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Music — Instruction and Study
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Prokofiev [electronic resource]: The Prodigal Son

Here is a breathtaking portrait of one of the 20th century's musical giants, a man who sought to stand aloof from the turbulent events of his time only to be swallowed up and crushed by them. The program offers superb performances of judicious selections of his works, from the barely-known products of his childhood through the canon of his famous works, from solo piano and vocal pieces to orchestral and ballet selections; it also interweaves stills and biographical reenactments with archival footage of the fateful times through which he lived. The questions this program raises about the relationship between Prokofiev's sources, his goals as an individual and a musician, and his musical achievements will inevitably lead to a more thorough examination of his work.

Broadway Goes Hollywood [electronic resource]: Musical Comedy in American Cinema

Beginning with the release of The Jazz Singer in 1927, this program provides a detailed look inside that most distinctly American of film traditions, the musical comedy. Interviews with dancer Cyd Charisse, famous for her starring roles in MGM musicals, and Hermes Pan, renowned choreographer and collaborator with Fred Astaire, help to illuminate the advent and evolution of the genre. Excerpts and behind-the-scenes accounts from Singin' in the Rain, 42nd Street, Second Chorus, Flying Down to Rio, The Wizard of Oz, and many other films are included. Specific topics include the impact of the Hays Code, the influence of African-American dance styles, and the decline of the musical during the 1960s.
2009; 2008

An Introduction to Composing [electronic resource]

How do musicians find the inspiration to create? Do most songwriters come up with lyrics first, or music? What does it mean to be a composer in today's high-tech world? This program addresses questions young people may have about embarking on a career in music or musical composition. Focusing on current styles like rock, techno, and hip-hop, the video includes interviews with a classically trained composer as well as artists in other genres. Subjects include pitch, tempo, notation, lyric sheets, theme and variation, melody, harmony, texture, song structure, the use of computers, collaboration, and working as a solo artist.

The Young Composers Challenge [electronic resource]

Witness the drama of a spelling bee combined with the spectacle of concert music! This film features five teenaged composers racing the calendar for the chance to have their original work performed by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. Viewers meet composer and philanthropist Stephen Goldman, whose passion for music has led him to create a unique opportunity for young classical composers. From a free workshop on composition to thrilling performances before a live audience, Goldman's challenge narrows down the group to a handful of gifted, driven teens who must transform their ideas into professionally scored music in six months. Each faces personal obstacles - from relationship dilemmas to visual disability to distractions from other art forms - as they struggle through the creative [...]

Pas de Deux [electronic resource]

The pas de deux is used in ballet to describe a duet and can be seen in a wide variety of unforgettable productions, including the The Nutcracker and Don Quixote. Norman McLaren takes a look at the choreography of ballet, with cinematic effects that are all you would expect from this master of improvisation in music and illustration. By exposing the same frames as many as ten times, the artist creates a multiple image of the ballerina and her partner (Margaret Mercier and Vincent Warren). A bare, black stage and back-lit figures, plus the remote, airy music of panpipes, produce a quiet detachment.

Of Love, Death, and Beyond [electronic resource]: Exploring Mahler's Resurrection Symphony

What is this life-and this death? Gustav Mahler famously asked when composing his second symphony. Does consciousness "continue" on a higher cosmic level, he wondered, or is it "only an empty dream?" Narrated by renowned baritone Thomas Hampson, this film explores the musical, biographical, and philosophical background of the monumental work. Viewers are treated to beautifully produced historical reenactments as well as interviews with many of the world's most respected Mahler scholars and biographers, including Henry-Louis de La Grange, Donald Mitchell, Morten Solvik, and others. Philosopher Martha Nussbaum and theologians Catherine Keller and Neil Gillman also add their insights. Woven throughout is a critically acclaimed performance of the symphony featuring members of the New Yor [...]
2011; 2013

Listening for Clues [electronic resource]: Marsalis on Form

A series for young people of our time, it embraces classical music as well as jazz. After each performance, Marsalis illuminates the music in terms that everyone can understand, using language that is clear and simple, and infused with the colourful vernacular of jazz. Musical performances include The Nutcracker, Prokofiev's Classical symphony, Stars and Stripes forever, and more.

Sousa to Satchmo [electronic resource]: Marsalis on the Jazz Band

A series for young people of our time, it embraces classical music as well as jazz. After each performance, Marsalis illuminates the music in terms that everyone can understand, using language that is clear and simple, and infused with the colourful vernacular of Jazz. In this program Wynton Marsalis shows how New Orleans jazz evolved from classical music through the influence of John Philip Sousa, Scott Joplin and Louis Armstrong.

Why Toes Tap [electronic resource]: Marsalis on Rhythm

Using two versions of The Nutcracker (Tchaikovsky's and Duke Ellington's jazz arrangement), Wynton demonstrates how composers use rhythm to express a wide variety of emotions.

Tackling the Monster [electronic resource]: Marsalis on Practice

Marsalis and Yo-yo Ma discuss practicing: both admit to hating it and offer tips on making this necessary evil tolerable. They introduce Marsalis' 12-point strategy for effective practice of a new or difficult piece of music. Together, they play a jazz improvisation and finish with a duet of Duke Ellington's "Mood indigo."

The Clarinet [electronic resource]

This program shows how the German-system clarinet's unique sound and wide range of musical expression assured it a place in chamber music ensembles and in the orchestra itself. Beginning at the 18th-century workshop where it was created, we see how it was constructed, and how it has evolved over time. Its musical history is illustrated through extracts from works by several famous composers, including Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart.
2007; 1997

The Essence of an Instrument [electronic resource]

This program is devoted to analyzing the essential features required in any instrument if a usable musical sound is to be produced. The first requirement is for a device that will produce regularity of pressure change, whether a vibration or wobble, a rotation (like the wheel of a siren), vibration of air in pipes, or tightly stretched strings, or more or less flat plates, or hollow vessels like bells. The program examines how energy can be provided to produce a continuous note, how sound can be amplified, how amplification changes the quality of sound, and the consequences for music produced by synthesizers and computers.
2007; 1989

The Flute [electronic resource]

This program deals with the history and development of the metal instrument we know today as the transverse flute. We learn how the flute was popularized by French flautist Jacques Hotterre, son of its creator, Jean Hotterre, at the court of Louis XIV. We see how continuing improvements to the instrument over time increased its use, until it became a key instrument in modern orchestras. Flute performances from works by Lully, Frederick the Great, Beethoven, and Debussy are interspersed throughout the program, along with concertos for recorders by Vivaldi and Telemann.
2007; 1997

The Guitar [electronic resource]

The guitar is the national instrument of Spain, so it is appropriate that this program begins with the playing of the traditional vihuela. The story of the instrument's development over the next 400 years includes its replacement of that universal Renaissance instrument, the lute, in both Spain and Italy. Both guitar solo performances and guitar performances with voice appear throughout the program, including one of the last public performances of famed classical Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia.
2007; 1997

The Harp [electronic resource]

This program discusses the development of this ethereal instrument in 8th-century Ireland. We see how Irish monks introduced the harp to Europe, and follow its growth from a small, hand-held instrument into the standard 75-pound, 46-string instrument played today. Works by Handel, Mozart, Liszt, and Debussy, as well as music from Ireland and Switzerland, illustrate the harp's use through time.
2007; 1997

The Oboe [electronic resource]

The modern version of the oboe and the many forms it has taken during its evolution are the subject of this program. We see the oboe's ancient Egyptian ancestor-an unrecognizable prototype of the instrument played today. The more familiar-looking oboe, developed in the 17th century, is discussed within the context of its predecessors-the English horn, the heckelphone, and the contra bassoon. Works from Lully to Strauss illustrate the oboe's versatility in musical composition.
2007; 1997

The Organ [electronic resource]

Pipe organs are the most majestic of musical instruments, and each one is a unique work of art named after its designer. This program studies the painstaking craftsmanship in wood and metal that goes into pipe organ construction and illustrates the function of the instrument's many parts. The voicing process, in which the volume and tonal quality of a pipe organ is adjusted to suit the acoustics of its location, is also explained. Generous musical samples, included to illustrate the range and effects of pipe organs, are performed on both historical and modern instruments.
2007; 1997

The Piano [electronic resource]: King of Instruments

No other instrument has been as important to the history of Western music as the piano. Since its invention in Florence three hundred years ago, the piano has become many things to many people-a bridge between the worlds of classical and popular music and the ultimate composer's companion. This program traces the ancestry of the instrument and the history of those composers who championed its use. From the concert hall to nightclubs and living rooms, the piano has become the instrument of choice throughout the Western world.
2006; 1999

The Piano [electronic resource]

In 1701, Bartolomeo Christofori, a musician employed by the Medicis, invented the first piano by modifying a harpsichord. This program discusses how this popular instrument has changed over the years (except for its hammers), and how its flexibility and expressiveness have inspired composers such as Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, and Bartok.
2007; 1997

The Saxophone [electronic resource]

This program traces the saxophone from its early use in French military bands, to orchestrations by 20th-century Impressionist composers, to American jazz bands. It also looks at the fascinating character of its creator, Adolphe Sax, whose genius is evident in a series of other absurd wind instruments that he dreamed up. Film footage of live jazz performances by the Duke Ellington Band and the World Saxophone Quartet illustrates the instrument's use in that musical genre.
2007; 1997