Conductors and Composers of Popular Orchestral Music: A Biographical and Discographical Sourcebook

Conductors and Composers of Popular Orchestral Music: A Biographical and Discographical Sourcebook

Conductors and Composers of Popular Orchestral Music: A Biographical and Discographical Sourcebook

Conductors and Composers of Popular Orchestral Music: A Biographical and Discographical Sourcebook

Synopsis

Worldwide in scope and covering the second half of the 20th century, this work provides biographies and discographies of some 500 conductors and composers in many aspects of light and popular orchestral music, including film, show, theatre, and mood music. This is the first time the lives and recordings of such artists as Kostelanetz, Faith, Gould, as well as the orchestral recordings of such great popular composers as Gershwin, Kern, Porter, Rodgers, Berlin, and Coward, have been adequately documented and consolidated in an encyclopedic fashion. Almost 5,000 records and CDs are listed. Of interest to scholars, students, disc jockeys, record and CD collectors, film music buffs, and mood and production music enthusiasts.

Popular orchestral music has been a neglected and often erroneously perceived and misunderstood genre in the 20th century. It has certainly not received the attention that it deserves and seems to be viewed as a Cinderella in relation to classical music and jazz. The genre, especially in the last 50 years, has been graced by exceptionally fine and highly esteemed conductors and arrangers, and also by a large number of highly regarded composers.

Excerpt

In many respects, popular orchestral music can be considered the Cinderella of the music scene. It is rarely taken seriously, yet appeals to millions who seldom realize that it is a clearly distinguishable art form in its own right. It is a sad fact that musical snobbery still exists to an astonishing degree and, for some inexplicable reason, popular orchestral music is often on the receiving end of such bigotry.

Perhaps one reason is that many so-called classical composers have, at times, written music that might be considered part of the light and popular music repertoire. This particular aspect of their work would be regarded as something akin to worthless by those musical elitists who seem to think it criminal to write music that can be appreciated by the masses. Light music could be described as ‘serious music that is approachable’; in other words, it can be enjoyed for what it is, rather than endured, the lasting impression created by some of the more obscure classical works.

By now, you will have realized that I have an axe to grind and it is simply this: music in all its forms is to be enjoyed by us all and none of us should feel ashamed, or indeed guilty, if our choice of listening pleasure fails to meet with the approval of others. It is self-destructive to suggest that a particular type of music is beneath one’s dignity. It is equally astonishing that anyone could state that a particular style of music was the only kind to be enjoyed, to the exclusion of others. a highly respected critic (respected, that is, by his own blinkered colleagues), recently admitted that he knew little of the works of George Gershwin. Such an attitude can only . . .

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