Searching through the debris and detritus of the television schedules for the second week in January I came across a jewel sparkling in the rubbish. On BBC4, “Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand” a complete compendium of delights with the songs of Jerome Kern, Ira and George Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein’s Showboat and Alan Jay Learner and Frederick Loewe’s My Fair Lady. This is my kind of music.
The celebrated New Yorker critic, Adam Gopnik puts it like this;
“— the almost incredible wealth and beauty of American popular music-from the blues, and Tin Pan Alley to jazz, R and B., country,rock and roll, and on to hip, hop and of its strange snaking unity. The great critic Kenneth Tynan once wrote that sometime in the nineteen thirties, the ‘serious’ music tradition finally withered, curled up and died”, and what took its place was American song.”
Brand explains how musical theatre changed in the 1920s from review style shows with music provided at intervals to a story told in music where the songs were an integral part of the drama. The first of these was Jerome Kern’s ‘Showboat’, which included the song,”Ol Man River” and “Can’t Help Lovin Dat Man of Mine “.
I have been a teacher and a lecturer for a number of years. I am married with two sons. I'm interested drama, films, TV, books, society in general, poverty and riches and political systems.
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