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 Posted:   Aug 31, 2014 - 1:48 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

... and Rozsa, and Steiner, and Waxman, and even Scott Bradley:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDyjPB_AEBU&index=4&list=RDueS07YbMeUw

There's a wealth of Wilson-conducted Hollywood music here, and of course also on his CD's.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 31, 2014 - 9:11 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

... and Rozsa, and Steiner, and Waxman, and even Scott Bradley:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDyjPB_AEBU&index=4&list=RDueS07YbMeUw

There's a wealth of Wilson-conducted Hollywood music here, and of course also on his CD's.



Sometimes I have a very difficult time watching these John Wilson videos. I am often moved to tears---not so much by the background underscore cues which are performed often by others today---but by the reconstructed musicals excerpts which virtually NO ONE except Wilson performs today, certainly not in their original orchestrations and arrangements.

And he and his orchestra do it so well. They must love the experience of playing these things.

I was watching the Wilson performance of the MGM (30th Anniversary) Jubilee Overture a little while ago. I can remember when I first saw it, in 1954, rounding out the first-run bill with THE STUDENT PRINCE at the old LOEW'S STATE Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. The original---in CinemaScope and Stereo Sound---with the MGM Studio Orchestra conducted by Johnny Green, is beautifully done, but Wilson's re-construction is quite adept as well, considering that the original parts are no longer extant. (My only quibble with Wilson's performance---and it's not his fault---is that the instrumental solo carrying the melody in the middle of the "Temptation" sequence---is it an oboe?---cannot be heard on the soundtrack---either on the video or the CD---which was probably taken from the evening's performance recording. The sound engineer missed it entirely and it is the solo part!!! Strange that they didn't go back and overlay that since that section doesn't make much sense without it.)

I remember so many of the other musical numbers as well, seeing and hearing them originally 60-70 years ago. I think it touches me so emotionally because it is an important part of my early life coming back so vividly in the guise of the young performers of today's world.

No one seems to like these old musicals any more, but it gives me hope that they won't be lost forever when a relative youngster like John Wilson sees fit to deck them out in new clothing and perform them magnificently once again. Unfortunately, I must say that it seems to take a more sophisticated English audience to appreciate them fully. I doubt an American audience would sit still for an evening of MGM or Fox or Paramount or Warner Bros. musicals
selections, and that is sad.



 
 
 Posted:   Aug 31, 2014 - 11:04 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I used to contribute to an exclusively classical music messageboard and a fellow on there went to Yale University with the late John McGlinn, who did great re-constructions - often from original orchestrations - of the famous musicals from American musical theatre. So, John Wilson isn't the only person to be involved in this type of work.

I cannot imagine the superb legacy of the film musical not being handed down from one generation to another. The Pasternak unit at MGM, which produced films like "The Student Prince", didn't really interest me but the Freed Unit most certainly did. And Wilson is one of the few to recognize the importance and greatness of my hero Conrad Salinger.

So, Manderley, you are not alone in being moved to tears hearing the superb music of the past. Can you, in your wildest imagination, see modern audiences sitting through musicals today which have 20 minute ballet sequences in the middle of them? This was exceptional artistry and little of it would have been possible without the prescience and taste of somebody like Arthur Freed.

Producers and directors of non-musical films, who hired composers like Korngold, were probably far less understanding about the talent in their midst. It would make an interesting thesis for a PhD!!

Thank God we have this music and these films on DVD in perpetuity.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 31, 2014 - 11:38 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Of course, nobody said that John Wilson is the first and only, but I'm always happy to see the late Mr. McGlinn receive recognition for his great work. But since Conrad Salinger is your hero, (one of mine, too), I'll put in a good word here for Christopher Palmer and Elmer Bernstein who, unless I'm mistaken -- always a possibility, alas -- were the first ones to devote an entire album to Salinger's glory days at MGM.

As usual, all I can say about a Manderley post is thank you and amen.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 1, 2014 - 12:46 AM   
 By:   siriami   (Member)

Both John's did - and in Mr Wilson's case - still do - contribute greatly to continuing the appreciation for musical scores, arrangements and performances. I have seen both in concert and can say that it affected me greatly. Hearing a superb Salinger arrangement played by people who obviously love the music is a humbling experience and I can only agree with the above posters when they say that they (and I) are reduced to tears sometimes. When great music has that quality it can only be a good thing.
I am waiting patiently to see Mr Wilson's recent Proms performance of MGM's "Kiss Me Kate" when it is broadcast by the BBC in December.
Alistair

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 1, 2014 - 1:50 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I could talk about this forever!! Conrad Salinger and those orchestrations so full of colour and vitality - and originality. A composer would have written primarily from the piano, providing either a piano version or some brief sketches. Salinger and his colleagues - Skip Martin, Alex Courage, Adolph Deutsch (spelling?) et al - were just extraordinary in the way they could fill out those bars with often quite complex counterpoint and instrumental colours. When I think of a number like "The Trolley Song" with that fade-out of the 'busy' violins which emulate the movement and sound of the trolley car moving away - well, it's magic. A quite mundane tune was turned into an art form, IMO.

One of my personal favourites in this genre is "That's Entertainment" - and the lyrics are witty and wonderful too. The tune itself is quite repetitive, but it's orchestrated in such a way that you never focus on this, or even realize it.

All hail the orchestrator!!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 1, 2014 - 7:01 AM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Well put, sir. I know this is lyrics, not music, but my favorite moment in that song is:

"It might be a fight like you see on the screen,
A swain getting slain for the love of his queen,
Some great Shakespearean scene --
Where a ghost and a prince meet,
And everyone ends in mincemeat."

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 1, 2014 - 12:57 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

And from the same musical ("The Bandwagon"),

"Keep playing your music box;
...sweet music to worry the wolf away"

(Then he plays the coda from Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor).

And, "Triplets":

"MGM has got a Leo
But ma-ma has got a trio".

Clever, clever writing and the orchestration in the 'riff' section is just superb.

 
 Posted:   Sep 1, 2014 - 5:52 PM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)

Sometimes I have a very difficult time watching these John Wilson videos. I am often moved to tears---not so much by the background underscore cues which are performed often by others today---but by the reconstructed musicals excerpts which virtually NO ONE except Wilson performs today, certainly not in their original orchestrations and arrangements.

And he and his orchestra do it so well. They must love the experience of playing these things.




Glad you’re championing John, M ......he’s a total genius in re-creating Hollywood’s lost scores.

He and his orchestra are hugely popular over here and all his concerts sell out very quickly.
Don’t worry, there is still an audience for Hollywood’s Golden Age Musicals and it seems to be growing. I have friends in the States too who love his recordings and are eager to see him do concerts over there.

We saw his “That’s Entertainment” concert last year when he came to town, and it was just amazing. Ended up with the full “An American in Paris” Ballet, which was thrilling to hear live and, needless to say, it brought the house down !

He also did the “High Society” Overture.
Now, having known it since 1956, I know it backwards. His performance was note for note identical to the soundtrack. If you were given a recording of it, you would swear it was the soundtrack.

I met him afterwards and asked him (because his performance had been SO accurate) if the original score parts for this still existed. He told me “No... all of it was from scratch.”.

As I said, the man’s a genius ! Nice guy too.

Looking forward to this year’s concert in November.

It’s a "Cole Porter in Hollywood” tribute as it’s the 50th anniversary of Porter’s death.

We have fourth row center Stalls (Orchestra), just left of his baton.

Can’t wait !

 
 Posted:   Sep 1, 2014 - 5:56 PM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)

Sorry...Site’s playing up again !

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 1, 2014 - 7:27 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Thanks for your wonderful, heartening post. And you can certainly count me among the Colonists who would love nothing better than for Mr. Wilson to favor us with an appearance. I take it it'll be a first when it finally happens? Or has he ever made music here previously?

 
 Posted:   Sep 2, 2014 - 12:02 PM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)

Thanks for your wonderful, heartening post. And you can certainly count me among the Colonists who would love nothing better than for Mr. Wilson to favor us with an appearance. I take it it'll be a first when it finally happens? Or has he ever made music here previously?


I’m not sure if John has ever done concerts in the States. Preston?
I rather doubt it though.

He’s kept too busy over here, what with concert tours, one off concerts of Film and Classical music, recording and, he’s currently leading the RTE Orchestra in Ireland.

How he finds the time to transcribe all those movie scores...I don’t know. It must take him ages?

I’m sure he will do concerts over there one day though.

Just don’t get any ideas about keeping him !

If you can access the BBC TV channel over there, his “Kiss Me,Kate” Proms concert will be shown on Christmas Day. This was a semi-staged, costumed performance of the whole show using the original 1948 orchestrations.

I’m sure it will work much better on TV than it did on the night on radio!

Enjoy !









 
 
 Posted:   Sep 2, 2014 - 12:55 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Why do you have a question mark after my name -- are you questioning my identity?

smile

Well, if I can't get the BBC, I'm going to be mightily annoyed, considering how much my cable company charges me for hundreds and hundreds of channels I DON'T want to watch. I'll have to look into it. (Though I'm scared I'll end up watching it too much and my work will suffer.)

Re: KISS ME KATE and MGM music

Has anybody else noticed that in the film, when Wynn and Whitmore (sounds like a Vaudeville team -- most appropriate) are brushing up their Shakespeare, when they get to the line, "If she says your behavior is heinous, kick her right in the Coriolanus," the editor cuts away to a reaction shot of Howard Keel? I'll bet good money that Hermes Pan's choreography had one of the gangsters kicking the other one in the butt, to emphasize Porter's pun, but the studio, fearing the censors, eliminated that move by employing the cutaway shot.

 
 Posted:   Sep 2, 2014 - 4:29 PM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)

Why do you have a question mark after my name -- are you questioning my identity?

smile

Well, if I can't get the BBC, I'm going to be mightily annoyed, considering how much my cable company charges me for hundreds and hundreds of channels I DON'T want to watch. I'll have to look into it. (Though I'm scared I'll end up watching it too much and my work will suffer.)

Re: KISS ME KATE and MGM music

Has anybody else noticed that in the film, when Wynn and Whitmore (sounds like a Vaudeville team -- most appropriate) are brushing up their Shakespeare, when they get to the line, "If she says your behavior is heinous, kick her right in the Coriolanus," the editor cuts away to a reaction shot of Howard Keel? I'll bet good money that Hermes Pan's choreography had one of the gangsters kicking the other one in the butt, to emphasize Porter's pun, but the studio, fearing the censors, eliminated that move by employing the cutaway shot.


Ha-Ha !...Sorry, Preston. A slip of the comma there !

Good luck with sorting out your cable company. I’m sure it will be worth it.

Yes, I have always spotted the cut-away in that scene. I’m sure the intention was to cover up the “Anus” bit of Cole Porter’s lyric, hoping the Censor wouldn’t notice.

After all, many of Cole’s more racy lines from the original were excised from the movie altogether .......

“When your baby is pleading for pleasure, Let her sample your Measure for Measure”
“And if still she won’t give you a bonus, You know what Venus got from Adonis”
“Make her take it, what’s more As You Like It”
“Better mention The Merchant of Venice, when her sweet pound of flesh you would menace”
“If because of your heat she gets huffy, Simply play on and Lay on McDuffy”


Etc,etc,etc.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 2, 2014 - 6:12 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

"I'm sure the intention..." So you agree with me, because that's what I said, too. Glad to know I'm not the only eagle-eyed cineaste around here.

And thanks for the lyrics. One can never have too much Porter!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 2, 2014 - 6:23 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Absolutely agree, Preston!!! One can never get enough of Cole Porter.

And those pictures from the Proms are just wonderful!!

What makes Porter so great is that his lyrics are absolutely superbly witty and sophisticated, as well as racy - but never in a coarse way. And these are set to the most magnificent music, full of enharmonic modulations and many of them through-composed (for example, "I've Got you Under My Skin").

My favourite Porter is "Night and Day" and I especially love the Astaire/Rogers version from RKO's "Gay Divorcee". Another sublime Porter song is "Love For Sale". Oh, there are just so many.... we are spoilt for choice!!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 2, 2014 - 6:23 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Duplicated post!! I'm having increasing difficulty with this site, which is a very bad omen.

 
 Posted:   Sep 2, 2014 - 8:56 PM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)

Cole Porter’s songs are just perfect.

Great tunes & Great lyrics !

An album that I never get tired of is the soundtrack from “Evil Under the Sun”.

No lyrics here, but John Lanchberry does a superb job of arranging Porter’s music, which fits this 1930’s set, Agatha Christie whodunnit like a glove.

Particularly love Lanchberry’s clever use of “I’ve Got My Eyes on You” and “I Concentrate on You” for
Hercule Poirot’s sleuthing.

Hang on, I just have to start that playing on my iTunes ......Ahhh! Super!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 2, 2014 - 9:54 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

This seems to have strayed away from the OP, but can anyone tell me about the Conrad Salinger Orchestra? They must have been around when "Connie" was alive because this U-Tube link says their "That's Entertainment" was recorded in 1958 and "Connie" died in 1961.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS7zXDQeyRY

 
 Posted:   Sep 3, 2014 - 4:15 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

There never was any actual 'Conrad Salinger Orchestra'. It was a studio group, almost certainly the MGM SO. It's just the '...and his orchestra' phenomenon again for recording and broadcasting purposes.

On the other hand, there really IS a John Wilson Orchestra, that he hand-picked from all the UK's best orchestras, and they're all total enthusiasts who love that music, which is very demanding. That shows in their performances. It might also be a problem getting all these players together for any protracted US tour. He's excellent if you get to see him live, and he comes with the educator's particular gift.

One basic problem with classic film music's reputation in concert in the past is precisely that, either due to short rehearsal time or quick, cheap sessions, the excellence wasn't there.This led to the mantra by the know-it-all enthusiasts that, as if by some great law of physics, good reperformances just weren't possible. But they can be if the effort that goes in is proportionate to that which Hollywood could afford to build up over decades with big resources.

 
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