Friday, November 10, 2006

Number 6 - West Side Story

This is a truly revolutionary musical. Based on the book by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernsiten worte the music for this original stage musical which was made into a film in 1961 starring Natalie Wood. However, this film did to musicals what Shakespeare did to English literature. It reset the mould. Previously musicals had all been rather limp wristed affairs with standard tunes such as Oklahoma! and Showboat. Bernstien set the musical in the tough streets of the city rather than the rolling fields of rural USA. The dark side of the story was a lot darker than it had been before. Then there was the music. As I had said the music was all rather happy and standard rhythms previously. Bernstien changed this. Songs such as the Tonight Ensemble were rough and tough. America sung by the girls made great use of triplets in the score that hadn't been done before. There were a few traditional songs such as I Feel Pretty. However, the frequent use of the minor key in the musical just turned the musical on its head. It should never be underestimated how much this musical did for many of the musicals in the future and therefore has to be a top ten. Oh and it won 11 Oscars, so it can't be bad.

4 Comments:

Blogger 2Darts said...

Dude. When are you going to put my nomination for the fittest researcher? I've emailed it to you.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Lord Lucan said...

Yeah, need to talk to you about that one.

4:00 PM  
Blogger 2Tall said...

Respect. Now this is a musical (as are the others, but). An ex-girlfriend of mine (yes i have at some time dated) was the head of music at pimlico school and did this as a school performance. You can not pick anything more complex than this.

It's not only the changing time-signatures and the lage orchestral accompaniment. The score is very very clever. It's based upon the interval of a tritone - aka an augmented fourth or diminished fifth. The interval appears in virtually every piece. A true gem of a genius

6:01 PM  
Blogger Lord Lucan said...

You dark horse 2tall....knocking up the music teacher. Tut tut.

9:46 AM  

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