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McHugh_9780199949274

The Lerner Letters: Part 2 – Lerner and Loewe

Amongst the many famous people Lerner corresponded with, Frederick Loewe is naturally the most important in terms of musical collaborators. Yet sadly, correspondence between Lerner and Loewe is quite rare. I found only a few letters between them during the course of the research for the book, and was particularly disappointed by the lack of letters from their early years.

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9780199863174 - Elvis Presley

Merry Elvis Christmas recollections

In celebration of the recently published biography, Elvis Presley: A Southern Life by Joel Williamson, I thought I would share some memories of Christmas past. In the 1970s we listened to Elvis on vinyl. Every December when it was time to decorate the tree you could hear the deep dulcet warbling of Elvis coming from the hi-fi.

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9780199915965

Top five Robert Altman films by sound

Director Robert Altman made more than thirty feature films and dozens of television episodes over the course of his career. The Altman retrospective currently showing at MoMA is a treasure trove for rediscovering Altman’s best known films (M*A*S*H, Nashville, Gosford Park) as well as introducing unreleased shorts and his little-known early work as a writer.

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Frozen and the Disney Princess Song

There are plenty of operas about teenage girls—love-sick, obsessed, hysterical teenage girls who dance, scheme, and murder in a frenzy of musical passion. Disney Princess films are also about teenage girls—lonely, skinny, logical teenage girls who follow their hearts because the plot gives them no other option. The music Disney Princesses sing can be divided into three periods that correspond to distinct animation styles

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Scoring loss across the multimedia universe

Well known is music’s power to stir the emotions; less well known is that the stirring of specific emotions can result from the use of very simple but still characteristic music. Consider the music that accompanies this sweet, sorrowful conclusion of pop culture’s latest cinematic saga.

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McHugh_9780199949274

The Lerner Letters: Part 1 – The Stars

One of the joys of editing the correspondence of Alan Jay Lerner has been discovering his letters to and from the major stars with whom he worked. As the lyricist, librettist, and screenwriter of Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, An American in Paris, My Fair Lady, Gigi, Camelot, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, and many more, he worked with the finest performers of his time.

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9780199394722 - Atlas of the World

Music from Scotland: a playlist

When one thinks of traditional Scottish music, one instrument usually comes to mind: the bagpipe. Although bagpipes are prominent in traditional music from Scotland, Scottish music branches far out beyond that. In light of Scotland receiving the title of Place of the Year for 2014, we’ve put together a brief playlist of music from Scotland, from chamber music to modern classical.

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In memoriam: Juan Flores

Oxford University Press is deeply saddened to report the passing of Juan Flores on 2 December 2014. Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and director of Latino Studies at New York University, he was one of the foremost voices in Latino Studies and an exceptionally inspiring and generous writer, teacher, and colleague.

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Bernstein-Meets-Broadway

Remembering the original On the Town during World War II

A stunning new production of On the Town, directed by John Rando, opened in October at the Lyric Theatre on Broadway. It transports a viewer back to the golden age of American musical theater, when highly skilled orchestras delivered a robust sound while extended segments of dance were central to telling the story.

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9780199777679

A Q&A with a Keytar player

I sat down with V.J. Manzo, author of Max/MSP/Jitter for Music: A Practical Guide to Developing Interactive Music Systems for Education and More and real-live Keytar player to get the inside scoop on one of the coolest electronic instruments on stage — the Keytar.

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9780199837144

Thank you: musicians recall special ways their parents helped them blossom

“My thanks to my parents is vast,” says Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboist with the Imani Winds woodwind quintet. “Without their help, I would never have become a musician.” Many professional musicians I’ve interviewed have responded as Ms. Spellman-Diaz did, saying that their parents helped in so many ways: from locating good music teachers, schools, and summer programs, to getting them to lessons, rehearsals and performances on time, while also figuring out how to pay for it all.

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9780199540884

Band Aid (an infographic)

On this day in 1984 musical aficionados from the worlds of pop and rock came together to record the iconic ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ single for Band Aid. The single has gone down in history as an example of the power of music to help right the wrongs in the world.

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