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Popular songs of 20th Century based on Tschaikovsky's music

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 thing.

Philip de Vos
20/06/2013 21:19

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? 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...

Albert Gasparo
22/06/2013 18:16

Antonio Garganese
23/06/2013 09:57

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 will note that the jazzed up version of The Nutcracker Suite by Duke Ellington is also goes to show that not everyone views these arrangements as negative..

Albert Gasparo
23/06/2013 23:08

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 piece.

Philip de Vos
(Cape Town, South Africa)
24/06/2013 08:00

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 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 background..

somewhat of a disappointment in that regard..

Albert Gasparo
25/06/2013 08:45

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
25/06/2013 14:33

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 Tchaikovsky.

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!

Antonio Garganese
27/06/2013 14:08

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 also was of an era long 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 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....

Albert Gasparo
02/07/2013 12:55

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