Rico.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @Peter D. Bredon, @Reg Cæsar, @Peter Johnson

    Steve and everyone is focusing on only one side of the lyrics. The trick here is that it’s a duet, and Anita responds to all the pro-PR stuff with what can only be called “PR is a shithole.”

    https://www.songlyrics.com/sondheim-stephen/america-lyrics/

    If you think “both sides are heard” is a defense in Woke America, read the papers sometime. Was this preserved in the new film? How, was it grandfathered in, or did They figure no one gave a tinker’s damn about some dumb old musical?

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    @Peter D. Bredon

    Yeah, this is good:


    Puerto Rico, my heart's devotion
    Let it sink back in the ocean
    Always the hurricanes blowing
    Always the population growing
    And the money owing
     
  73. @Kylie
    @Reg Cæsar

    "Words-first is a clumsy way to work."

    It worked just fine for Schubert.

    Replies: @additionalMike, @Reg Cæsar

    Words-first is a clumsy way to work.

    It worked just fine for Schubert.

    Schubert used melisma, which was considered cheating on Broadway, where every syllable was to be attached to a single note. To use Comden and Green’s term, that is a helluva lot harder. Try it sometime!

    Hammerstein did it the normal way with Jerome Kern and Vincent Youmans. It’s no accident that he used opera as dummy tunes when he wrote words-first with Rodgers. That way, the scansion was built in.

    And that was for Richard Rodgers, who claimed he could “pee a melody”! You try it!

    • Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease
    @Reg Cæsar

    I once saw Comden and Green do this hilarious duet where they sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" to the tune of "La Marseillaise," and then vice versa. It demonstrates something about the under-structure of great songwriting.

  74. @SunBakedSuburb
    @Buffalo Joe

    "The Graduate"

    A perfect film.

    Replies: @Peter D. Bredon

    That doesn’t count. Mike Nichols (or someone) had the brilliant idea of using existing Simon & Garfunkel songs rather than a “sophisticated” “adult” score (e.g. Dave Grusin’s instrumental contributions). That helped make it a perfect film (I wouldn’t say ‘perfect’ but more like Travolta’s “That’s a pretty damn good milkshake” from Pulp Fiction).

    Imagine if the cigar smoking producers demanded a “real, traditional, good old Hollywood theme song”?

    “Heyyyyyyyyyy, here comes the Graduate!”

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Peter D. Bredon


    That doesn’t count. Mike Nichols (or someone) had the brilliant idea of using existing Simon & Garfunkel songs ....
     
    Not quite. He had Simon & Garfunkel in (Simon really - he was the songwriter) and asked them if they had anything for a title song? Simon had written a song that started out, Here's to you, Eleanor Roosevelt (or something like that - I think she had just died) and he quickly substituted, Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson. And at some point in the demo he ran out of improvised lyrics and just started sing dummy words doot doo doo doot doo doo doo doo (intending to fill them in later) but Nichols liked it with the dummy words. And the rest is history.

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason, @Peter D. Bredon

  75. @Reg Cæsar
    @Rob


    I know very little about music. I know that there have been (a lot of?) Jewish classical musicians, but what of composers? Have there been lots of Jews?
     
    Clearly you know very little about 20th-century American music!

    Jews rise to the top of composition in other societies, but haven't been all that impressive in isolation. It seems like they have the innate talent, but need help with the taste part. Their "sweet spot" seems to be high-end popular music, especially for the stage and screen.

    There is often something "odd" about the ones who make it. Mendelssohn, Mahler, and Offenbach were converts, or the children thereof. Schoenberg loved the California Republic, but was a monarchist and generally too right-wing for America. On Broadway and in Hollywood, where they dominated numerically, Jewish songwriters would marry Irish Catholic showgirls. But the only convert I know of is Al Dubin, Harry Warren's primary lyricist. Dubin's irreligious family came from Switzerland.

    (Warren himself was arguably the greatest of Italian-Amercan composers. And I love Mancini!)

    Replies: @James J O'Meara

    “Schoenberg loved the California Republic, but was a monarchist and generally too right-wing for America.”

    Schoenberg is everyone’s favorite punching bag (esp. on the “Right”) for awful “modern” music, Jewish cultural subversion, etc. Yet I keep coming across brief remarks from some people that seem to indicate he was, indeed, a pretty right-wing guy, even in music. All the books, and articles though, seem to be either “Hooray for us modernists/jews” or the aforementioned “Schoenberg the Talmudic monster.” Any suggestions for “Strange New Respect for Schoenberg” would be welcome.

    Personally, the recordings of the early string music sound pretty nice, and I recall seeing Moses and Aaron at the Met (? or some other NYC venue) and it too was pretty interesting. In between I don’t know anything.

    BTW, the same is true of the Frankfurters. Horkheimer and Adorno, in their writings, are pretty “right wing” in the sense of traditional Germanic high culture (hence their hatred of “pop” culture and capitalism). Note how the Woke combine pop culture and global capitalism.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @James J O'Meara

    The glory of Germanic music was that it reached a remarkable level of development by 17th Century and then kept evolving stylistically for 250+ years Thus Spaketh Zarathustra doesn't sound much like the Brandenburg Concertos.

    Schoenberg, a patriotic upholder of that tradition, wanted to be the next step in the glorious history of Germanic music. He was doing it both for himself and for Teutonic culture. Keep in mind that serial music wasn't something he came up with as a young self-promoter to cover up his own weaknesses. He was 43 and already a distinguished composer in more traditional styles. When he announced that 12 tone music was the Next Big Thing, his fellow composers took him seriously.

    But it was a step too far for audiences and has remained so.

    Replies: @Jack Armstrong, @Reg Cæsar, @JerseyJeffersonian

    , @HammerJack
    @James J O'Meara


    Any suggestions for “Strange New Respect for Schoenberg” would be welcome.
     
    "My music isn't modern; it's just badly played."
  76. @Daniel H
    Rock stole Broadway's thunder. I can recall just two Sondheim songs off the top of my head: Side by Side and Send in the Clowns. And Rock can narrate cogent, coherent stories as well as Broadway ever could. Just consider some of the narrative work of one of Rock's best tunesmiths, the Jagger/Richard: Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Women, Can't Always Get..., Heartbreaker. All these songs contain excellent storytelling. There are many other excellent, narrative tunesmiths in Rock.

    Replies: @James J O'Meara

    “Brown Sugar” recently got finally cancelled (removed from their set list), but previously Jagger insisted that it “told of the horrors of slavery” but people just misunderstood it. Some storyteller.

    • LOL: Old Prude
  77. @James Speaks
    One of my customers (I sold hardwoods) had been in West Side Story, both on Broadway and the film, as a dancer. He had kind words for Rita Morena. Natalie Wood, not so much.

    I asked him if he had been a Shark or a Jet. His reply, “A Jet, man!”

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

    James, I saw Rita Moreno doc a couple of weeks ago, very talented lady, with an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony award. And me, at 75 , thought she was still pretty hot.

  78. @HammerJack

    A delightful contributor to American culture …
     
    Right. I especially like how they manage to fit their tribal socio-political propaganda into nearly everything they wrote. Works like West Side Story and South Pacific are full of great music, and beloved by countless millions who happily sing along with the propaganda, not really even thinking.

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason, @SFG, @Suburban_elk_4, @Wade Hampton

    Right. I especially like how they manage to fit their tribal socio-political propaganda into nearly everything they wrote. Works like West Side Story and South Pacific are full of great music, and beloved by countless millions who happily sing along with the propaganda, not really even thinking.

    Yeah exactly. Thematically, as art, it’s weak sauce. (Or at least going by the clips in the OP.)

  79. I think parts of some of the West Side Story songs are hummable:

    Maria, Maria
    I’ve just met a girl named Maria
    And suddenly I’ve found
    How wonderful a sound can be

  80. @R.G. Camara
    Sondheim sums up a lot of Broadway of the last 50 years, and its decline into a gay-Jewish ghetto:

    -gay
    -Jewish
    -massively overrated/feted with awards because of the above 2 qualities
    -wrote insular lyrics only beloved by critics and "high brow" snots who hated America
    -made musicals that "deconstructed" (i.e. attacked) traditional morality and healthy psychology -- so much so that no one saw them who didn't already agree with him.
    -super huge ego such that he wrote his own music as well as his lyrics, when the norm was to do one or the other
    -made crap music
    -unknown and unbeloved outside of NYC and super-hard musical geeks

    If anything, Sondheim is proof why music & lyrics were separate functions in musical theater forever.

    I had to do his Into the Woods back in high school and lemme tell you--it was as boring and awful doing it as it is watching it. I have no idea why the theater teachers (all female) chose that over so many other ready-for-high-school-and-fun-to-sing-musicals, but likely their feminism and arrogance played a roles.

    Replies: @Agitprop, @Clyde, @Anon, @Dave Pinsen, @Old Prude

    I meant to post this comment as a reply here. Tl;dr: some of the biggest Broadway hits of the last 50 years have been written by straight, white gentiles like Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

    • Replies: @R.G. Camara
    @Dave Pinsen

    My grandfather, straight as an arrow, was a musician wrote his own musical and loved musical theater -- but old musical theater, not anything newer than Chicago. Since he passed (RIP) I've discovered the old MGM musicals and the 1930s/40s musical movies and was surprised at how straight-male oriented (and good) they were, and that's when I realized how much the degenerates took from us by stealing the musical.

  81. @R.G. Camara
    @Ziel

    Lennon was the brains.

    McCartney was the heart.

    Harrison was the soul.

    And Ringo played the drums.

    ------------------------

    Not that I believe that, it's just a funny joke.

    Ringo's drum playing has actually been lauded by many later drummers (including Bruce Springsteen's longtime celebrated drummer Max Weinberg) as innovative and era-shaping.

    And remember the Beatles never hit it big until Ringo joined.

    And they elevated Ringo and his drums behind them so everyone could see him, and named their band after the "beat" of the drums -- clearly, they thought his drumming was important to their songs.

    Not to mention how many songs Ringo sang on the albums (unheard of in those days, or indeed today, for a non-writing drummer to be so spotlighted), including the first song on Sgt. Pepper's ("I get by with a little help from my friends") and how after the Beatles broke up Ringo started a very successful career and had some good hit songs.

    Still, for some reason it became standard Beatles lore that Ringo was a nonentity nothing with no contributions. Sad!

    Replies: @Hibernian, @Raz, @G. Poulin

    There’s a reason why McCartney was knighted, and I don’t think it was only because Lennon died tragically young.

  82. An excellent performance of an excellent Sondheim song. In addition to the lyrics, Sondheim wrote the music.

  83. @Peter D. Bredon
    @Jonathan Mason

    Steve and everyone is focusing on only one side of the lyrics. The trick here is that it's a duet, and Anita responds to all the pro-PR stuff with what can only be called "PR is a shithole."

    https://www.songlyrics.com/sondheim-stephen/america-lyrics/

    If you think "both sides are heard" is a defense in Woke America, read the papers sometime. Was this preserved in the new film? How, was it grandfathered in, or did They figure no one gave a tinker's damn about some dumb old musical?

    Replies: @Dave Pinsen

    Yeah, this is good:

    Puerto Rico, my heart’s devotion
    Let it sink back in the ocean
    Always the hurricanes blowing
    Always the population growing
    And the money owing

  84. @Hangnail Hans
    @Almost Missouri


    Most semi-cultured people can sing the chorus from a slew of songs from the musicals from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. From the five more recent decades though? People might recognize an occasional heavily-promoted song, but would be uninspired to sing it.
     
    Andrew Lloyd Webber.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Andrew Lloyd Webber.

    Lloyd Webber is similar to Sondheim as a composer. Both wrote a few catchy tunes when young and fresh, but what can the average man name after that?

    Broadway tunes from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1950s were on everybody’s lips.

    • Replies: @Abolish_public_education
    @Reg Cæsar

    Lloyd Webber is similar to Sondheim as a composer.

    Not a helpful comparison. Sondheim was a truly great composer.

    Is there anyone, besides Scott Key, who can meet the long-term, "on everyone's lips" standard? That song is awful, btw.

    Kanye is currently on everyone's lips (I like him too). If he's still popular in 75 (or even 5) years, in your eyes will that merit him a status of composer?

    , @Meretricious
    @Reg Cæsar

    Reg, Lloyd Webber: Sondheim=Billy Joel:Lennon/McCartney

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

  85. @Chrisnonymous

    In “America,” he added, “I had this wonderful quatrain that went: ‘I like to be in America/OK by me in America/Everything free in America/For a small fee in America.’ The little ‘for a small fee’ was my zinger — except that the ‘for’ is accented and ‘small fee’ is impossible to say that fast, so it went ‘For a smafee in America.’ Nobody knew what it meant!”
     
    I think Sondheim's point that the lyrics and music have to support each other is not very brilliant. It is rather obvious in fact. Plus, he seems to have missed a bigger deficiency with his line "for a small fee in America": it follows incongruously on a line that, on its face, contradicts it. His cynicism, which he seems to think makes the quatrain clever, makes it too clever by half and undermines it.

    Replies: @Dave Pinsen

    Plus, he seems to have missed a bigger deficiency with his line “for a small fee in America”: it follows incongruously on a line that, on its face, contradicts it.

    That line is sung by a different character in the musical, so it’s two characters who disagree about the appeal of America, not Sondheim contradicting himself.

  86. @Hangnail Hans
    @Jonathan Mason


    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time
     
    Some good melodies, but can't hold a candle to My Fair Lady, which bests it in every regard and as a bonus isn't busy laying groundwork for the extermination of the Caucasian race. For some of us, that makes a difference.

    Replies: @SafeNow, @Ian M., @FPD72, @Jonathan Mason

    “Greatest musical of all time”

    There are many lists. There is significant variation among lists, and so this is quite subjective. People here will all differ in ranking the top contenders, and they will all be correct. (Unless someone disagrees about the old musicals being much better.)

    Here is one good list:

    https://www.imdb.com/list/ls051686144/

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @SafeNow

    And there's a certain amount of distinction between best stage musical and best filmed musical. E.g., Cabaret is such a great movie that Bob Fosse beat out Francis Ford Coppola for Best Director in the year of The Godfather. Fiddler on the Roof is said to have been a better movie than stage show.

    In contrast, South Pacific is a dull filmed version of a great musical and Guys and Dolls let Marlon Brando have the main singing role and Frank Sinatra the main acting role.

    We'll see what Spielberg will do with West Side Story this December. The old one is not a perfect movie, but it's good enough and the melodies, lyrics, and dancing were superlative. If audiences like Spielberg's remake, hopefully they'll remake South Pacific and Guys and Dolls.

    Replies: @theMann, @Colin Wright, @Simon

    , @The Germ Theory of Disease
    @SafeNow

    True, it is subjective, but there are baseline standards.

    "South Pacific" is not the greatest musical. The prize obviously goes to "Anything Goes".

  87. @Reg Cæsar
    @Kylie



    Words-first is a clumsy way to work.
     
    It worked just fine for Schubert.
     
    Schubert used melisma, which was considered cheating on Broadway, where every syllable was to be attached to a single note. To use Comden and Green's term, that is a helluva lot harder. Try it sometime!

    Hammerstein did it the normal way with Jerome Kern and Vincent Youmans. It's no accident that he used opera as dummy tunes when he wrote words-first with Rodgers. That way, the scansion was built in.

    And that was for Richard Rodgers, who claimed he could "pee a melody"! You try it!

    Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease

    I once saw Comden and Green do this hilarious duet where they sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” to the tune of “La Marseillaise,” and then vice versa. It demonstrates something about the under-structure of great songwriting.

  88. @Hangnail Hans
    @Ziel


    One of the few enduring controversies of the Lennon/McCartney songbook
     
    Probably can profitably delete the word "few" from that sentence, otherwise I can introduce you to some online music forums if you like.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Probably can profitably delete the word “few” from that sentence, otherwise I can introduce you to some online music forums if you like.

    Hit Parader interviewed Lennon not long after the breakup to find out who wrote which song. They went through the pair’s entire “domestic” catalogue. (There is little if any controversy about those songs they farmed out– “It’s For You”, “Bad To Me”, “World Without Love”, “Come and Get It”, “Goodbye”.)

    The list was shown to McCartney, who reaffirmed it with the exception of one-half of one song. McCartney said he composed the middle eight. There were also the occasional small, uncredited contributions from and to Harrison.

    That “She Loves You” opens with the chorus, which makes the song, was the suggestion of one of their roadies. In the hip-hop world, minor contributions like this from outsiders are often credited and thus remunerated. You could get shot if they’re not!

    It sounds like these online forums disagree with the creators themselves. Latter-day anti-Stratfordianism.

  89. @Jonathan Mason
    @Peter Johnson

    I find the lyrics to that song America (clip above) really cringe-worthy.

    I wonder if Sondheim had ever met any young people from Puerto Rico.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @Peter D. Bredon, @Reg Cæsar, @Peter Johnson

    I wonder if Sondheim had ever met any young people from Puerto Rico.

    In 1950s NYC, how could you not? Someone had to sweep the stage. Immigrants were fewer and farther between.

    My aunt’s father was a professional from Puerto Rico who plied his profession in the city. He taught us card tricks at our uncle’s wake. (He buried his German son-in-law. Better genes.) He would have been the exception. And overwhelmingly Iberian.

  90. @Bardon Kaldian
    @Jonathan Mason


    to the themes of interracial and intergenerational sex
     
    Both repulsive, say what you want. I am not a person who would stay in the way of anyone's fetishes or happy life; even if I could, I wouldn't do it.

    But, looking at photos of supposedly happy inter-racial families, it becomes obvious that something is, clearly- wrong.

    Of course, blacks stick out in any combination. No need to expatiate.

    But even east Asians, south Asians etc. are, to say the least, weird in combination with whites, let alone blacks.

    Lighter and darker Caucasians, as is the case with Europeans and Arabs, is not, visually, too irritating.

    And most children, especially with blacks, but to a lesser degree with others - look somehow unhealthy, confused & puffy faced. Actually, almost all of them look simply weird, as if they sense they have a search for identity for them in store.

    The lesser the difference between spouses (visual, cultural) - the better.

    Replies: @Ian Smith

    Some white + Asian mixes are attractive, particularly women. But with race mixing, you’re engaging in an extreme crapshoot. I remember when they did that National Geographic issue on half-castes, they all looked like mutants, even factoring in the harsh lighting and mopey expressions.

    Seriously, would anyone want to shag any of the below?:

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    @Ian Smith

    White-Asian females, yes; males- no. But even then, there are questions of identity. It isn't for nothing that the concept of "tragic mulatto" had appeared.

    , @Art Deco
    @Ian Smith

    Seriously, would anyone want to shag any of the below?:

    All but about five of them are normal range. Most people aren't particularly attractive.

  91. @Reg Cæsar
    @Hangnail Hans


    Andrew Lloyd Webber.
     
    Lloyd Webber is similar to Sondheim as a composer. Both wrote a few catchy tunes when young and fresh, but what can the average man name after that?

    Broadway tunes from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1950s were on everybody's lips.

    Replies: @Abolish_public_education, @Meretricious

    Lloyd Webber is similar to Sondheim as a composer.

    Not a helpful comparison. Sondheim was a truly great composer.

    Is there anyone, besides Scott Key, who can meet the long-term, “on everyone’s lips” standard? That song is awful, btw.

    Kanye is currently on everyone’s lips (I like him too). If he’s still popular in 75 (or even 5) years, in your eyes will that merit him a status of composer?

  92. @Clyde
    @R.G. Camara

    Here are the top ten Sondheim songs. https://wfuv.org/content/10-stephen-sondheim-songs-well-never-stop-listening
    Send in The Clowns is the only one I know about. I am surprised because I have a good awareness of pop culture. I see that Bernadette Peters was often in his musicales. At Unz we know her for doing great in "Pink Cadillac" with Clint Eastwood. A comedy that had to do with The Aryan Nation guys in Hayden Lake, Idaho.

    Replies: @theMann, @Reg Cæsar

    That top 10 list does seem odd.

    First thing that came to mind for upon news of his death was ” Everybody ought to have a maid “. Musicals aren’t my thing, but Forum is one of the very few I have watched more than once.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @theMann

    ” Everybody ought to have a maid “.

    That's a good one.

  93. @Anon
    @R.G. Camara

    Agree re Into The Woods - dull, dull, dull.

    Send In The Clowns - is there anything else memorable he wrote? That's better than anything I've managed, but the Guardian aren't fawning over me.

    Sort of on topic - woke education at the American School in London, Jewish people worst hit.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10247727/Wokest-head-leaving-revolt-parents-said-pupils-indoctrinated-white-privilege.html

    Here's their "privilege wheel"

    https://i.dailymail.co.uk/1s/2021/11/26/22/51019285-10247727-image-a-31_1637964757515.jpg

    Replies: @Inselaffen

    the thing that really grinds my gears about this story is that, as usual, it’s institutionalised anti-white hatred (being taught at school!!) yet it’s not until an ‘oppressed minority’ (jews) complain about the situation because something was said that offends them, that something gets done about it.

    kinda like how in the run-up to the last general election a cooked-up ‘anti semitism’ furore was generated in the press to help sink Corbyn (not that that needed much help) (and of course the genuinely anti-semitic base of Labour – muslims – were never mentioned), with a weak counter-punch of ‘islamophobia’ being levelled at the Conservatives a few weeks later based on more nothingburgers. Meanwhile us natives actually are being crushed into oblivion but nobody is gonna be talking much about *that* in the press…

  94. “The one missing item is of course catchy tunes. As with most Sondheim musicals, you won’t walk out humming the closing song. …”

    But that’s pretty much the whole ballgame.

    Unlike Richard Rodgers.

    Or the Beatles.

    Casual music lovers humming a composer’s songs helps guarantee immortality.

  95. @Reg Cæsar
    Earlier this week I used the term Sondheim syndrome, perhaps here, to describe "something appealing, something appaling" like, e.g., Steve's entire œuvre. Here is more of his sound advice for writers:

    We shall employ every device we know in our desire to divert you!


    Something familiar
    Something peculiar
    Something for everyone:
    A comedy tonight!


    Something appealing
    Something appalling
    Something for everyone:
    A comedy tonight!


    Nothing with kings, nothing with crowns;
    Bring on the lovers, liars and clowns!


    Old situations
    New complications
    Nothing portentous or polite;
    Tragedy tomorrow
    Comedy tonight!

    Something convulsive
    Something repulsive
    Something for everyone:
    A comedy tonight!


    https://genius.com/Stephen-sondheim-comedy-tonight-lyrics

    Replies: @prosa123

    Wonderful 1965 Plymouth commercial set to the tune of Comedy Tonight:

  96. “Gee, Officer Krupke” is the only song from WSS I’d still listen to today. Given the ethnicity of the composer and the lyricist, it’s a surprisingly cynical take on the quintessentially Jewish “science” of psychoanalysis and the psychobabble it spawned.

    But then, I might not be the best judge of musicals as my fave song in Cabaret is . . .

  97. Who cares about that Broadway crap? Just give me some Spencer while listening to say,Bagatelle In A Minor,while sipping grape soda and I’m happy.
    Sondheim was a fag wasn’t he?

  98. @Dave Pinsen
    @R.G. Camara

    I meant to post this comment as a reply here. Tl;dr: some of the biggest Broadway hits of the last 50 years have been written by straight, white gentiles like Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

    Replies: @R.G. Camara

    My grandfather, straight as an arrow, was a musician wrote his own musical and loved musical theater — but old musical theater, not anything newer than Chicago. Since he passed (RIP) I’ve discovered the old MGM musicals and the 1930s/40s musical movies and was surprised at how straight-male oriented (and good) they were, and that’s when I realized how much the degenerates took from us by stealing the musical.

  99. @Franz
    Sondheim obits clog the net, okay, he was good. Once in awhile.

    I don't seem to recall a similar outpouring (even a few drips in fact) just over 5 years ago when Merle Haggard died. And Ol Merle went over 50 years touring and writing his music and having an effect on real people throughout the nation, and elsewhere as well.

    Worse still, Merle Haggard was from California. Did the entertainment industry not approve of a Native Son? He guest starred an a Clint Eastwood movie even. What gives?

    Expect big sendoffs for the critics darlings. What the rest of us like, not so much.

    Replies: @R.G. Camara, @Mike Tre

    Merle likely was the single most important innovator in country music since Hank Williams Sr.

    • Agree: Franz
    • Replies: @SonOfFrankenstein
    @R.G. Camara

    Well said. I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am wipes the floor with most of these broadway songs. I tear up just thinking about that particular song.

    I remember back in the early 70's when Johnny Cash was all the rage. But Merle was the sh*t. Here's a guy who converted a whole bunch of Grateful Dead fans to his ways at a time when the country was so polarized.

    The last time that I got to see The Hag perform was right after Buck Owens had died. Before Merle came onstage, his band performed a long tribute to Buck. A class act.

    I don't wish to disparage Sondheim and his ilk on the occasion of his death. What's wrong with these songs? Not as good as Swinging Doors but our children are doing musical tributes to these classics in high school. I don't see anything too subversive in that. Some of America's greatest music was composed in the Brill Building in Manhattan, music written almost entirely by Jews and often performed by the (usually) black girl groups.

    Alas, I was raised listening to these musicals soundtracks and for better or worse know all the words to the South Pacific songs and others. Fortunately, Mom and Dad (who preferred Big Band) did not have the Oklahoma soundtrack. It makes a good joke in Blazing Saddles by the great Mel Brooks.

    Replies: @Hibernian

  100. @Rob
    Maybe asking this question shows my ignorance of non-pop (and most of pop) so I'll just admit to it. I know very little about music. I know that there have been (a lot of?) Jewish classical musicians, but what of composers? Have there been lots of Jews? Did they have standout strengths and weaknesses as a group?

    I know visual arts and architecture are fields where jews punch below their cognitive weight class, but maybe they are where one would predict based on their lower non-verbal IQ? In VA&A the exceptions, like Gehry, prove the rule. The Jewish influence in the visual arts had been pernicious. The lack of talent coupled within-group promotion and verbal bamboozling is extreme enough that one must wonder about Jewish “contributions” to other fields.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Dave Pinsen, @J.Ross

    2001: A Space Odyssey is generally considered to be impressive from a visual standpoint. It was directed by a Jew (Stanley Kubrick) and arguably the most effective classical music in it was composed by a Jew (György Ligeti). Arguably, the top living classical music composer is a Jew, Philip Glass. You’ve almost certainly heard his music in film soundtracks, but here’s the prelude to his opera Akhnaten.

    • Replies: @Jack Armstrong
    @Dave Pinsen

    People try to copy Glass a lot too. The six beat thing.


    For performers, the problem with Philip’s music is that it’s like Mozart’s: as the saying goes, it’s too easy for the amateur and too difficult for the professional. You absolutely have to play in tune, and be able to articulate the rhythms exactly with nuances without rubatos (unless you intend to use them). You have to let the tempos have their pace and their time. His music isn’t helped by 21st-century virtuosity. — Dennis Russell Davies (conductor)
     

    Replies: @Dave Pinsen

    , @JerseyJeffersonian
    @Dave Pinsen

    Some years ago, I attended a screening of the film, Koyaanisquatsi, in Philadelphia; but what made this occasion extraordinary was that Glass' score was performed by a live ensemble. The piquant timbre of the soprano sax, propagating in the wonderful room ambiance of the Franklin Auditorium of the University of Pennsylvania, yet lingers in my memory.

    , @Rob
    @Dave Pinsen

    All i know about Philip Glass is that i am pretty sure he did the “music” for a short play by David Ives called Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread.” i put music in quotes, but it was actually pretty good when i saw it live, though not at all in the vein of Ives’ other work. Think it was the last piece of the evening (or prolly matinee). Saw it with the understudy of the understudy, because the understudy was sick, too. Shockingly, the underunderstudy was good, too.

    Ah, to live in Southampton with NYC’s theatre just a jitney ride (or 3 hour car ride!) away!

    Replies: @SonOfFrankenstein

  101. @Agitprop
    @R.G. Camara

    Into the Woods is morally incoherent but fundamentally trying to be reactionary. The somewhat recent film version stepped on the message even more and rendered it totally morally incoherent. Still, if you think Sondheim hated America, I think you have missed the point. For example, in "America", look again at which side is portrayed as right, and which side's parochialism drove the tragedy — and remember that, in the years since, the girls' parting shot, "everyone there will have moved here", more or less happened.

    Replies: @R.G. Camara

    Sondheim writing lyrics as an underling in 1957 musical theater for a show that catered to Middle America is a far cry from his 1970s-1990s career as the critically-acclaimed star lyricist/music maker writing for a gay-Jewish audience that hated Middle America.

    Please also note the “all races are the same” nonsense was still being pushed in that 1957 musical.

  102. @Clyde
    @R.G. Camara

    Here are the top ten Sondheim songs. https://wfuv.org/content/10-stephen-sondheim-songs-well-never-stop-listening
    Send in The Clowns is the only one I know about. I am surprised because I have a good awareness of pop culture. I see that Bernadette Peters was often in his musicales. At Unz we know her for doing great in "Pink Cadillac" with Clint Eastwood. A comedy that had to do with The Aryan Nation guys in Hayden Lake, Idaho.

    Replies: @theMann, @Reg Cæsar

    “Send in The Clowns” is the only one I know about.

    You must have heard the Stove Top commercial:

  103. @theMann
    @Clyde

    That top 10 list does seem odd.


    First thing that came to mind for upon news of his death was " Everybody ought to have a maid ". Musicals aren't my thing, but Forum is one of the very few I have watched more than once.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    ” Everybody ought to have a maid “.

    That’s a good one.

  104. @Reg Cæsar
    @Hangnail Hans


    Andrew Lloyd Webber.
     
    Lloyd Webber is similar to Sondheim as a composer. Both wrote a few catchy tunes when young and fresh, but what can the average man name after that?

    Broadway tunes from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1950s were on everybody's lips.

    Replies: @Abolish_public_education, @Meretricious

    Reg, Lloyd Webber: Sondheim=Billy Joel:Lennon/McCartney

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Meretricious


    Lloyd Webber: Sondheim=Billy Joel:Lennon/McCartney

     

    Lennon and McCartney put more standards on some individual Beatles albums than Sondheim, Lloyd Webber, and Joel have produced, combined, in their entire careers.
  105. @SafeNow
    @Hangnail Hans

    “Greatest musical of all time”

    There are many lists. There is significant variation among lists, and so this is quite subjective. People here will all differ in ranking the top contenders, and they will all be correct. (Unless someone disagrees about the old musicals being much better.)

    Here is one good list:

    https://www.imdb.com/list/ls051686144/

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @The Germ Theory of Disease

    And there’s a certain amount of distinction between best stage musical and best filmed musical. E.g., Cabaret is such a great movie that Bob Fosse beat out Francis Ford Coppola for Best Director in the year of The Godfather. Fiddler on the Roof is said to have been a better movie than stage show.

    In contrast, South Pacific is a dull filmed version of a great musical and Guys and Dolls let Marlon Brando have the main singing role and Frank Sinatra the main acting role.

    We’ll see what Spielberg will do with West Side Story this December. The old one is not a perfect movie, but it’s good enough and the melodies, lyrics, and dancing were superlative. If audiences like Spielberg’s remake, hopefully they’ll remake South Pacific and Guys and Dolls.

    • Replies: @theMann
    @Steve Sailer

    I want to say the term for best stage musical is opera, but I suspect all live performances suffer in transfering to the screen.


    In any case, I think Sondheim really deserves great credit as a creative artist: he wrote a lifetime's worth of memorable tunes and made them accessible to a large filmgoing audience. Not so easy to do when you consider how varied Americans musical tastes are.

    , @Colin Wright
    @Steve Sailer

    '...We’ll see what Spielberg will do with West Side Story this December...'

    You very well may. I'll grant that I would take watching such a thing over pulling out my own toenails with pliers, but that's about as far as I'd go.

    ...I'm confident that I will never see it.

    Replies: @theMann

    , @Simon
    @Steve Sailer


    South Pacific is a dull filmed version of a great musical.
     
    Ouch! I'm disappointed to hear this. I usually hate love stories, but I still get choked up at the final shot of Nellie (the self-described “little hick” nurse) and the aging landowner just back from risking his life, the two seated at that outdoor table, suddenly grasping hands.

    A few years ago, just out of curiosity, I watched a bunch of old Rodgers & Hammerstein films that I’d seen as a child. The songs are great, of course, but the movies didn’t come off very well. The King and I seemed cramped and stagy, the plot of Carousel seemed ridiculous, and Oklahoma struck me as surprisingly mean-spirited; Jud, the despised outcast, seemed more sympathetic than the smug, arrogant hero. Only South Pacific held up, and certain moments — not only that hand-clasping, but Nellie hugging the native girl who hasn’t yet heard that her lover was killed — never fail to move me.
  106. Thanks for this Steve.
    A lot of what you do is: “I read this so you don’t have to.” stuff.

    It’s great to see a “I read this because you didn’t know you had to.”
    piece.

  107. @Almost Missouri
    @Jonathan Mason


    I wonder if Sondheim had ever met any young people from Puerto Rico.
     
    As menials and servants perhaps, in his rarified worlds of midcentury Manhattan and Doylestown. But yes, you make a good point. The West Side Puerto Ricans are really just sock puppets mouthing Sondheim's personal culture of critique. It's an early example of the mode of the Sacralized Other.

    Replies: @Dmon

    And the presence of large numbers of Puerto Ricans in NY at all is an early example both of immigrants using political power to undermine America and of White leftist politicians stabbing their own in the back in order to cement a voting block dependent on government handouts. As personified by Vito Marcantonio.

    https://centropr.hunter.cuny.edu/centrovoices/chronicles/remembering-vito-marcantonio

  108. @Franz
    Sondheim obits clog the net, okay, he was good. Once in awhile.

    I don't seem to recall a similar outpouring (even a few drips in fact) just over 5 years ago when Merle Haggard died. And Ol Merle went over 50 years touring and writing his music and having an effect on real people throughout the nation, and elsewhere as well.

    Worse still, Merle Haggard was from California. Did the entertainment industry not approve of a Native Son? He guest starred an a Clint Eastwood movie even. What gives?

    Expect big sendoffs for the critics darlings. What the rest of us like, not so much.

    Replies: @R.G. Camara, @Mike Tre

    Roy Clark did as much or more for flyover culture than anyone. He was fret tapping 15 years before anyone had heard of Eddie VanHalen.

  109. @SafeNow
    @Hangnail Hans

    “Greatest musical of all time”

    There are many lists. There is significant variation among lists, and so this is quite subjective. People here will all differ in ranking the top contenders, and they will all be correct. (Unless someone disagrees about the old musicals being much better.)

    Here is one good list:

    https://www.imdb.com/list/ls051686144/

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @The Germ Theory of Disease

    True, it is subjective, but there are baseline standards.

    “South Pacific” is not the greatest musical. The prize obviously goes to “Anything Goes”.

  110. @Anon
    @JohnnyWalker123

    Being from the rock generation, I am unable to like Sondheim. He's from that boring time before music became really exciting.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

    Most old folk, low-brow music is & remains much more satisfying that anything from the 60ies & later..

    [MORE]

    or even comedy on Jingo:

  111. @James J O'Meara
    @Reg Cæsar

    "Schoenberg loved the California Republic, but was a monarchist and generally too right-wing for America."

    Schoenberg is everyone's favorite punching bag (esp. on the "Right") for awful "modern" music, Jewish cultural subversion, etc. Yet I keep coming across brief remarks from some people that seem to indicate he was, indeed, a pretty right-wing guy, even in music. All the books, and articles though, seem to be either "Hooray for us modernists/jews" or the aforementioned "Schoenberg the Talmudic monster." Any suggestions for "Strange New Respect for Schoenberg" would be welcome.

    Personally, the recordings of the early string music sound pretty nice, and I recall seeing Moses and Aaron at the Met (? or some other NYC venue) and it too was pretty interesting. In between I don't know anything.

    BTW, the same is true of the Frankfurters. Horkheimer and Adorno, in their writings, are pretty "right wing" in the sense of traditional Germanic high culture (hence their hatred of "pop" culture and capitalism). Note how the Woke combine pop culture and global capitalism.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @HammerJack

    The glory of Germanic music was that it reached a remarkable level of development by 17th Century and then kept evolving stylistically for 250+ years Thus Spaketh Zarathustra doesn’t sound much like the Brandenburg Concertos.

    Schoenberg, a patriotic upholder of that tradition, wanted to be the next step in the glorious history of Germanic music. He was doing it both for himself and for Teutonic culture. Keep in mind that serial music wasn’t something he came up with as a young self-promoter to cover up his own weaknesses. He was 43 and already a distinguished composer in more traditional styles. When he announced that 12 tone music was the Next Big Thing, his fellow composers took him seriously.

    But it was a step too far for audiences and has remained so.

    • Replies: @Jack Armstrong
    @Steve Sailer

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Fadamscovell%2Fstatus%2F1102951143141974016&psig=AOvVaw202nsY1NGD9i0zkZpVH1ys&ust=1638149376488000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAgQjRxqFwoTCKiBxab0ufQCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAI

    Schönberg’s grave stone in Vienna’s Central Cemetery is very SERIOUS !

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Steve Sailer


    He was 43 and already a distinguished composer in more traditional styles.
     
    His composition texts are very traditional. He expected students to be fully steeped in the patrimony before attempting innovations of their own.



    https://www.pepquotes.com/quotes-covers/i/sm/i-arnold-schoenberg-quotes-1936034-1596327391.jpg
    , @JerseyJeffersonian
    @Steve Sailer

    Ja, the 12-Tone stuff as purveyed by others is often pretty tedious; in their hands it became an oppressive force, what with its "practitioners" promulgating a cultlike Narrative, always one-upping with serialism expanding from rigid series of pitches to rigid series of rhythmic durations. Ick.

    And indeed, these tedious, poncy jerks hijacked art music in universities in a like fashion to the leftists in the other humanities, with any open positions being filled with adherents to the cult. The net result was that mostly repellant music that issued from their circle jerk found no favor with audiences. But this lack of acceptance only seemed to confirm their "cleverness" to these narcissistic clods, superior beings as they conceived themselves to be.

    Back to Schoenberg and his music.

    I strongly recommend a listen to his massive oratorio-like work, Gurrelieder, The Song of the Wood Dove. After becoming familiar with it in recorded form, I had the great good fortune to attend a performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra some years ago that was a powerful experience.

    His Verklärte Nacht, Transfigured Night, a work for strings is quite good.

    His early atonal masterpiece, Pierrot Lunaire, for voice and small instrumental ensemble is sui generis. I have an old Nonesuch recording with Jan DeGaetani at her youthful best handling the Sprechstimme, a half-sung, half-spoken style that dominates in this work. Both that vocal technique, and the atonality are well-matched to the sensibility of the poems of Albert Giraud, translated into German by Hartleben, which supply the lyrical content.

    As a final recommendation, I suggest his Op.16, Fünf Stücke für Orkester, Five Pieces for Orchestra. In particular, the third of these, Sommermorgen an einem See (Farben), Summer Morning by a Lake (Colors), is a tour de force, a seemingly static piece, that in actuality attains movement of a sort through the orchestral voicings, and their consequent shifts in tone color.

  112. @R.G. Camara
    @Ziel

    Lennon was the brains.

    McCartney was the heart.

    Harrison was the soul.

    And Ringo played the drums.

    ------------------------

    Not that I believe that, it's just a funny joke.

    Ringo's drum playing has actually been lauded by many later drummers (including Bruce Springsteen's longtime celebrated drummer Max Weinberg) as innovative and era-shaping.

    And remember the Beatles never hit it big until Ringo joined.

    And they elevated Ringo and his drums behind them so everyone could see him, and named their band after the "beat" of the drums -- clearly, they thought his drumming was important to their songs.

    Not to mention how many songs Ringo sang on the albums (unheard of in those days, or indeed today, for a non-writing drummer to be so spotlighted), including the first song on Sgt. Pepper's ("I get by with a little help from my friends") and how after the Beatles broke up Ringo started a very successful career and had some good hit songs.

    Still, for some reason it became standard Beatles lore that Ringo was a nonentity nothing with no contributions. Sad!

    Replies: @Hibernian, @Raz, @G. Poulin

    John Lennon was asked about Ringo vs Pete Best, who had been replaced by Ringo as the drummer. John replied, “Pete was a better drummer, Ringo is a better Beatle”.

    Pete Best later released an album “Best of the Beatles”. LOL

    • Replies: @pirelli
    @Raz

    I can’t find any reliable source for that quote and suspect it’s apocryphal. Another quote about Ringo attributed to Lennon that’s definitely apocryphal is “Ringo wasn’t the best drummer in the world. Let’s face it, he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles.”

    The reality is that Ringo was a good drummer, probably better than Best. Best was certainly good enough for live shows, plus he was handsome and popular with the fans (some maintain that L+M were jealous of him, which made them eager to oust him). But George Martin did not think Best’s drumming was good enough for studio work, and a couple studio techs at EMI agreed with him. Martin wanted Ringo. Martin had just met the group and had no ulterior motive for making that assessment.

    As for what the other Beatles thought of Best, they’ve said a lot of lame, wishy-washy things (only Lennon was refreshingly candid and said they’d been “cowards” by leaving it to Epstein to give Best the news that he was out), but sifting through the BS and gibberish, it sounds like they basically considered him an imperfect social fit for the band. The three of them (L+M+H) were great friends, and Best just wasn’t quite in sync with them. He wouldn’t always go out with them after shows in Liverpool and Hamburg, he didn’t have the same quirky sense of humor they did, he was a bit more straight-laced and conventional, the other guys were more “arty,” he kept his “quiff” hairdo while the others were growing mop tops, etc.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Reg Cæsar

  113. @James J O'Meara
    @Reg Cæsar

    "Schoenberg loved the California Republic, but was a monarchist and generally too right-wing for America."

    Schoenberg is everyone's favorite punching bag (esp. on the "Right") for awful "modern" music, Jewish cultural subversion, etc. Yet I keep coming across brief remarks from some people that seem to indicate he was, indeed, a pretty right-wing guy, even in music. All the books, and articles though, seem to be either "Hooray for us modernists/jews" or the aforementioned "Schoenberg the Talmudic monster." Any suggestions for "Strange New Respect for Schoenberg" would be welcome.

    Personally, the recordings of the early string music sound pretty nice, and I recall seeing Moses and Aaron at the Met (? or some other NYC venue) and it too was pretty interesting. In between I don't know anything.

    BTW, the same is true of the Frankfurters. Horkheimer and Adorno, in their writings, are pretty "right wing" in the sense of traditional Germanic high culture (hence their hatred of "pop" culture and capitalism). Note how the Woke combine pop culture and global capitalism.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @HammerJack

    Any suggestions for “Strange New Respect for Schoenberg” would be welcome.

    “My music isn’t modern; it’s just badly played.”

  114. Musicals suck. Sorry not sorry. Sondheim music sucks and his lyrics aren’t poetry. Next!

  115. @additionalMike
    @Kylie

    Supposedly, for Bernie Taupin and Elton John also.

    Replies: @Kylie

    “Supposedly, for Bernie Taupin and Elton John also[words came first, then melody].”

    I just read that somewhere very recently. It really surprised me, not sure why.

  116. From today’s New York Times:

    What Will the World Be Like in 20 Years?

    Looking at demographic data can help us assess the opportunities and challenges of the coming decades.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ctrl-F “Afr” turns up nothing.

  117. OFF TOPIC … More proof that for my working hypothesis that “Minnesota” is only a simulation on a computer in a walk-in closet office in the hills of LA county.

    Black Tech Talent provides space for Minnesota technologists to connect.

    https://chorus.stimg.co/22998459/merlin_64802883.jpg?w=525&h=600&format=auto%2Ccompress&cs=tinysrgb&auto=compress&crop=faces&dpr=2

    https://chorus.stimg.co/23007341/merlin_64802881.jpg?w=525&h=600&format=auto%2Ccompress&cs=tinysrgb&auto=compress&crop=faces&dpr=2

    [Michael] Jackson hopes his platform gives Black technologies a voice and a chance to speak about their journey. Within the online community are conversations about natural hair in the workplace,

    That’s when I knew this is not and could not be anything other than a simulation

    the sense of having to work harder than white co-workers, and the struggles of breaking into the industry, he said.

    Jackson, who before developing Black Tech Talent created a ticketing and booking platform for concert promoters and venues, is using \$25,000 in prize money from the MN Cup to develop an employer-employee matching application. The app will automatically match a person is to the description of a job, its duties and skill requirements.

    Earlier this month, Black Tech Talent hosted Community Tech Fest at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. The one-day festival featured virtual and augmented reality devices, robotics and computer gaming systems.

    During the event, Jackson revealed a superhero character he hopes will attract Black youths to tech. Content around the character, called Black Circuit, will be based on the character learning about different technologies that can power his suit. As the character learns about the various technologies, youths will learn about occupations that bring that technology into existence, Jackson said.

    Nick Williams is a business reporter for the Star Tribune.
    [email protected] NWilliams_Strib

    https://www.startribune.com/black-tech-talent-provides-space-for-technologists-to-connect-minnesota-diversity-business-equity/600121269/

  118. @Steve Sailer
    @James J O'Meara

    The glory of Germanic music was that it reached a remarkable level of development by 17th Century and then kept evolving stylistically for 250+ years Thus Spaketh Zarathustra doesn't sound much like the Brandenburg Concertos.

    Schoenberg, a patriotic upholder of that tradition, wanted to be the next step in the glorious history of Germanic music. He was doing it both for himself and for Teutonic culture. Keep in mind that serial music wasn't something he came up with as a young self-promoter to cover up his own weaknesses. He was 43 and already a distinguished composer in more traditional styles. When he announced that 12 tone music was the Next Big Thing, his fellow composers took him seriously.

    But it was a step too far for audiences and has remained so.

    Replies: @Jack Armstrong, @Reg Cæsar, @JerseyJeffersonian

  119. I feel like both ‘Into the Woods’ and ‘A Little Night Music’ have a lot of songs with his typically clever lyrics but also very nice melodies.

  120. @Steve Sailer
    @SafeNow

    And there's a certain amount of distinction between best stage musical and best filmed musical. E.g., Cabaret is such a great movie that Bob Fosse beat out Francis Ford Coppola for Best Director in the year of The Godfather. Fiddler on the Roof is said to have been a better movie than stage show.

    In contrast, South Pacific is a dull filmed version of a great musical and Guys and Dolls let Marlon Brando have the main singing role and Frank Sinatra the main acting role.

    We'll see what Spielberg will do with West Side Story this December. The old one is not a perfect movie, but it's good enough and the melodies, lyrics, and dancing were superlative. If audiences like Spielberg's remake, hopefully they'll remake South Pacific and Guys and Dolls.

    Replies: @theMann, @Colin Wright, @Simon

    I want to say the term for best stage musical is opera, but I suspect all live performances suffer in transfering to the screen.

    In any case, I think Sondheim really deserves great credit as a creative artist: he wrote a lifetime’s worth of memorable tunes and made them accessible to a large filmgoing audience. Not so easy to do when you consider how varied Americans musical tastes are.

  121. @Steve Sailer
    @SafeNow

    And there's a certain amount of distinction between best stage musical and best filmed musical. E.g., Cabaret is such a great movie that Bob Fosse beat out Francis Ford Coppola for Best Director in the year of The Godfather. Fiddler on the Roof is said to have been a better movie than stage show.

    In contrast, South Pacific is a dull filmed version of a great musical and Guys and Dolls let Marlon Brando have the main singing role and Frank Sinatra the main acting role.

    We'll see what Spielberg will do with West Side Story this December. The old one is not a perfect movie, but it's good enough and the melodies, lyrics, and dancing were superlative. If audiences like Spielberg's remake, hopefully they'll remake South Pacific and Guys and Dolls.

    Replies: @theMann, @Colin Wright, @Simon

    ‘…We’ll see what Spielberg will do with West Side Story this December…’

    You very well may. I’ll grant that I would take watching such a thing over pulling out my own toenails with pliers, but that’s about as far as I’d go.

    …I’m confident that I will never see it.

    • Replies: @theMann
    @Colin Wright

    I concur with the sentiment, but come on, you have to watch it to see how Spielberg is going to introduce Nazis into the story.

  122. @Dave Pinsen
    @Rob

    2001: A Space Odyssey is generally considered to be impressive from a visual standpoint. It was directed by a Jew (Stanley Kubrick) and arguably the most effective classical music in it was composed by a Jew (György Ligeti). Arguably, the top living classical music composer is a Jew, Philip Glass. You've almost certainly heard his music in film soundtracks, but here's the prelude to his opera Akhnaten.

    https://youtu.be/hdso3RXMwAY

    Replies: @Jack Armstrong, @JerseyJeffersonian, @Rob

    People try to copy Glass a lot too. The six beat thing.

    For performers, the problem with Philip’s music is that it’s like Mozart’s: as the saying goes, it’s too easy for the amateur and too difficult for the professional. You absolutely have to play in tune, and be able to articulate the rhythms exactly with nuances without rubatos (unless you intend to use them). You have to let the tempos have their pace and their time. His music isn’t helped by 21st-century virtuosity. — Dennis Russell Davies (conductor)

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    @Jack Armstrong

    Russell Davies conducted that original German Akhnaten production in the YouTube clip I included. The Metropolitan Opera had a lady conductor for their recent production of it, and the prelude in particular was not as powerful as in Russell Davies' hands.

  123. Please excuse all the long comments; I prefer to keep ’em short, even wordless at times. But pre-1970 pop music and baseball are my bailiwick, and Steve is obviously an amateur musicologist as well.

    Now what do post-1970 baseball and pop music have in common? Bloat. Techn[olog]ical advances, to be sure, but those mostly wasted. Large-scale relocation to “multi-purpose stadia” unfit for any room for nuance.

    Sondheim was discussed here just three weeks ago. Is iSteve jinxed?

    When they worked on Gypsy, Sondheim told the more experienced Jule Styne that he needed a couple more notes in a particular spot, because it was sure to get a long laugh. Styne said none of his other lyricists had ever said anything similar. Perhaps he’d gotten that from Hammerstein?

    The Styne-Sondheim, Bernstein-Sondheim, and Dorothy Fields-Cy Coleman shows of that time are good examples of intergenerational collaboration. We need more of that kind of thing today. Pass on old smarts to new blood.

  124. @Steve Sailer
    @SafeNow

    And there's a certain amount of distinction between best stage musical and best filmed musical. E.g., Cabaret is such a great movie that Bob Fosse beat out Francis Ford Coppola for Best Director in the year of The Godfather. Fiddler on the Roof is said to have been a better movie than stage show.

    In contrast, South Pacific is a dull filmed version of a great musical and Guys and Dolls let Marlon Brando have the main singing role and Frank Sinatra the main acting role.

    We'll see what Spielberg will do with West Side Story this December. The old one is not a perfect movie, but it's good enough and the melodies, lyrics, and dancing were superlative. If audiences like Spielberg's remake, hopefully they'll remake South Pacific and Guys and Dolls.

    Replies: @theMann, @Colin Wright, @Simon

    South Pacific is a dull filmed version of a great musical.

    Ouch! I’m disappointed to hear this. I usually hate love stories, but I still get choked up at the final shot of Nellie (the self-described “little hick” nurse) and the aging landowner just back from risking his life, the two seated at that outdoor table, suddenly grasping hands.

    A few years ago, just out of curiosity, I watched a bunch of old Rodgers & Hammerstein films that I’d seen as a child. The songs are great, of course, but the movies didn’t come off very well. The King and I seemed cramped and stagy, the plot of Carousel seemed ridiculous, and Oklahoma struck me as surprisingly mean-spirited; Jud, the despised outcast, seemed more sympathetic than the smug, arrogant hero. Only South Pacific held up, and certain moments — not only that hand-clasping, but Nellie hugging the native girl who hasn’t yet heard that her lover was killed — never fail to move me.

  125. @Steve Sailer
    @James J O'Meara

    The glory of Germanic music was that it reached a remarkable level of development by 17th Century and then kept evolving stylistically for 250+ years Thus Spaketh Zarathustra doesn't sound much like the Brandenburg Concertos.

    Schoenberg, a patriotic upholder of that tradition, wanted to be the next step in the glorious history of Germanic music. He was doing it both for himself and for Teutonic culture. Keep in mind that serial music wasn't something he came up with as a young self-promoter to cover up his own weaknesses. He was 43 and already a distinguished composer in more traditional styles. When he announced that 12 tone music was the Next Big Thing, his fellow composers took him seriously.

    But it was a step too far for audiences and has remained so.

    Replies: @Jack Armstrong, @Reg Cæsar, @JerseyJeffersonian

    He was 43 and already a distinguished composer in more traditional styles.

    His composition texts are very traditional. He expected students to be fully steeped in the patrimony before attempting innovations of their own.

  126. @Peter D. Bredon
    @SunBakedSuburb

    That doesn't count. Mike Nichols (or someone) had the brilliant idea of using existing Simon & Garfunkel songs rather than a "sophisticated" "adult" score (e.g. Dave Grusin's instrumental contributions). That helped make it a perfect film (I wouldn't say 'perfect' but more like Travolta's "That's a pretty damn good milkshake" from Pulp Fiction).

    Imagine if the cigar smoking producers demanded a "real, traditional, good old Hollywood theme song"?

    "Heyyyyyyyyyy, here comes the Graduate!"

    Replies: @Jack D

    That doesn’t count. Mike Nichols (or someone) had the brilliant idea of using existing Simon & Garfunkel songs ….

    Not quite. He had Simon & Garfunkel in (Simon really – he was the songwriter) and asked them if they had anything for a title song? Simon had written a song that started out, Here’s to you, Eleanor Roosevelt (or something like that – I think she had just died) and he quickly substituted, Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson. And at some point in the demo he ran out of improvised lyrics and just started sing dummy words doot doo doo doot doo doo doo doo (intending to fill them in later) but Nichols liked it with the dummy words. And the rest is history.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    @Jack D

    A bit like the song:

    "Two for tea
    And tea for two.
    One for me
    And two for you"

    The dummy words never got replaced.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    , @Peter D. Bredon
    @Jack D

    Thanks for clarifying my memory. My point though was contrasting the idea of hiring a composer de novo, not reworking existing or partially existing songs. Even "Mrs. Robinson" isn't really a "title song" which would have been something like "And here's to you, Mr. Graduate!"

    Arguably the "title song" is "Sounds of Silence," which plays over the opening credits (even Tarantino uses the same airport moving walkway over song trope in Jackie Brown) and reappears later during a montage of Ben and Mrs. Robinson. Speaking of re-using, this is the 45 hit version which Columbia had re-engineered with electric guitars after S&G broke up and Simon was singing on the streets of London.

    If memory serves the movie version of "Mrs. Robinson" is or is more like the demo version, with lots of "doo doo doos" and a long guitar breakdown (as Ben's car runs out of gas).

  127. @Buffalo Joe
    I watched the "Godfather" for a bit the other night. Great theme song and I thought have we ever had a theme song conversation here? Some of my favorites; The Godfather, Pink Panther, The Graduate, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Goldfinger, The Good, the bad and the ugly, The Sting. Non musicals, please.

    Replies: @Mike Tre, @SunBakedSuburb, @obwandiyag, @Reg Cæsar

    Godfather’s alright. But all those cheesy 60s movies. The 60s were not good for movies.

    My vote: “Out of the Past” and “The Adventures of Robin Hood.”

  128. @Jack D
    @Peter D. Bredon


    That doesn’t count. Mike Nichols (or someone) had the brilliant idea of using existing Simon & Garfunkel songs ....
     
    Not quite. He had Simon & Garfunkel in (Simon really - he was the songwriter) and asked them if they had anything for a title song? Simon had written a song that started out, Here's to you, Eleanor Roosevelt (or something like that - I think she had just died) and he quickly substituted, Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson. And at some point in the demo he ran out of improvised lyrics and just started sing dummy words doot doo doo doot doo doo doo doo (intending to fill them in later) but Nichols liked it with the dummy words. And the rest is history.

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason, @Peter D. Bredon

    A bit like the song:

    “Two for tea
    And tea for two.
    One for me
    And two for you”

    The dummy words never got replaced.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Jonathan Mason


    The dummy words never got replaced.

     

    Vincent Youmans woke up Irving Caesar in the hotel they were staying at because he had this tune going through his head. Caesar just spit words out by habit. They stuck, and are his most famous work now.

    Caesar also wrote the words for "Swanee", which was George Gershwin's biggest hit during his short lifetime. (Ira's biggest was with Jerome Kern years after George's death.)

    Late in his life (Caesar lived a few weeks longer than that other Irving, also dying at 101), he was struck by a car while crossing a Manhattan street. He jumped right back up and shouted at the driver, "Hey, don't you know who I am? I wrote 'Swanee'!"

    One time he wrote the words and the music for a show-- and the story and the book, and produced it as well. When it bombed, he looked around for someone to blame.


    dummy words
     
    There are dummy tunes, too. Frank Loesser, who had been setting lyrics for the likes of Hoagy Carmichael for a decade, heard a preacher say, "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition" after our entry into the war. He quickly whipped up a lyric and a dummy melody to remember it by, then took it around to friends who might suggest a composer.

    They all said the same thing-- his dummy tune was as good as anything he was likely to get from someone else. That was the beginning of his glorious composing career. Oddly, he had no confidence in his abilities. His father was a piano teacher born in Europe, and his much older brother Arthur was a top classical music critic. That would beat anybody down.

    My ambition is to post a fact that neither Steve nor Mark Steyn knows. Hey, how about this-- Vincent Youmans is distantly related to Bruce Springsteen through the Springstead branch.

  129. @Hangnail Hans
    @Jonathan Mason


    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time
     
    Some good melodies, but can't hold a candle to My Fair Lady, which bests it in every regard and as a bonus isn't busy laying groundwork for the extermination of the Caucasian race. For some of us, that makes a difference.

    Replies: @SafeNow, @Ian M., @FPD72, @Jonathan Mason

    High point of film musicals was the ’60s: best film musicals in my opinion are My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, and Fiddler on the Roof. (Last one is 1971, but close enough).

    (I’m not considering Disney animated musicals).

    I get tired of too much dancing, so I’m less inclined toward famous musicals like West Side Story or Singing in the Rain.

  130. @Hangnail Hans
    @Jonathan Mason


    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time
     
    Some good melodies, but can't hold a candle to My Fair Lady, which bests it in every regard and as a bonus isn't busy laying groundwork for the extermination of the Caucasian race. For some of us, that makes a difference.

    Replies: @SafeNow, @Ian M., @FPD72, @Jonathan Mason

    Some good melodies, but can’t hold a candle to My Fair Lady, which bests it in every regard

    I saw MFL at Lincoln Center in 2019 and have to agree. I grew up hearing its songs on the radio; many of them became pop standards. Other personal favorites, with original music, for dramatic effect are Man of La Mancha and Phantom of the Opera. For non-original music it’s hard to beat Beauty.

    • Replies: @FPD72
    @FPD72

    The last word should be Beautiful, not Beauty, although I did enjoy Beauty and the Beast as well.

  131. @Jonathan Mason
    @Jack D

    A bit like the song:

    "Two for tea
    And tea for two.
    One for me
    And two for you"

    The dummy words never got replaced.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    The dummy words never got replaced.

    Vincent Youmans woke up Irving Caesar in the hotel they were staying at because he had this tune going through his head. Caesar just spit words out by habit. They stuck, and are his most famous work now.

    Caesar also wrote the words for “Swanee”, which was George Gershwin’s biggest hit during his short lifetime. (Ira’s biggest was with Jerome Kern years after George’s death.)

    Late in his life (Caesar lived a few weeks longer than that other Irving, also dying at 101), he was struck by a car while crossing a Manhattan street. He jumped right back up and shouted at the driver, “Hey, don’t you know who I am? I wrote ‘Swanee’!”

    One time he wrote the words and the music for a show– and the story and the book, and produced it as well. When it bombed, he looked around for someone to blame.

    dummy words

    There are dummy tunes, too. Frank Loesser, who had been setting lyrics for the likes of Hoagy Carmichael for a decade, heard a preacher say, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” after our entry into the war. He quickly whipped up a lyric and a dummy melody to remember it by, then took it around to friends who might suggest a composer.

    They all said the same thing– his dummy tune was as good as anything he was likely to get from someone else. That was the beginning of his glorious composing career. Oddly, he had no confidence in his abilities. His father was a piano teacher born in Europe, and his much older brother Arthur was a top classical music critic. That would beat anybody down.

    My ambition is to post a fact that neither Steve nor Mark Steyn knows. Hey, how about this– Vincent Youmans is distantly related to Bruce Springsteen through the Springstead branch.

  132. @FPD72
    @Hangnail Hans


    Some good melodies, but can’t hold a candle to My Fair Lady, which bests it in every regard
     
    I saw MFL at Lincoln Center in 2019 and have to agree. I grew up hearing its songs on the radio; many of them became pop standards. Other personal favorites, with original music, for dramatic effect are Man of La Mancha and Phantom of the Opera. For non-original music it’s hard to beat Beauty.

    Replies: @FPD72

    The last word should be Beautiful, not Beauty, although I did enjoy Beauty and the Beast as well.

  133. @AndrewR
    @JohnnyWalker123

    I am not a jazz expert but that doesn't really sound like any jazz from the 1940s

    Replies: @Clifford Brown

    It’s from the video game LA Noire about 1940’s Los Angeles.

  134. @Jonathan Mason
    @Peter Johnson

    I find the lyrics to that song America (clip above) really cringe-worthy.

    I wonder if Sondheim had ever met any young people from Puerto Rico.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @Peter D. Bredon, @Reg Cæsar, @Peter Johnson

    Musicals are just artistic fantasies so you need to practice suspension of disbelief to enjoy them. There are some nice people from Puerto Rico and some not-so-nice but the typical characteristics of the population have no relevance to enjoying musicals.

  135. @dearieme
    I saw a BBC documentary on West Side Story, replete with interviews of Bernstein. Not once did he mention Sondheim. What a turd.

    Replies: @Art Deco

    I’ll wager he did and it ended up on the cutting room floor.

  136. @Hangnail Hans
    @Jonathan Mason


    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time
     
    Some good melodies, but can't hold a candle to My Fair Lady, which bests it in every regard and as a bonus isn't busy laying groundwork for the extermination of the Caucasian race. For some of us, that makes a difference.

    Replies: @SafeNow, @Ian M., @FPD72, @Jonathan Mason

    A lot of the songs in My Fair Lady were written as patter songs because Rex Harrison couldn’t sing.

    I guess he was a prototype rapper.

    My Fair Lady was a mega hit on Broadway with the young Julie Andrews, but the movie role was given to Audrey Hepburn who couldn’t sing either, and the vocals were dubbed in by Marni Nixon, who sounded a lot like Andrews.

    I didn’t think Hepburn was very good in that role. The plot of my fair lady is pretty ridiculous. From today My Fair Lady looks like a period piece, but South Pacific is still very watchable.

    • Replies: @Wilkey
    @Jonathan Mason

    It is thanks to Hepburn’s casting in “My Fair Lady” that we got Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins. Jack Warner refused to cast Andrews in “My Fair Lady,” and cast Hepburn (who didn’t even sing her own songs) instead, because Andrews was still unknown at the time. Andrews “thanked” Warner the next year when she accepted her Oscar for “Mary Poppins.”

  137. @R.G. Camara
    Sondheim sums up a lot of Broadway of the last 50 years, and its decline into a gay-Jewish ghetto:

    -gay
    -Jewish
    -massively overrated/feted with awards because of the above 2 qualities
    -wrote insular lyrics only beloved by critics and "high brow" snots who hated America
    -made musicals that "deconstructed" (i.e. attacked) traditional morality and healthy psychology -- so much so that no one saw them who didn't already agree with him.
    -super huge ego such that he wrote his own music as well as his lyrics, when the norm was to do one or the other
    -made crap music
    -unknown and unbeloved outside of NYC and super-hard musical geeks

    If anything, Sondheim is proof why music & lyrics were separate functions in musical theater forever.

    I had to do his Into the Woods back in high school and lemme tell you--it was as boring and awful doing it as it is watching it. I have no idea why the theater teachers (all female) chose that over so many other ready-for-high-school-and-fun-to-sing-musicals, but likely their feminism and arrogance played a roles.

    Replies: @Agitprop, @Clyde, @Anon, @Dave Pinsen, @Old Prude

    I attended a Rogers and Hammerstein medley performance this Friday: The music was great, but the production was awful: Oklahoma! becomes an interracial Broke Back Mountain: A gay black man singing “I can’t say no” and fagging it up the rest of the show. The best performer was a chubby asian girl, but like the gay black singer, unwatchable without vague disgust.

    It was of the same kidney as modern staging of classic operas. The producer can’t mess with the genius of the music and lyrics, so they compensate by a repellant, insulting production. It is just an indication of how petty and inadequate they are in comparison with the creators. They should not be allowed near these works of genius.

  138. @Mike Tre
    @Buffalo Joe

    The original Star Wars, the 1978 Superman motion picture, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Terminator, Red Dawn, and the original Rocky.

    Replies: @Joe Stalin

    The original Star Wars, the 1978 Superman motion picture, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Terminator, Red Dawn, and the original Rocky.

    Basil Poledouris, who did the Conan the Barbarian theme.

    • Thanks: Mike Tre
  139. @Steve Sailer
    @James J O'Meara

    The glory of Germanic music was that it reached a remarkable level of development by 17th Century and then kept evolving stylistically for 250+ years Thus Spaketh Zarathustra doesn't sound much like the Brandenburg Concertos.

    Schoenberg, a patriotic upholder of that tradition, wanted to be the next step in the glorious history of Germanic music. He was doing it both for himself and for Teutonic culture. Keep in mind that serial music wasn't something he came up with as a young self-promoter to cover up his own weaknesses. He was 43 and already a distinguished composer in more traditional styles. When he announced that 12 tone music was the Next Big Thing, his fellow composers took him seriously.

    But it was a step too far for audiences and has remained so.

    Replies: @Jack Armstrong, @Reg Cæsar, @JerseyJeffersonian

    Ja, the 12-Tone stuff as purveyed by others is often pretty tedious; in their hands it became an oppressive force, what with its “practitioners” promulgating a cultlike Narrative, always one-upping with serialism expanding from rigid series of pitches to rigid series of rhythmic durations. Ick.

    And indeed, these tedious, poncy jerks hijacked art music in universities in a like fashion to the leftists in the other humanities, with any open positions being filled with adherents to the cult. The net result was that mostly repellant music that issued from their circle jerk found no favor with audiences. But this lack of acceptance only seemed to confirm their “cleverness” to these narcissistic clods, superior beings as they conceived themselves to be.

    Back to Schoenberg and his music.

    I strongly recommend a listen to his massive oratorio-like work, Gurrelieder, The Song of the Wood Dove. After becoming familiar with it in recorded form, I had the great good fortune to attend a performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra some years ago that was a powerful experience.

    His Verklärte Nacht, Transfigured Night, a work for strings is quite good.

    His early atonal masterpiece, Pierrot Lunaire, for voice and small instrumental ensemble is sui generis. I have an old Nonesuch recording with Jan DeGaetani at her youthful best handling the Sprechstimme, a half-sung, half-spoken style that dominates in this work. Both that vocal technique, and the atonality are well-matched to the sensibility of the poems of Albert Giraud, translated into German by Hartleben, which supply the lyrical content.

    As a final recommendation, I suggest his Op.16, Fünf Stücke für Orkester, Five Pieces for Orchestra. In particular, the third of these, Sommermorgen an einem See (Farben), Summer Morning by a Lake (Colors), is a tour de force, a seemingly static piece, that in actuality attains movement of a sort through the orchestral voicings, and their consequent shifts in tone color.

  140. @Dave Pinsen
    @Rob

    2001: A Space Odyssey is generally considered to be impressive from a visual standpoint. It was directed by a Jew (Stanley Kubrick) and arguably the most effective classical music in it was composed by a Jew (György Ligeti). Arguably, the top living classical music composer is a Jew, Philip Glass. You've almost certainly heard his music in film soundtracks, but here's the prelude to his opera Akhnaten.

    https://youtu.be/hdso3RXMwAY

    Replies: @Jack Armstrong, @JerseyJeffersonian, @Rob

    Some years ago, I attended a screening of the film, Koyaanisquatsi, in Philadelphia; but what made this occasion extraordinary was that Glass’ score was performed by a live ensemble. The piquant timbre of the soprano sax, propagating in the wonderful room ambiance of the Franklin Auditorium of the University of Pennsylvania, yet lingers in my memory.

  141. @Rob
    Maybe asking this question shows my ignorance of non-pop (and most of pop) so I'll just admit to it. I know very little about music. I know that there have been (a lot of?) Jewish classical musicians, but what of composers? Have there been lots of Jews? Did they have standout strengths and weaknesses as a group?

    I know visual arts and architecture are fields where jews punch below their cognitive weight class, but maybe they are where one would predict based on their lower non-verbal IQ? In VA&A the exceptions, like Gehry, prove the rule. The Jewish influence in the visual arts had been pernicious. The lack of talent coupled within-group promotion and verbal bamboozling is extreme enough that one must wonder about Jewish “contributions” to other fields.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Dave Pinsen, @J.Ross

    Jews kept to themselves culturally for most of their history, then exploded in influence from a random conversation in Enlightenment Germania, becoming dominant with industrialization, and only now starting to fade. So they’re huge despite sitting out most of the game. Had they participated in Western culture continuously from, say, the Renaissance, they would probably be even bigger, and there would be a more even distribution between mechanical experimenters like Mendelssohn, true geniuses like Korngold, and subverters like late-Sondheim. As it is, if you dig, you can find a Jewish artist or composer you like.

  142. @Jack D
    @Peter D. Bredon


    That doesn’t count. Mike Nichols (or someone) had the brilliant idea of using existing Simon & Garfunkel songs ....
     
    Not quite. He had Simon & Garfunkel in (Simon really - he was the songwriter) and asked them if they had anything for a title song? Simon had written a song that started out, Here's to you, Eleanor Roosevelt (or something like that - I think she had just died) and he quickly substituted, Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson. And at some point in the demo he ran out of improvised lyrics and just started sing dummy words doot doo doo doot doo doo doo doo (intending to fill them in later) but Nichols liked it with the dummy words. And the rest is history.

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason, @Peter D. Bredon

    Thanks for clarifying my memory. My point though was contrasting the idea of hiring a composer de novo, not reworking existing or partially existing songs. Even “Mrs. Robinson” isn’t really a “title song” which would have been something like “And here’s to you, Mr. Graduate!”

    Arguably the “title song” is “Sounds of Silence,” which plays over the opening credits (even Tarantino uses the same airport moving walkway over song trope in Jackie Brown) and reappears later during a montage of Ben and Mrs. Robinson. Speaking of re-using, this is the 45 hit version which Columbia had re-engineered with electric guitars after S&G broke up and Simon was singing on the streets of London.

    If memory serves the movie version of “Mrs. Robinson” is or is more like the demo version, with lots of “doo doo doos” and a long guitar breakdown (as Ben’s car runs out of gas).

  143. @R.G. Camara
    @Ziel

    Lennon was the brains.

    McCartney was the heart.

    Harrison was the soul.

    And Ringo played the drums.

    ------------------------

    Not that I believe that, it's just a funny joke.

    Ringo's drum playing has actually been lauded by many later drummers (including Bruce Springsteen's longtime celebrated drummer Max Weinberg) as innovative and era-shaping.

    And remember the Beatles never hit it big until Ringo joined.

    And they elevated Ringo and his drums behind them so everyone could see him, and named their band after the "beat" of the drums -- clearly, they thought his drumming was important to their songs.

    Not to mention how many songs Ringo sang on the albums (unheard of in those days, or indeed today, for a non-writing drummer to be so spotlighted), including the first song on Sgt. Pepper's ("I get by with a little help from my friends") and how after the Beatles broke up Ringo started a very successful career and had some good hit songs.

    Still, for some reason it became standard Beatles lore that Ringo was a nonentity nothing with no contributions. Sad!

    Replies: @Hibernian, @Raz, @G. Poulin

    Before Ringo came along, the Beatles were just another pretty good club band. Ringo made the Beatles.

  144. @HammerJack

    A delightful contributor to American culture …
     
    Right. I especially like how they manage to fit their tribal socio-political propaganda into nearly everything they wrote. Works like West Side Story and South Pacific are full of great music, and beloved by countless millions who happily sing along with the propaganda, not really even thinking.

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason, @SFG, @Suburban_elk_4, @Wade Hampton

    If you are talking straight multiculti propaganda, it’s hard to beat “South Pacific”. The big song “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” must have been Robin DiAngelo’s inspiration for her crusade for anti-white racism.

    “You’ve got to be taught
    To hate and fear,
    You’ve got to be taught
    From year to year,
    It’s got to be drummed
    In your dear little ear
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
    And people whose skin is a different shade,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught!”

  145. @Ian Smith
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Some white + Asian mixes are attractive, particularly women. But with race mixing, you’re engaging in an extreme crapshoot. I remember when they did that National Geographic issue on half-castes, they all looked like mutants, even factoring in the harsh lighting and mopey expressions.

    Seriously, would anyone want to shag any of the below?:

    https://spacecoastdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/changing-faces-388.jpg

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Art Deco

    White-Asian females, yes; males- no. But even then, there are questions of identity. It isn’t for nothing that the concept of “tragic mulatto” had appeared.

    • Agree: Ian Smith
  146. @Jonathan Mason
    @HammerJack

    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time, but I suspect that very few people who have ever seen it give very much thought to the themes of interracial and intergenerational sex, or pay attention to the fact that Nelly Forbush comes from Little Rock, Arkansas of all places.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @Bardon Kaldian, @SFG, @Wade Hampton, @Wilkey

    Lol.

    Good heavens, it is impossible to watch “South Pacific” without having multiculti garbage rubbed in your face. (“You’ve got to be carefully taught”.)

    “South Pacific” is OK, but its not even the best of the R&H oeuvre. That honor goes to either “Oklahoma” or “The King and I”.

    The greatest musical honors belong to “Music Man” (Meredith Willson) or “My Fair Lady” (Lerner and Loewe).

    • Replies: @theMann
    @Wade Hampton

    Oh good grief

    1. 42nd Street
    2. All that Jazz
    3. La-la Land
    4. A Funny Thing etc
    5. Follow the Fleet.

    And if 4 or more songs, or production numbers, etc qualify as a musical, then

    Zulu

    is the greatest musical of them all.


    My parents made me watch My Fair Lady as a child, which accounts for my disdain for the genre.

    Replies: @Colin Wright

  147. @Loyalty Over IQ Worship
    Was he as influential as Dr. Seuss? This short propaganda film was done in 1945 to tell us how evil the German people are. It was literally written by Dr. Seuss. It said Germans were an eternal menace and we must watch out for fascism in America.

    It was pure race-hatred against Germans. It ends with a supportive image of Uncle Joe Stalin. It won the Academy Award.

    For those who think "woke" culture and propaganda just started in 2013. Or that culture just recently got dumbed down. This was moron level stuff.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb2YenLG_rQ

    Replies: @epebble

    How is it race-hatred when a mostly white America (and allies) considers (till recently) white supremacist Hitler’s Nazi Germany as an enemy? Is our continuing enmity towards (far more whiter than U.S.) Russia also race-hatred? We have an alliance with South Korea but enmity with North Korea. Is that race-love/race-hatred/both/none?

  148. @Buffalo Joe
    I watched the "Godfather" for a bit the other night. Great theme song and I thought have we ever had a theme song conversation here? Some of my favorites; The Godfather, Pink Panther, The Graduate, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Goldfinger, The Good, the bad and the ugly, The Sting. Non musicals, please.

    Replies: @Mike Tre, @SunBakedSuburb, @obwandiyag, @Reg Cæsar

    I watched the “Godfather” for a bit the other night. Great theme song

    https://m.facebook.com/LordVinheteiro/videos/playing-godfather-theme-with-a-gun/742050456622059/

    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
    @Reg Cæsar

    And why does the pianist have his finger Binger-style inside the trigger guard?

  149. So half the commenters are serious, and half are just throwing the words “Jew,” “gay,” and “leftist” in a blender. Got it.

  150. @Colin Wright
    @Steve Sailer

    '...We’ll see what Spielberg will do with West Side Story this December...'

    You very well may. I'll grant that I would take watching such a thing over pulling out my own toenails with pliers, but that's about as far as I'd go.

    ...I'm confident that I will never see it.

    Replies: @theMann

    I concur with the sentiment, but come on, you have to watch it to see how Spielberg is going to introduce Nazis into the story.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
  151. @Jack Armstrong
    @Dave Pinsen

    People try to copy Glass a lot too. The six beat thing.


    For performers, the problem with Philip’s music is that it’s like Mozart’s: as the saying goes, it’s too easy for the amateur and too difficult for the professional. You absolutely have to play in tune, and be able to articulate the rhythms exactly with nuances without rubatos (unless you intend to use them). You have to let the tempos have their pace and their time. His music isn’t helped by 21st-century virtuosity. — Dennis Russell Davies (conductor)
     

    Replies: @Dave Pinsen

    Russell Davies conducted that original German Akhnaten production in the YouTube clip I included. The Metropolitan Opera had a lady conductor for their recent production of it, and the prelude in particular was not as powerful as in Russell Davies’ hands.

  152. @Reg Cæsar

    ...in 1969 Paul McCartney could have improvised a better melody off the top of his head the first time he was handed these lyrics.
     
    Or Richard Rodgers could have, to use his own metaphor, peed it.

    Sondheim was called on to do both words and music for Gypsy, but Ethel Merman scotched* that idea. Jule Styne did the music instead. Hammerstein told Sondheim to suck it up, and he did, praising Styne's score.

    After Hammerstein died, Rodgers did his own lyrics (for a show about Hammerstein's fixation, a mixed couple), and Sondheim did Forum, with his catchiest song, "Comedy Tonight". Then the two collaborated on a forgotten show in which Sondheim rhymed intellectual, ineffectual, and homosexual to a bouncy tune. That's all I can remember of it!


    ...the first time he was handed these lyrics.
     
    Usually the melody comes first, then the words. Rodgers did this with Lorenz Hart. Hammerstein, though, set his lyrics to opera tunes and handed them to Rodgers. This may be why the Hart-era songs are favored by jazzed.

    Words-first is a clumsy way to work. There are a hundred ways to say something to mean the same thing, but fiddle with the notes and it's a different tune. Classical composers could do it with the Mass because they had the freedom of melisma, which was shunned by Broadway and Tin Pan Alley. (Yes, New York's standards were stricter than Europe's, at least on this. How many librettists can you name, anyway?)

    *Fun fact: Merman, Hammerstein, Donald Trump, and Jay Leno all had Scottish mothers.

    Replies: @Kylie, @Buck Ransom

    Then the two collaborated on a forgotten show in which Sondheim rhymed intellectual, ineffectual, and homosexual to a bouncy tune. That’s all I can remember of it!

    Here it is, from a 2016 production of Do I Hear a Waltz? The part you’re thinking of starts around the 3:45 mark. It’s not a collaboration, Sondheim did the music and lyrics for this show.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Buck Ransom


    It’s not a collaboration, Sondheim did the music and lyrics for this show.

     

    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81KGjuPPV0L._SY450_.jpg

    Replies: @Buck Ransom

  153. @Wade Hampton
    @Jonathan Mason

    Lol.

    Good heavens, it is impossible to watch "South Pacific" without having multiculti garbage rubbed in your face. ("You've got to be carefully taught".)

    "South Pacific" is OK, but its not even the best of the R&H oeuvre. That honor goes to either "Oklahoma" or "The King and I".

    The greatest musical honors belong to "Music Man" (Meredith Willson) or "My Fair Lady" (Lerner and Loewe).

    Replies: @theMann

    Oh good grief

    1. 42nd Street
    2. All that Jazz
    3. La-la Land
    4. A Funny Thing etc
    5. Follow the Fleet.

    And if 4 or more songs, or production numbers, etc qualify as a musical, then

    Zulu

    is the greatest musical of them all.

    My parents made me watch My Fair Lady as a child, which accounts for my disdain for the genre.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    @theMann

    '...Zulu is the greatest musical of them all...'

    Alexander Nevsky? I still watch that.

    https://youtu.be/1REYcSiiwXg

    Replies: @theMann

  154. @Meretricious
    @Reg Cæsar

    Reg, Lloyd Webber: Sondheim=Billy Joel:Lennon/McCartney

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Lloyd Webber: Sondheim=Billy Joel:Lennon/McCartney

    Lennon and McCartney put more standards on some individual Beatles albums than Sondheim, Lloyd Webber, and Joel have produced, combined, in their entire careers.

  155. @Buck Ransom
    @Reg Cæsar

    Then the two collaborated on a forgotten show in which Sondheim rhymed intellectual, ineffectual, and homosexual to a bouncy tune. That’s all I can remember of it!

    Here it is, from a 2016 production of Do I Hear a Waltz? The part you're thinking of starts around the 3:45 mark. It's not a collaboration, Sondheim did the music and lyrics for this show.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy9bwhS3Xgo

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    It’s not a collaboration, Sondheim did the music and lyrics for this show.

    • Replies: @Buck Ransom
    @Reg Cæsar

    I sit corrected.

  156. @Ian Smith
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Some white + Asian mixes are attractive, particularly women. But with race mixing, you’re engaging in an extreme crapshoot. I remember when they did that National Geographic issue on half-castes, they all looked like mutants, even factoring in the harsh lighting and mopey expressions.

    Seriously, would anyone want to shag any of the below?:

    https://spacecoastdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/changing-faces-388.jpg

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Art Deco

    Seriously, would anyone want to shag any of the below?:

    All but about five of them are normal range. Most people aren’t particularly attractive.

    • Disagree: Ian Smith
  157. @Reg Cæsar
    @Buck Ransom


    It’s not a collaboration, Sondheim did the music and lyrics for this show.

     

    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81KGjuPPV0L._SY450_.jpg

    Replies: @Buck Ransom

    I sit corrected.

  158. @Dave Pinsen
    @HammerJack

    Not every musical composer can be a champion of reactionary values like Richard O’Brien.

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/1456468386012180481?s=21

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @Almost Missouri

    In his Song of the Week feature this week, Mark Steyn gave Steve an explicit name-check and a link directly to this blogpost. The Song of this Week was “Send in the Clowns”, which Steyn used as the basis for an obit for Sondheim.

    He writes his characteristic criticism:

    But clever words on notes that seem to object on principle into cohering into a take-home tune is a much tougher sell to a mass audience.

    So Sondheim, the protégé of Oscar Hammerstein and sometime composing partner of Richard Rodgers, took the great central throughway of American popular culture and made it a dead end. Broadway is Spin-off Boulevard now: screen adaptations and jukebox musicals. He raged against that in the last couple of years, without apparently reflecting on what his own role might have been. “Finishing the Hat …where there never was a hat” became making a wasteland where there never was a wasteland.

    … It seems strange consciously to court unpopularity in a popular medium.

    but still finishes with some appreciation.

    Anyway, it’s rather good.

    https://www.steynonline.com/11936/send-in-the-clowns

    • Thanks: Dave Pinsen
  159. Funny thing but I was just telling my wife a couple of days ago that I consider SS to be mittelmaessig and never to be a match for one Johnny Mercer or one Cole Porter, and here comes this article.

    When I was still giging we almost never did a night without going through ” All the things you are” and ” Out of nowhere” a tune which Parker apparently loved and would do sometimes twice on a live date.

    And for the dummy who made the remarks about ” untalented Jews” : This uncultured clout obviously never heard of Tin Pan Alley.

    AJM

    PS : My favorite Beatle tune remains : ” If I fell” ( In love with you )

    • Replies: @JMcG
    @Authenticjazzman

    Cole Porter is without peer, in my very unsophisticated view. Glad to see you are still ticking!

    , @The Germ Theory of Disease
    @Authenticjazzman

    "My favorite Beatle tune remains : ” If I fell” ( In love with you )"

    I'm torn between "Dear Prudence" and "Girl". The one I admire most as a musician is "A Hard Day's Night".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wv_Xhzwvjyg

  160. @Dave Pinsen
    @Rob

    2001: A Space Odyssey is generally considered to be impressive from a visual standpoint. It was directed by a Jew (Stanley Kubrick) and arguably the most effective classical music in it was composed by a Jew (György Ligeti). Arguably, the top living classical music composer is a Jew, Philip Glass. You've almost certainly heard his music in film soundtracks, but here's the prelude to his opera Akhnaten.

    https://youtu.be/hdso3RXMwAY

    Replies: @Jack Armstrong, @JerseyJeffersonian, @Rob

    All i know about Philip Glass is that i am pretty sure he did the “music” for a short play by David Ives called Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread.” i put music in quotes, but it was actually pretty good when i saw it live, though not at all in the vein of Ives’ other work. Think it was the last piece of the evening (or prolly matinee). Saw it with the understudy of the understudy, because the understudy was sick, too. Shockingly, the underunderstudy was good, too.

    Ah, to live in Southampton with NYC’s theatre just a jitney ride (or 3 hour car ride!) away!

    • Replies: @SonOfFrankenstein
    @Rob

    I haven't listened to very much of Glass' work to form an opinion. I know that he has a huge body of work. However, one great big mistake was when he was allowed to write a score for the 1931 Dracula film. They have shown this version on Svengoolie from time to time and it is a stinker.

  161. Ah, musical theater. The turducken of the arts.

  162. @theMann
    @Wade Hampton

    Oh good grief

    1. 42nd Street
    2. All that Jazz
    3. La-la Land
    4. A Funny Thing etc
    5. Follow the Fleet.

    And if 4 or more songs, or production numbers, etc qualify as a musical, then

    Zulu

    is the greatest musical of them all.


    My parents made me watch My Fair Lady as a child, which accounts for my disdain for the genre.

    Replies: @Colin Wright

    ‘…Zulu is the greatest musical of them all…’

    Alexander Nevsky? I still watch that.

    • Replies: @theMann
    @Colin Wright

    Prokofiev is definitely underrated- probably has more recognizable music than any other 20th century composer.

  163. @Authenticjazzman
    Funny thing but I was just telling my wife a couple of days ago that I consider SS to be mittelmaessig and never to be a match for one Johnny Mercer or one Cole Porter, and here comes this article.

    When I was still giging we almost never did a night without going through " All the things you are" and " Out of nowhere" a tune which Parker apparently loved and would do sometimes twice on a live date.

    And for the dummy who made the remarks about " untalented Jews" : This uncultured clout obviously never heard of Tin Pan Alley.

    AJM

    PS : My favorite Beatle tune remains : " If I fell" ( In love with you )

    Replies: @JMcG, @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Cole Porter is without peer, in my very unsophisticated view. Glad to see you are still ticking!

  164. @Raz
    @R.G. Camara

    John Lennon was asked about Ringo vs Pete Best, who had been replaced by Ringo as the drummer. John replied, “Pete was a better drummer, Ringo is a better Beatle”.

    Pete Best later released an album “Best of the Beatles”. LOL

    Replies: @pirelli

    I can’t find any reliable source for that quote and suspect it’s apocryphal. Another quote about Ringo attributed to Lennon that’s definitely apocryphal is “Ringo wasn’t the best drummer in the world. Let’s face it, he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles.”

    The reality is that Ringo was a good drummer, probably better than Best. Best was certainly good enough for live shows, plus he was handsome and popular with the fans (some maintain that L+M were jealous of him, which made them eager to oust him). But George Martin did not think Best’s drumming was good enough for studio work, and a couple studio techs at EMI agreed with him. Martin wanted Ringo. Martin had just met the group and had no ulterior motive for making that assessment.

    As for what the other Beatles thought of Best, they’ve said a lot of lame, wishy-washy things (only Lennon was refreshingly candid and said they’d been “cowards” by leaving it to Epstein to give Best the news that he was out), but sifting through the BS and gibberish, it sounds like they basically considered him an imperfect social fit for the band. The three of them (L+M+H) were great friends, and Best just wasn’t quite in sync with them. He wouldn’t always go out with them after shows in Liverpool and Hamburg, he didn’t have the same quirky sense of humor they did, he was a bit more straight-laced and conventional, the other guys were more “arty,” he kept his “quiff” hairdo while the others were growing mop tops, etc.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @pirelli

    In "Get Back," McCartney is a flashier drummer than Ringo. I presume the other Beatles wanted Ringo to stick to minimalist drumming so as not to get in the way of what they were doing.

    Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @pirelli


    Another quote about Ringo attributed to Lennon that’s definitely apocryphal is “Ringo wasn’t the best drummer in the world. Let’s face it, he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles.”
     
    The way I heard it, the first sentence was from a reporter, and the second was Lennon's leapfrogging retort. At any rate, the quote is not apocryphal, merely misattributed:


    Did John Lennon really say Ringo “Wasn’t Even The Best Drummer In The Beatles”?

    Reddit: "Ringo isn't even the best drummer in The Beatles"

    The less trustworthy Snopes says the same:

    Did John Lennon Say ‘Ringo Wasn’t Even the Best Drummer in the Beatles’?

    Replies: @pirelli

  165. @pirelli
    @Raz

    I can’t find any reliable source for that quote and suspect it’s apocryphal. Another quote about Ringo attributed to Lennon that’s definitely apocryphal is “Ringo wasn’t the best drummer in the world. Let’s face it, he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles.”

    The reality is that Ringo was a good drummer, probably better than Best. Best was certainly good enough for live shows, plus he was handsome and popular with the fans (some maintain that L+M were jealous of him, which made them eager to oust him). But George Martin did not think Best’s drumming was good enough for studio work, and a couple studio techs at EMI agreed with him. Martin wanted Ringo. Martin had just met the group and had no ulterior motive for making that assessment.

    As for what the other Beatles thought of Best, they’ve said a lot of lame, wishy-washy things (only Lennon was refreshingly candid and said they’d been “cowards” by leaving it to Epstein to give Best the news that he was out), but sifting through the BS and gibberish, it sounds like they basically considered him an imperfect social fit for the band. The three of them (L+M+H) were great friends, and Best just wasn’t quite in sync with them. He wouldn’t always go out with them after shows in Liverpool and Hamburg, he didn’t have the same quirky sense of humor they did, he was a bit more straight-laced and conventional, the other guys were more “arty,” he kept his “quiff” hairdo while the others were growing mop tops, etc.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Reg Cæsar

    In “Get Back,” McCartney is a flashier drummer than Ringo. I presume the other Beatles wanted Ringo to stick to minimalist drumming so as not to get in the way of what they were doing.

    • Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease
    @Steve Sailer

    McCartney is a flashier drummer than Ringo, but he was also a more conventional drummer. His style has none of the kick and originality of Ringo. For all his limitations, Ringo, like Mo Tucker, was a stylist first and a technician second. Plus he had a great image/personality which put the hijinks of L and M into stark contrast and relief.

    Beatles music would be unlistenable if it was backed by a Neil Peart or a Ginger Baker.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

  166. @Steve Sailer
    @pirelli

    In "Get Back," McCartney is a flashier drummer than Ringo. I presume the other Beatles wanted Ringo to stick to minimalist drumming so as not to get in the way of what they were doing.

    Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease

    McCartney is a flashier drummer than Ringo, but he was also a more conventional drummer. His style has none of the kick and originality of Ringo. For all his limitations, Ringo, like Mo Tucker, was a stylist first and a technician second. Plus he had a great image/personality which put the hijinks of L and M into stark contrast and relief.

    Beatles music would be unlistenable if it was backed by a Neil Peart or a Ginger Baker.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    What bands have too flashy a drummer?

  167. @Authenticjazzman
    Funny thing but I was just telling my wife a couple of days ago that I consider SS to be mittelmaessig and never to be a match for one Johnny Mercer or one Cole Porter, and here comes this article.

    When I was still giging we almost never did a night without going through " All the things you are" and " Out of nowhere" a tune which Parker apparently loved and would do sometimes twice on a live date.

    And for the dummy who made the remarks about " untalented Jews" : This uncultured clout obviously never heard of Tin Pan Alley.

    AJM

    PS : My favorite Beatle tune remains : " If I fell" ( In love with you )

    Replies: @JMcG, @The Germ Theory of Disease

    “My favorite Beatle tune remains : ” If I fell” ( In love with you )”

    I’m torn between “Dear Prudence” and “Girl”. The one I admire most as a musician is “A Hard Day’s Night”.

  168. @The Germ Theory of Disease
    @Steve Sailer

    McCartney is a flashier drummer than Ringo, but he was also a more conventional drummer. His style has none of the kick and originality of Ringo. For all his limitations, Ringo, like Mo Tucker, was a stylist first and a technician second. Plus he had a great image/personality which put the hijinks of L and M into stark contrast and relief.

    Beatles music would be unlistenable if it was backed by a Neil Peart or a Ginger Baker.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    What bands have too flashy a drummer?

    • LOL: JMcG
  169. @Colin Wright
    @theMann

    '...Zulu is the greatest musical of them all...'

    Alexander Nevsky? I still watch that.

    https://youtu.be/1REYcSiiwXg

    Replies: @theMann

    Prokofiev is definitely underrated- probably has more recognizable music than any other 20th century composer.

  170. @Reg Cæsar
    @Buffalo Joe


    I watched the “Godfather” for a bit the other night. Great theme song
     
    https://m.facebook.com/LordVinheteiro/videos/playing-godfather-theme-with-a-gun/742050456622059/


    https://youtu.be/A9QJ-JA7Rcw

    Replies: @Inquiring Mind

    And why does the pianist have his finger Binger-style inside the trigger guard?

  171. @pirelli
    @Raz

    I can’t find any reliable source for that quote and suspect it’s apocryphal. Another quote about Ringo attributed to Lennon that’s definitely apocryphal is “Ringo wasn’t the best drummer in the world. Let’s face it, he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles.”

    The reality is that Ringo was a good drummer, probably better than Best. Best was certainly good enough for live shows, plus he was handsome and popular with the fans (some maintain that L+M were jealous of him, which made them eager to oust him). But George Martin did not think Best’s drumming was good enough for studio work, and a couple studio techs at EMI agreed with him. Martin wanted Ringo. Martin had just met the group and had no ulterior motive for making that assessment.

    As for what the other Beatles thought of Best, they’ve said a lot of lame, wishy-washy things (only Lennon was refreshingly candid and said they’d been “cowards” by leaving it to Epstein to give Best the news that he was out), but sifting through the BS and gibberish, it sounds like they basically considered him an imperfect social fit for the band. The three of them (L+M+H) were great friends, and Best just wasn’t quite in sync with them. He wouldn’t always go out with them after shows in Liverpool and Hamburg, he didn’t have the same quirky sense of humor they did, he was a bit more straight-laced and conventional, the other guys were more “arty,” he kept his “quiff” hairdo while the others were growing mop tops, etc.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Reg Cæsar

    Another quote about Ringo attributed to Lennon that’s definitely apocryphal is “Ringo wasn’t the best drummer in the world. Let’s face it, he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles.”

    The way I heard it, the first sentence was from a reporter, and the second was Lennon’s leapfrogging retort. At any rate, the quote is not apocryphal, merely misattributed:

    Did John Lennon really say Ringo “Wasn’t Even The Best Drummer In The Beatles”?

    Reddit: “Ringo isn’t even the best drummer in The Beatles”

    The less trustworthy Snopes says the same:

    Did John Lennon Say ‘Ringo Wasn’t Even the Best Drummer in the Beatles’?

    • Replies: @pirelli
    @Reg Cæsar

    Okay, misattributed, apocryphal, whatever, the point is that Lennon never said it.

    It’s not true that an interviewer said the first part and Lennon responded.

    It was said on the BBC program Radio Active in 1981, a year after Lennon died, and gradually through a game of telephone the story became that Lennon had said it.

    https://amp.radiox.co.uk/artists/beatles/did-john-lennon-say-ringo-wasnt-even-best-drummer/

    The only reason the quote holds any significance for people is the notion that Lennon said it, which is why I refer to it as apocryphal rather than misattributed, but if you prefer the latter, fine. Point is Lennon never said it.

  172. @R.G. Camara
    @Franz

    Merle likely was the single most important innovator in country music since Hank Williams Sr.

    Replies: @SonOfFrankenstein

    Well said. I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am wipes the floor with most of these broadway songs. I tear up just thinking about that particular song.

    I remember back in the early 70’s when Johnny Cash was all the rage. But Merle was the sh*t. Here’s a guy who converted a whole bunch of Grateful Dead fans to his ways at a time when the country was so polarized.

    The last time that I got to see The Hag perform was right after Buck Owens had died. Before Merle came onstage, his band performed a long tribute to Buck. A class act.

    I don’t wish to disparage Sondheim and his ilk on the occasion of his death. What’s wrong with these songs? Not as good as Swinging Doors but our children are doing musical tributes to these classics in high school. I don’t see anything too subversive in that. Some of America’s greatest music was composed in the Brill Building in Manhattan, music written almost entirely by Jews and often performed by the (usually) black girl groups.

    Alas, I was raised listening to these musicals soundtracks and for better or worse know all the words to the South Pacific songs and others. Fortunately, Mom and Dad (who preferred Big Band) did not have the Oklahoma soundtrack. It makes a good joke in Blazing Saddles by the great Mel Brooks.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    @SonOfFrankenstein

    I think these words are inspiring:

    "We know we belong to the land!
    And the land we belong to is grand!
    We're doing fine Oklahoma,
    Oklahoma, OK.
    "

    It's clear to me that there's a Conservative theme there, whether it was intended or not. And, having seen a HS student production with my ciousin in a supporting role, back in the late '70s, I understand that at least one other theme in the play was anything but Conservative.

  173. @Rob
    @Dave Pinsen

    All i know about Philip Glass is that i am pretty sure he did the “music” for a short play by David Ives called Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread.” i put music in quotes, but it was actually pretty good when i saw it live, though not at all in the vein of Ives’ other work. Think it was the last piece of the evening (or prolly matinee). Saw it with the understudy of the understudy, because the understudy was sick, too. Shockingly, the underunderstudy was good, too.

    Ah, to live in Southampton with NYC’s theatre just a jitney ride (or 3 hour car ride!) away!

    Replies: @SonOfFrankenstein

    I haven’t listened to very much of Glass’ work to form an opinion. I know that he has a huge body of work. However, one great big mistake was when he was allowed to write a score for the 1931 Dracula film. They have shown this version on Svengoolie from time to time and it is a stinker.

  174. @Jonathan Mason
    @HammerJack

    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time, but I suspect that very few people who have ever seen it give very much thought to the themes of interracial and intergenerational sex, or pay attention to the fact that Nelly Forbush comes from Little Rock, Arkansas of all places.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @Bardon Kaldian, @SFG, @Wade Hampton, @Wilkey

    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time

    If, by “greatest musical of all time,” you mean the earliest musical to most hit you over the head with its preachiness, then yes, you are right. Some good numbers in “South Pacific,” but story-wise it’s hardly the greatest.

    Question: is there a single show for which Sondheim did both music and lyrics currently performing on Broadway? If so, is it just a brief revival, or something that’s been playing for years? His lyrics were often serious genius. Listen to “Being Alive” from “Company,” which is the song Adam Driver also sings near the end “Marriage Story”; or to pretty much anything from “A Little Night Music.” Clever, cutting, and deeply insightful. More intelligence in any one of those songs than literally then entirety of “Rent “ “Frozen,” and “Book of Mormon” – combined.

    Sondheim was a major influence on American culture. But he might have had an even greater influence if he had stepped back and allowed someone else to write more of his music.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Wilkey

    Sondheim, like Dylan, was a genius lyricist who felt compelled by the spirit of the age to take on roles he wasn't all that good at: singing in Dylan's case, melody writing in Sondheim's. After 200 years of adulation of the division of labor, 1960s-1970s heroes like Dylan and Sondheim rebelled against it.

    To be incredibly good at one thing is admirable. At least Sondheim didn't insist in personally starring in his musicals, the way Dylan insisted upon singing his songs.

  175. @Jonathan Mason
    @Hangnail Hans

    A lot of the songs in My Fair Lady were written as patter songs because Rex Harrison couldn't sing.

    I guess he was a prototype rapper.

    My Fair Lady was a mega hit on Broadway with the young Julie Andrews, but the movie role was given to Audrey Hepburn who couldn't sing either, and the vocals were dubbed in by Marni Nixon, who sounded a lot like Andrews.

    I didn't think Hepburn was very good in that role. The plot of my fair lady is pretty ridiculous. From today My Fair Lady looks like a period piece, but South Pacific is still very watchable.

    Replies: @Wilkey

    It is thanks to Hepburn’s casting in “My Fair Lady” that we got Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins. Jack Warner refused to cast Andrews in “My Fair Lady,” and cast Hepburn (who didn’t even sing her own songs) instead, because Andrews was still unknown at the time. Andrews “thanked” Warner the next year when she accepted her Oscar for “Mary Poppins.”

  176. @Wilkey
    @Jonathan Mason


    South Pacific is the greatest musical of all time
     
    If, by “greatest musical of all time,” you mean the earliest musical to most hit you over the head with its preachiness, then yes, you are right. Some good numbers in “South Pacific,” but story-wise it’s hardly the greatest.

    Question: is there a single show for which Sondheim did both music and lyrics currently performing on Broadway? If so, is it just a brief revival, or something that’s been playing for years? His lyrics were often serious genius. Listen to “Being Alive” from “Company,” which is the song Adam Driver also sings near the end “Marriage Story”; or to pretty much anything from “A Little Night Music.” Clever, cutting, and deeply insightful. More intelligence in any one of those songs than literally then entirety of “Rent “ “Frozen,” and “Book of Mormon” - combined.

    Sondheim was a major influence on American culture. But he might have had an even greater influence if he had stepped back and allowed someone else to write more of his music.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Sondheim, like Dylan, was a genius lyricist who felt compelled by the spirit of the age to take on roles he wasn’t all that good at: singing in Dylan’s case, melody writing in Sondheim’s. After 200 years of adulation of the division of labor, 1960s-1970s heroes like Dylan and Sondheim rebelled against it.

    To be incredibly good at one thing is admirable. At least Sondheim didn’t insist in personally starring in his musicals, the way Dylan insisted upon singing his songs.

  177. @SonOfFrankenstein
    @R.G. Camara

    Well said. I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am wipes the floor with most of these broadway songs. I tear up just thinking about that particular song.

    I remember back in the early 70's when Johnny Cash was all the rage. But Merle was the sh*t. Here's a guy who converted a whole bunch of Grateful Dead fans to his ways at a time when the country was so polarized.

    The last time that I got to see The Hag perform was right after Buck Owens had died. Before Merle came onstage, his band performed a long tribute to Buck. A class act.

    I don't wish to disparage Sondheim and his ilk on the occasion of his death. What's wrong with these songs? Not as good as Swinging Doors but our children are doing musical tributes to these classics in high school. I don't see anything too subversive in that. Some of America's greatest music was composed in the Brill Building in Manhattan, music written almost entirely by Jews and often performed by the (usually) black girl groups.

    Alas, I was raised listening to these musicals soundtracks and for better or worse know all the words to the South Pacific songs and others. Fortunately, Mom and Dad (who preferred Big Band) did not have the Oklahoma soundtrack. It makes a good joke in Blazing Saddles by the great Mel Brooks.

    Replies: @Hibernian

    I think these words are inspiring:

    We know we belong to the land!
    And the land we belong to is grand!
    We’re doing fine Oklahoma,
    Oklahoma, OK.

    It’s clear to me that there’s a Conservative theme there, whether it was intended or not. And, having seen a HS student production with my ciousin in a supporting role, back in the late ’70s, I understand that at least one other theme in the play was anything but Conservative.

  178. @Reg Cæsar
    @pirelli


    Another quote about Ringo attributed to Lennon that’s definitely apocryphal is “Ringo wasn’t the best drummer in the world. Let’s face it, he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles.”
     
    The way I heard it, the first sentence was from a reporter, and the second was Lennon's leapfrogging retort. At any rate, the quote is not apocryphal, merely misattributed:


    Did John Lennon really say Ringo “Wasn’t Even The Best Drummer In The Beatles”?

    Reddit: "Ringo isn't even the best drummer in The Beatles"

    The less trustworthy Snopes says the same:

    Did John Lennon Say ‘Ringo Wasn’t Even the Best Drummer in the Beatles’?

    Replies: @pirelli

    Okay, misattributed, apocryphal, whatever, the point is that Lennon never said it.

    It’s not true that an interviewer said the first part and Lennon responded.

    It was said on the BBC program Radio Active in 1981, a year after Lennon died, and gradually through a game of telephone the story became that Lennon had said it.

    https://amp.radiox.co.uk/artists/beatles/did-john-lennon-say-ringo-wasnt-even-best-drummer/

    The only reason the quote holds any significance for people is the notion that Lennon said it, which is why I refer to it as apocryphal rather than misattributed, but if you prefer the latter, fine. Point is Lennon never said it.

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