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University of Utah radio presents music and other four letter words. Here is your host associate professor of music at the University of Utah Paul bad. I used to think at one time that the music of the future and in this century probably would emanate from the Broadway stage. I'm not sure what my feelings are now I think I've had to revise some of those sentiments over the last year or two. It's always hard to know at any given time where it's at. It's even harder to know where it may be going. It seemed to me when I used to say that with with some conviction anyway that that Broadway still had the makings of the music of the future that was true because there was. I sort of settled in clearly recognizable style however commercial it was that its formulae had some gimmicks its cliches its idioms were all recognised and handled fairly unselfconsciously by persons who came along to the Broadway scene. Particularly when it came to writing music.
And that although this gets to be a terrible bore and one senses with every new Broadway musical that none of the conventions have been transcended. It doesn't mean that there is no possibility for something like that to happen. My immediate and journey backwards in time is to the last part of the eighteenth century which in many ways socially and revolution are a labor of flux some of the sentiment and feeling of our time. Every year I suppose in places which regarded themselves as the musical theatrical centers of the civilised world the take Vienna for example the musical comedies appeared and they were just that. Nowadays we're disposed to refer to them as operas and sometimes to give them various stereotypes. Sing be you over here call me whatever we want to call them and when we do that it all sounds very distinguished but in
actual practice it was a night out at the musical theatre. People dressed up much as we would know or didn't went off and hoped that they would hear some catchy tunes but they would be able to whistle on the way home. And if some of the melodies were going to be particularly successful the composers of them saw in advance that there would be people out on the street as the crowds came out to circulate handbills containing the words and sometimes even a kind of skeletal version of the tune so that people could do more than whistle. They could learn the songs and sing them on the way home. Mozart was not above doing that. So nowadays when we talk about things like the Magic Flute they abduction from the seraglio in The Marriage of Figaro Don Giovanni. It was a little to the late 18th century manners though. We were talking about the latest Broadway show or the latest Hollywood movie as a matter of fact and didn't carry connotations of particular weight to gravity importance or
timelessness inside that that musical show tradition. Say Indiana the last part of the 18th century there were lots of composers among whom most sort was regarded as at first not particularly successful and that is he didn't seem to contemporary ears to to jibe very well with the conventions he was always being a little too personal to subjective too outspoken too emotional. But then they had come to expect that of him because he was a fairly demonstrative person in public. Preferred composers of musical shows that is the ones who sort of knew the gimmicks had the buffo style down pat and who would be remembered by posterity because of their great depth message handling all of these things were pricey Yellow Rose saw Sal Yairi and other assorted great names whom we have since forgotten. This is the kind of music say by CI morrow song that would have been particularly in
in Vienna mid 1780s. Thank you. I heard I'm a soul United found. The. Smallholding Wally has a gun. And we both keep reading this want to keep this. Thing. On. It was sort of them don think Paul H. Every story this morning.
Through a week we would just be sitting. There certainly were very hungry. Yes. I have had a nice clear uncomplicated pleasant to listen to music concedes truly as entertainment and its value lies especially there in uncomplicated I think is probably the best word to know what they really want to go to performances especially at musical shows and have to go away at evenings and feeling any sort of. Distressing or or deep personal sentiments or values
the same situation comedies the same sort of fake. This is the tubes through which people ordinarily come out OK. Pick up the wraps go out into the cold night to have a good laugh or two a little shops and end up in bed with whoever was wailing a Mozart didn't always sort of pander to just that kind of audience. You wanted to entertain you wanted to be successful and you needed money but there were times when he couldn't resist. Intensifying somehow. Honestly and rather completely with persons in his operas so that sometimes people did feel themselves being very. Wait till he tugged indeed in the direction of the particular distress and torments and anguishes of spirit which particularly Mozart's Women seemed to feel so that in what was
supposed to have been an ordinary musical show say the Marriage of Figaro in seventeen hundred and eighty six. The musical comedy had been lifted to some new level of importance. The same conventions were there in the same client of music but its treatment its handling the disposition which was ordering all of these forces was and was very serious on the sort of thing which it has seemed to me might yet happen in connection with the Broadway Theatre of nowadays. If the same sort of Mozart type person ever were to emerge. There.
Was a. Really. Good. Liberal. Who. You're saying. We were.
Nowadays very sensitive historians and biographers write. Chapters monographs. About Mozart and does a. Mozart and the androgynous mind Mozart and Shakespeare Mozart and cure could go for Mozart and modern man but almost always with some relevance. I mean there's the it's not an idle past time with some great relevance seize upon the
countess say in The Marriage of Figaro or the female characters who meander through dun Giovani. And even the ironic attitude which he is said to adopt towards what Theo believes she thought about a lot and cozy fun too. That's because it is recognized now that Mozart was not a writer of musical shows although nobody in the 1780s really suspected that because he managed to sort of have his cake and eat it too but that he was in fact investing the conventions with certain gravity which was unaccustomed in that generation which made him not especially popular the shows didn't run too long and he didn't have too much bread one way or another. And eventually as you know he died a very young man. Another had this there as a kind of equivalent to this in the Broadway Theater of recent years. There are plenty of Jane morrow citizen PCLOS who write nice music tasteful music pretty
music agreeable sounds which can entertain which can lull which can excite which can resort to most of the of the in than acceptable formulas and that make a direct appeals to audiences. Music like this. When homo. The Mole you been ok. To say I was.
The slum was sure it was. Molding gold. Was told. Slowly he the bowling bowl beat it beat Gold Gold gun going be we the goal to re. The.
Implicit social comment I suppose on life in Africa from a forgotten musical comedy. Whoever put the music and the words together already in the OBE living in I suppose an attempt to use the singing voices in a serious way and not just busy as Issue showbiz sounds of the usual Broadway musical show. But the bug someplace in the convention and easily has sort of assimilated with all of the former traditions and easily forgotten one of those shows that didn't make it occasionally on the Broadway scene of a dazzling personality appears someone who regards himself as a serious musician and
tries to make his contribution Leonard Bernstein with such a person and he's still trying to make his contribution. Many of his contributions namely come deede to seem to have come rather too soon for the world of New York City. I think he intends to try again with that piece but now it may be too late. However that may be of a very good musical show it seems to me. When it appeared a timely one. Bernstein contributed to Broadway in the on the town. Here's a song which when it appeared in the musical LA didn't seem particularly fetching it was a good IT WAS A GOOD SONG a kind of wonder a song say the jazz people but a good song in its way kind of showbizzy suits the context was the textually musically relevant and the special point made of it at the time. These gods. Are common.
Oh I. Was back on the ship. It seems such a snap. You were a girl on the shoulder. She turned around and she's. Not just that. You got the cold shoulder. Old runaround where no one gave. You. More and you're.
The one way or you. The. Look crawls rush. Again a song which is obviously meant for a professional singing voice and not just somebody to be picked
up along the Broadway circuit not especially easy to sing not especially to find one's way around in a relevant fitting not especially memorable either at the time when it appeared it sort of fit into the tradition was a good show had a successful run and ended Bernstein and went on to other bigger and better things and now has returned to the world. The Broadway theater. Hopefully something has happened though since the days that he wrote on the town and even to audiences who probably first heard lonely 10. Songs like this are taken a good deal more seriously nowadays and they're not often played up tempo as this is with the bass anymore. Singers accept into themselves more personally. Chew them mahl them. Make them Mozart Ian if you will. That is there's that there's a
disposition to do search and to feel and to extend from whatever is implicit in music like every possible thing that can be felt. Here's just as a sort of suppressed jazz version of a lonely town which you may never have heard before but suddenly it seems that there was more in that song than maybe audiences could have caught the first time around. But. When you see. Him.
You. Grabs rush or your. Sister. There we see it. Is. It. And who would believe that taking that old chestnut
summertime from Porgy and Bess that a singer in this generation within the last year would return to that sweet high soprano song filled with nostalgia an unending and reminiscences of a time in our history and that it would become so personal and some necessary some needful an expression as this one is by Janis Joplin. It's.
Handy. When you're. So. Old. Thanks. For playing I'm back. On the. LAM And. We demand more of our music. I suppose we demand more of our musicals and that there are some hope for the Broadway stage. Some people saw a man of Lamont's a step in that direction I think
that probably I have to Deemer a little because the music seems so awful to me theatrically. There are many many good things but somehow the true nobility in whatever it was and they don Quixote did a munch I think the great visionary and that has no chance with whatever music it is that someone felt obliged to write for that musical show but still it was a great step in the right direction. Tony Newley tried a couple of things stop the world I want to get off the roar of the greasepaint smell of the crowd in their way they were successful as long I think as he was doing the singing. And Joy returned genuine joy I think at some points to the Broadway theater a kind of naivete and freshness which we have been waiting for for a long time. As in say the finale to the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd. Beginning.
To. See. The history of. The still of history. Let me. See this. Say today you may live. As
long as the. Free. Will. To. Be the was still a mystery. To. You. Let's send the video. Let's see if. We begin. With. Just a bit. I. See. That. I. I. I. I.
I. This has been music and other four letter words featuring Paul Bana associate professor of music at the University of Utah. Music and other four letter words is a production of University of Utah radio executive director Rex combo. Series director Gene PAC. This series is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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Music and other four letter words
Episode Number
Musical Comedy
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Identifier: 4306 (University of Maryland)
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Chicago: “Music and other four letter words; 24; Musical Comedy,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
MLA: “Music and other four letter words; 24; Musical Comedy.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Music and other four letter words; 24; Musical Comedy. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from