Music: February 2006 Archives

West Side Story

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I've just been watching, again, the BBC documentary that recorded the creation of the 1984 Leonard Bernstein conducted "operatic" version of West Side Story. It was on BBC Four a few weeks ago, and I'd not watched it since it was first shown in 1985.

It's a fantastically interesting document of the wonderful musical's first full recording, since soundtrack albums until that point, had been cut to fit on a single LP. I remember listening to dad's LP of the musical many times on our "music centre". After the documentary was shown, mum went out and bought this new version on cassette. I made cassette to cassette copies for myself. Since the book was reproduced in full in the accompanying booklet, I was able to sing along to my heart's content!

But the music aside (and I do have some issues with the over operatic renditions in a couple of places), the most remarkable thing about Humphrey Burton's film is the candid record of Bernstein working with his scratch orchestra and his tough love approach to getting what he wanted. In particular, Jose Carreras doesn't get an easy ride.

I don't own this version on CD, so I feel a trip to a music shop coming on soon. It's just a shame that the DVD of this documentary that's available from Deutsche Gramaphone isn't quite as good as it might be, being a NTSC transfer rather than PAL.

Smash Hits Is Dead

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So Smash Hits is no more. What a shame. Where will be without Smash Hits editorial alumni like Neil Tennant, Mark Frith and, er, Kate Thornton. Ah, those happy days I spent memorising the lyrics to Baggy Trousers and Shuddupa Your Face from its hallowed pages. The free badges on the cover.

But it does make me wonder what kids who are into pop music are reading now. Is it really all online? Or is it different kinds of magazines?

I was in a local grocery store the other day and the middle aged woman in front of me was buying some food with her son, who was, I'd guess, around ten. Then he went over and picked up a copy of Nuts which she duly bought. This particular issue featured a topless photo of 'Chantelle' on the cover with a tiny text-box covering her nipples. Now call me an old prude if you like, but is this what kids are encouraged to read by their parents? At the very least, they ought to be sneaking out and buying this stuff without their mum seeing they've got it. Perhaps I should be pleased that the child's obviously reading something. I'm scared to think that his family spend their evenings sat around the telly watching the latest free striptease DVD covermounted on Loaded or Maxim too.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Music category from February 2006.

Music: January 2006 is the previous archive.

Music: March 2006 is the next archive.

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