Academic journal article Notes

Broadway and Hollywood Legends: The Songwriters Collection

Academic journal article Notes

Broadway and Hollywood Legends: The Songwriters Collection

Article excerpt

Broadway and Hollywood Legends: The Songwriters Collection. Charles Strouse and Arthur Schwartz; Kander & Ebb and Alan Jay Lerner; Burton Lane and Mhchell Parish; E. Y. "Yip" Harburg and Sheldon Harnick. 4 vols. DVD. [United States]: Lance Entertainment, Inc., 2005. LAN8041. $49.99.

In this collection of DVDs, we have a rare opportunity to view performances of lyricists and composers while actually discussing the origin and inspiration of some of their own better-known works. Here, through personal recollection and primary source interpretation, we can appreciate first-hand the charm, sense of humor, and personality of each individual songwriter, and what has made them uniquely gifted in their craft.

This is an excellent source of archival video documentation (from the 1970s and 1980s) that was compiled from the Lyrics and Lyricists series at Manhattan's 92nd Street Y, a performance series that continues to run today. The concert series was founded in the early 1970s by legendary lyricist Yip Harburg who wrote the songs "Old Devil Moon," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "April in Paris," "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?," and "Over the Rainbow," to name a few. The setting is a simple stage, pleasantly lit, with three or four handpicked professional performers along with a professional pianist, and the lyricist or composer narrating. The entire collection of performances illustrates a beautiful quote of Marburg's: "Lyrics give destination to a song. Music gives wings to the lyrics."

This set of DVDs includes an approximately fifty-minute segment on each of the featured songwriters. …

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