I think that Hollywood has done Tchaikovsky a great disservice by
writing lyrics for some of his best known melodies. Unfortunately I have
heard a few of these and every time I hear his First Piano Conerto, his
Romeo and Juliet Overture or the Waltz from the Sleeping Beauty I mentally
try and blot out the words which I have heard.
So the best thing would be never to listen to any of these unless of
course one prefers to hear Kathryn Grayson's awful rendering of
Tchaikovsky's waltz from his Serenade for Strings instead of the real
Philip de Vos
This kind of thing was more popular in the forties but surely with the
advent of Rock and Roll (Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones etc)...all
connection of the pop field with classical music was broken off....since I
never listen to pop music I havent had any experience such as
yours...question , why do you bother to listen to pop music if you love
the classics?....as for Grayson some people as I do find her singing
attractive...but this was of the distant past....the words to these songs
I admit is often silly....if you scroll back a bit on our Forum you will
find several entries on this subject usually of a positive nature...or at
least neutral....and lastly all of this was so long ago I'm surprised
people even remember it...
Tchaikovsky Forum :
Pop Songs based on Tchaikovsky's music
To continue the conversation on this issue here is the other half of
the discourse on the subject as posted on the Forum..you will note that
the jazzed up version of The Nutcracker Suite by Duke Ellington is also
mentioned...it goes to show that not everyone views these arrangements as
In answer to Albert Gasparo's question: I haven't had any experience
such as yours...question , why do you bother to listen to pop music if you
love the classics?
Yes, I do love the classical composers - Mozart is my favourite
composer and I have even written a novella (TRAZOM 1993) about him in the
Afrikaans language. and last year I wrote a 13 episode series of 50
minutes each: "Mozart, the Music and the Man" which was broadcast on a
local radio service.
My interest in Tchaikovsky only started recently when I wrote a similar
series: "Tchaikovsky, the Music and the Man."
I cannot see why one cannot listen to both classical and light music. I
love the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein and because I am of an earlier
era the music of Patti Page, the Andrews Sisters. Frankie Laine, Elvis and
others of the 1940's to the 1960's still give me great pleasure.
As for Kathleen Grayson, I still remember her performance in Show Boat
with great fondness, but for me she did spoil Tchaikovsky's Serenade for
Strings in Anchors Aweigh (1945) forever and I will always regret
listening to this music clip on Youtube.
Question: How does one separate the words from the music? Unfortunately
I can't personally. When I hear Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours I will
forever hear: "Hello Father, hello Mother" and even Lucy of Peanuts fame
spoiled Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata for me, because in a musical based on
the cartoon strip she decided to make up words for this famous piano
Philip de Vos
(Cape Town, South Africa)
The first entry of Mr. Garganese features one of the two discussions we
have had on the Forum regarding Tchaikovky tunes being rendered into pop
song....his second entry features the history of the Dracula character be
it in theatre or film and the various actors who have played this role
since its inception as a performed piece focusing on the actor Bela Lugosi
the most famous of his impersonators...music wise we only have in this 35
minute movie snippets of the start of the most famous theme of Swan
Lake...but the theme is not played in full...other bits from other
composers appear as well....this was a movie on Dracula and his various
fortunes on stage and screen, the music part plays a small role in the
somewhat of a disappointment in that regard..
I think that Mr. Gasparo is actually misunderstanding my objection. It
is not about modernization of Tchaikovsky's music. It is about adding
WORDS to well known melodies.
Being a published writer and poet I am very much geared towards words -
and adding lyrics to Tchaikovsky's music spoils it for me personally.
I actually love Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite , but as his is
purely orchestral, although in the jazz idiom, there is no distraction of
words to spoil my enjoyment of hearing Tchaikovsky's melodies.
Philip de Vos
I reported the use very unusual of "Swan Lake" in the movie "Dracula"
(1931), because it is a famous case of "vulgarization" of the music of
The theme of the second act of the ballet is that of the opening
credits and also of the cartel of the end, with abbreviations of the
musical phrases. Unfortunately on Youtube was present, but was then
removed for copyright. On Youtube, currentlyappears only the documentary,
which I linked, and begins with a quote from this use made of the music of
Tchaikovsky. A curiosity: nothing else. In the documentary-as noted by Mr.
Gasparo-are used other tracks (Saint-Saens: Danse Macabre and Carnival of
the Animals). Instead, in the film also Schubert and Wagner:
Philip Glass in 1999 has created a new music as the soundtrack.
On YT are now also 10 clips with the film in HD (original English), but
not the titles.
I think that if Tchaikovsky had he lived in the twentieth century, he
would have written for Hollywood, and Disney!
As per Mr. de Vos....people have the right to add words to Tchaikovsky
music...I see nothing wrong or objectionable about this...this is the
world of the pop field which is not to be taken seriously...dont expect
any literary masterpieces..it also was of an era long past...as for Rogers
and Hammerstein this is something of a higher tho facile order...bear in
mind that I live in New York, the cultural capital of America and the
place of origin of the musical..so all of this is all to familiar to
me...I still prefer Wagner or Mozart....the world of pop music be it
musical or otherwise is to me emotionally and artistically
shallow...however people have to right to enjoy what they wish....