Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

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jbuck919
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Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:12 am

You will understand why I put this astonishing item on the music board if you are patient with the YouTube. Sedaka does abbreviate the Fantasie-Impromptu for the sake of the broadcast, which is no great sin, as it is not one of Chopin's greater compositions. (It still makes me think of the popular song "I'm always chasing rainbows.")


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by John F » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:43 am

Many of us who have no use for Sedaka pop songs know that he went to Juilliard, but he certainly managed to keep his fingers in practice, and that did surprise me.

However, despite what he claimed, he did not "represent the US" in the 1966 Tchaikovsky competition. The American prizewinners were Mischa Dichter, Edward Auer, and James Dick; Sedaka didn't compete even in the first stage. Interestingly, though, he's included in the index of "International piano competitions," with the annotation "no actual entry."
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Belle
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by Belle » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:08 am

Sedaka seems to have the most bizarre finger technique - they turn upwards and flare!! Never seen that before. It was a nice surprise to learn that he was, in fact, a "musician" (which is more than I can say about the industrial waste which passed for music via pop culture in the 50s). His singing and the type of songs he presented were, well, just embarrassing.

jserraglio
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by jserraglio » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:19 am

Indeed the '50's were an embarrassing cultural wasteland. Sinatra was an exception.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bL6Cj0zhaA

Last edited by jserraglio on Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

John F
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by John F » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:20 am

Looks a little like Horowitz:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxhbAGwEYGQ

I'll bet they didn't teach him that at Juilliard.
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by Lance » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:14 pm

Sinatra - ABSOLUTELY!
jserraglio wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:19 am
Indeed the '50's were an embarrassing cultural wasteland. Sinatra was an exception.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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maestrob
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by maestrob » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:45 pm

Lance wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:14 pm
Sinatra - ABSOLUTELY!
jserraglio wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:19 am
Indeed the '50's were an embarrassing cultural wasteland. Sinatra was an exception.
Strange to find Frank Sinatra as a topic on this board, yet I find "Only the Lonely" his best album, equal in artistic depth and vision to much of what we discuss here.

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jbuck919
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:27 pm

John F wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:20 am
Looks a little like Horowitz:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxhbAGwEYGQ

I'll bet they didn't teach him that at Juilliard.
Yes, Horowitz played the same way. Dear old Mrs. Troidle would not have approved.

As for Sinatra, I am sorry I veered the classical music board in that direction. He was not even good for Broadway musicals. He was originally considered for the male lead in Carousel and thankfully bowed out when he discovered that they intended to film it twice with different techniques. Gordon Macrae was greatly the better choice.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jserraglio
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by jserraglio » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:10 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:27 pm
I am sorry I veered the classical music board in that direction.
http://mostlysinatra.com/only-frank One of the greatest pop singers of the last century. I think his art transcended the narrow genre of the Broadway musical, even though he worshiped its songwriters.




Belle
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by Belle » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:37 pm

John F wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:20 am
Looks a little like Horowitz:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxhbAGwEYGQ

I'll bet they didn't teach him that at Juilliard.
It's funny you should say that: it's exactly what I was thinking too. Except that Horowitz caresses the keyboard. And didn't he take 'liberties' with the music!!!!??

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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by John F » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:53 am

Sinatra conducted - yes, conducted - an album of music by Alec Wilder in 1945, with a freelance ensemble of top New York players. I suppose that could make him more of a classical musician than Neil Sedaka.
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jserraglio
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by jserraglio » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:11 am

Pop, not classical, but this less celebrated gem of an album features the Hollywood String Quartet and this song "Blame It on My Youth," composed by Oscar Levant:



Frank Sinatra with the Hollywood String Quartet (1956)

Personnel: Frank Sinatra (vocals), Felix Slatkin, Paul Shure (violin), Eleanor Aller (cello), Alan Dinkin (viola), Nelson Riddle (arranger, conductor)

Album 'CLOSE TO YOU' (Capitol Records)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8af-Oo ... UtMtx_8Opv
Last edited by jserraglio on Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:25 am, edited 2 times in total.

John F
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by John F » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:19 am

Belle wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:37 pm
John F wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:20 am
Looks a little like Horowitz:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxhbAGwEYGQ

I'll bet they didn't teach him that at Juilliard.
It's funny you should say that: it's exactly what I was thinking too. Except that Horowitz caresses the keyboard. And didn't he take 'liberties' with the music!!!!??
It's a lovely, and I'm sure loving, performance of the Schubert, and Horowitz's touch does indeed look like caressing the keys. Liberties? I wouldn't say so. Now here's something a bit livelier, and the resemblance to Sedaka's technique is even closer. Start at 28:00.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAaZpfakRUM

Truly a living legend - Horowitz, not Sedaka. (Well, he was living 40 years ago. :) ) I love it that he pumps the air before tackling the coda with its bravura octaves at the end, and his cat-that-ate-the-canary grin during the ovation.
John Francis

Belle
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by Belle » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:52 am

Classical artist as popular singer:

Here's the very excellent Thomas Quasthoff in crossover and I must say it's a beautiful voice in this repertoire!! Actually I find it rather moving given the singer and his circumstances:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMQIZpwnwV8

jbuck919
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:59 am

Belle wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:52 am
Classical artist as popular singer:

Here's the very excellent Thomas Quasthoff in crossover and I must say it's a beautiful voice in this repertoire!! Actually I find it rather moving given the singer and his circumstances:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMQIZpwnwV8


I intended to post Gordon Macrae's famous movie performance of "If I loved you," but somehow, probably through my fault, it did not come across. As I have posted before, crossover only works one way.


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jserraglio
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by jserraglio » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:37 am


R Gifford
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by R Gifford » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:02 am

Carousel is my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein score. Aside from the film, I've seen it twice in local productions but I'm familiar with most recordings of the show and with numerous versions of various numbers. The suitability of an actor/singer for the Billy Bigelow role depends on how one views the character of Billy. Traditionally, big he-man type voices (Raitt, Ramey) are heard. Then there are the wholesome, boy-next-door voices (Macrae). I find both of these inappropriate as I see Billy as an immature loser who doesn't deserve a nice girl like Julie Jordan. Only a "queer one" would fall for him! My favorite interpreter of Billy Bigelow is, by far, Michael Hayden in the 1993/94 London/NYC productions (listen on UTube). Sinatra could have made a convincing Billy. Detractors forget Sinatra's abilities as an actor. They should give a look at The Man with the Golden Arm (filmed at about the same time as Carousel) where Sinatra portrays a weak-willed character. Furthermore, see the clip (UTube) of Sinatra and Shirley Jones doing "If I Loved You". As far as assuming a "Broadway" part, Sinatra's filmed performance in Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey should be proof enough that he could handle it. For a long time now performers on Broadway use microphones making strong voices and projection pretty much a thing of the past. In an interview regarding Carousel (UTube again) Shirley Jones tells of Sinatra's enthusiasm for the Bigelow part. At the same time Ava Gardner was filming Mogambo in Africa. Evidently Ava contacted Frank advising him to get to Africa in a hurry as she was about to have an affair with co-star Clark Gable. This was hardly an acceptable excuse to leave Carousel, but double-filming was a convenient one. (Obviously I've got to learn how to post UTubes. I don't know how to post record covers either!)

jbuck919
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:06 pm

It is true that modern miking has done away with the need for projecting Broadway voices like Mary Martin or Ethel Merman. Once, I attended a performance of South Pacific at the Meyerhoff Theater in Baltimore, and one would never have guessed that the excellent performance was miked. But then I accompanied a middle school group there for a classical performance and had to explain that the hanging microphones were strictly for recording purposes and that the performance was entirely acoustic.

Many people only remember the movie version of Favorite Things. In the play, it is actually a duet sung by Maria and the abbess.


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

maestrob
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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by maestrob » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:13 pm

Speaking of crossover.......

Nelson Riddle was IMHO the classiest arranger of popular songs in the business, as he proved in Sinatra's release of "Only the Lonely" in the early 1960's, and in his other work at the time with great pop stars of that age (see Rosemary Clooney, etc.). Riddle's last assignment was an album of Cole Porter songs with Dame Kiri Te Kanewa, which sold well, as the two worked very well together. I know because Riddle's nephew was a client of mine at the NYAC. Here's the cover:

Image

Exquisite and down-to-earth music-making!

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Re: Neil Sedaka as classical pianist

Post by Belle » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:48 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:59 am
Belle wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:52 am
Classical artist as popular singer:

Here's the very excellent Thomas Quasthoff in crossover and I must say it's a beautiful voice in this repertoire!! Actually I find it rather moving given the singer and his circumstances:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMQIZpwnwV8


I intended to post Gordon Macrae's famous movie performance of "If I loved you," but somehow, probably through my fault, it did not come across. As I have posted before, crossover only works one way.

I actually have that CD by Bryn Terfel as it was given to me as a gift. There's a beautiful song on it called "Come Home, Joe". When I was a drama teacher I had the students do a mime about a young soldier's funeral, with 'flashbacks', and that song played over the action. It was for an evening 'concert' for the parents.

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