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Topic Options
#2197322 - 12/14/13 02:09 AM west side story
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4264
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
By chance, I listened on my radio to West Side Story ...
and was captivated in rehearing the Bernstein hits ...

Maria, America, Somewhere, Tonight, Jet Song,
I Feel Pretty, A Boy like That, One Hand, One Heart,
Gee Officer Krupke and Cool

My question to the motley is

Where does West Side Story fit into our musical history?

Is it considered a “classic” in the classical genre?

Regards, btb

PS Those stuffy shirts embroiled in Bach, Beethoven and Brahms
need to expand their vision ... and get with it ... “Cool”

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#2197327 - 12/14/13 02:29 AM Re: west side story [Re: btb]
pianorigami Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 405
Loc: United States
I wouldn't classify it as "classical," though I would call it a "classic." It has some hip elements to it, driven rhythms not found in classical music. However, the vocalists demonstrate a good technique, unlike other musicals such as Cabaret, which is written to sound more "normal."
"America" has some interesting percussion, though "Tonight" is seemingly straightforward. Does this answer any of your question? laugh
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Everyday is a great day.

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#2197344 - 12/14/13 04:10 AM Re: west side story [Re: btb]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4264
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Thanks for the response Origani chappie ...
but you can imagine my dismay to read a bland take
of the music to a 1961 Oscar winning movie as

“It has some hip elements to it, driven rhythms not found in classical music.
however, the vocalists demonstrate a good technique,
unlike other musicals such as Cabaret,
which is written to sound more "normal."
"America" has some interesting percussion,
though "Tonight" is seemingly straightforward. ”

Ouch!! ... what a miscue!!

It was my hope to share an opinion of West Side Story
meeting the conditions of a truly “classical” genre.

regards, btb

PS West Side Story won 10 Oscar awards in 1961
including Best Picture.

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#2197346 - 12/14/13 04:25 AM Re: west side story [Re: btb]
bennevis Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 8970
West Side Story is a classic (and classical) musical.

Where else would you find a tritone (diabolus in musica) in a seductive love song? grin
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2197370 - 12/14/13 07:15 AM Re: west side story [Re: btb]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8825
Originally Posted By: btb
By chance, I listened on my radio to West Side Story ...
and was captivated in rehearing the Bernstein hits ...

Maria, America, Somewhere, Tonight, Jet Song,
I Feel Pretty, A Boy like That, One Hand, One Heart,
Gee Officer Krupke and Cool

My question to the motley is

Where does West Side Story fit into our musical history?

Is it considered a “classic” in the classical genre?

Regards, btb

PS Those stuffy shirts embroiled in Bach, Beethoven and Brahms
need to expand their vision ... and get with it ... “Cool”


Why start a thread about non-piano, non-classical stuff in the classical piano forum at PianoWorld?

Oh, never mind, I already know the answer - it's "because I can".

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#2197401 - 12/14/13 09:22 AM Re: west side story [Re: btb]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4264
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Please wr ... read the small print ... the whole idea of the issue was to test the premise in the adult Piano Forum.

If the thought is anathema ... take a powder and move on to
better things.

regards, btb

PS Thanks bennevis for your support of West Side Story.


Edited by btb (12/14/13 09:24 AM)

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#2197411 - 12/14/13 09:50 AM Re: west side story [Re: btb]
Anne'sson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/12
Posts: 195
Loc: El Paso, TX
I would vote for "classical." The complexity of rhythms and orchestration in the score are far beyond the norm for Broadway musicals. Check out the recording of the Four Symphonic Dances from Westside Story, with the New York Philharmonic conducted by the composer.
_________________________
Anne'sson
El Paso, TX

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#2197427 - 12/14/13 10:33 AM Re: west side story [Re: btb]
Carey Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 8087
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Wonderful article about West Side Story in Wikipedia......

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Side_Story

Apparently Bernstein wrote the score concurrently with Candide - and at least one critic stated that the production set a new course for American musical theater.

I remember (yes I'm that old) that the original broadway show was criticized for "glorifying" gangs....but we seem to have gotten past all that.

As for the "classical" aspect, I think of WSS as more of an "opera" than a musical - much like Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. But I'm sure some folks will disagree with me........

Interesting that WSS lost the best musical Tony Award in 1957 to "The Music Man." ha
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Kawai CA-65
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2197435 - 12/14/13 11:07 AM Re: west side story [Re: btb]
BruceD Online   content

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 20227
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: btb
[...]
PS West Side Story won 10 Oscar awards in 1961
including Best Picture.


I hope that you're not judging the value of the work on the fact that the movie version won ten Oscars. More than half the awards give to West Side Story movie were awarded for categories not related to the original musical.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2197490 - 12/14/13 12:34 PM Re: west side story [Re: btb]
pianorigami Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 405
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: btb
Thanks for the response Origani chappie ...
but you can imagine my dismay to read a bland take
of the music to a 1961 Oscar winning movie as

“It has some hip elements to it, driven rhythms not found in classical music.
however, the vocalists demonstrate a good technique,
unlike other musicals such as Cabaret,
which is written to sound more "normal."
"America" has some interesting percussion,
though "Tonight" is seemingly straightforward. ”

Ouch!! ... what a miscue!!

It was my hope to share an opinion of West Side Story
meeting the conditions of a truly “classical” genre.

regards, btb

PS West Side Story won 10 Oscar awards in 1961
including Best Picture.

I think you may have misrepresented my feelings about the musical, granted I didn't make them very clear.
I LOVE WWS- it's a beautiful musical with moving music, drive, love, and power. I just don't think it's "classical."
_________________________
Everyday is a great day.

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#2197634 - 12/14/13 05:55 PM Re: west side story [Re: btb]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 24767
Loc: Oakland
I think the American musical comedy is a classical form by now.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2197783 - 12/14/13 11:41 PM Re: west side story [Re: btb]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4264
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Thanks chaps for the responses ... it would appear that,
if a musical work reaches "classical" status, it gets a mention in IMSLP ... that's where we can find Gershwin.

regards btb

PS The snow seems to have iced BruceD's noggin ... imagine saying

"hope that you're not judging the value of the work on the fact that the movie version won ten Oscars. More than half the awards give to West Side Story movie were awarded for categories not related to the original musical."

According to my info West Side Story won 10 of the 11 Oscars awarded that year.

regards, btb



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#2197810 - 12/15/13 02:04 AM Re: west side story [Re: btb]
BruceD Online   content

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 20227
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: btb
Thanks chaps for the responses ... it would appear that,
if a musical work reaches "classical" status, it gets a mention in IMSLP ... that's where we can find Gershwin.

regards btb

PS The snow seems to have iced BruceD's noggin ... imagine saying

"hope that you're not judging the value of the work on the fact that the movie version won ten Oscars. More than half the awards give to West Side Story movie were awarded for categories not related to the original musical."

According to my info West Side Story won 10 of the 11 Oscars awarded that year.

regards, btb



Snow? What snow? There's no snow here. What? Did your marmalade not gel?

I thought we were talking about "West Side Story" the "classic" American musical, not the film made from the musical. Just to repeat : six of the Academy Awards for the film were awards directly related to various aspects of the film industry and had nothing to do with the original version of the musical. So how you can say it was a great musical because it won ten Oscars doesn't wash.
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2197872 - 12/15/13 08:45 AM Re: west side story [Re: btb]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8825
Originally Posted By: btb
Please wr ... read the small print ... the whole idea of the issue was to test the premise in the adult Piano Forum.

If the thought is anathema ... take a powder and move on to
better things.



I understood "the small print". And it still remains true that the musical isn't piano music, nor, IMO, classical music.

And the thought isn't anathema, it's merely dumb. WSS may be a great musical, but there's nothing about it that makes it "classical", since the creators didn't conceive of it that way. They were bringing some artsy ideas to Broadway, not the other way around.

What might possibly be "classical", albeit of a rather "lite" variety suitable for pops concerts, is the orchestral suite Bernstein made from it.

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