December 24, 2009 |
Bob Dylan's decision to put out a Christmas album this year caught a lot of people by surprise. It wasn't just that the preeminent songwriter of the rock era had chosen to record secular seasonal staples such as "Winter Wonderland" and "Here Comes Santa Claus" for his "Christmas in the Heart" collection. Equally intriguing was that the musician born Robert Zimmerman and raised in a Jewish household also included exceptionally sincere versions of such quintessentially Christian carols as "Hark!
April 22, 2009 |
Imagem Music Group, a Dutch music-publishing investment fund, has agreed to purchase the musical-theater catalog of Broadway giants Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. No purchase price was announced, but the Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, said the sale could bring in as much as $200 million. The deal gives Imagem licensing rights not only to such Rodgers and Hammerstein classics as "South Pacific," "Oklahoma!" and "The Sound of Music," but also to the works of more than 200 other writers, including Irving Berlin.
April 26, 2006 |
When asked where Irving Berlin ranked in American music, fellow giant Jerome Kern famously said, "Irving Berlin has no place in American music. He is American music." The enduring truth of Kern's assessment underpins the showbiz panache of "I Love a Piano," presented by Musical Theatre West. This delightful West Coast premiere of Ray Roderick and Michael Berkeley's salute to America's greatest tunesmith is as invigorating a song-catalog revue as any since "Ain't Misbehavin'."
January 21, 2006 |
Ben Sidran's appearance Thursday at the Skirball Center was titled "Jews, Music and the American Dream" and billed as a "concert with commentary." It was all that, and more. In fact, what might initially have appeared to be an intriguing, if not especially mesmerizing, social-science seminar turned out to be something closer to jazz, more like a spontaneous improvisation on a theme. Sidran is a well-regarded music world multi-hyphenate: jazz pianist, producer, songwriter, educator and author.
December 25, 2005 |
KATE SMITH turned "God Bless America" into such a clarion call for love of country in 1938 that efforts arose to have it replace "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem. But composer Irving Berlin, renowned for his patriotism, wouldn't have it. Instead he donated the song's copyright, a gesture that has contributed more than $10 million to the Boy and Girl Scouts of America.
November 30, 2005 |
It's a feel-good bonanza: The boys get the girls, the boys help out their old Army general and everyone gets infused with holiday spirit to the strains of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas." Such warmth of feeling is a key reason the 1954 movie "White Christmas" remains a seasonal staple and a fond part of many people's memories.