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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great American Compsers: Ives, Copland, Cage....Stalling???, May 24, 2001
This review is from: The Carl Stalling Project: Music From Warner Bros. Cartoons, 1936-1958 (Audio CD)
In 1990 Warner Bros. released, “The Carl Stalling Project: Music From Warner Bros. Cartoons 1936-1958” and the world rejoiced. Well perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration but its safe to say that this long overdue tribute goes a long way in finally raising Stalling to his rightful position as one of the great American composers of the 20th century. This CD was an unlikely gift from Warner Bros. not because of Stalling’s lack of notoriety, on the contrary, Stalling has an ever-growing and loyal fan base It has more to do with the very nature of cartoon music itself. The rapid pace of animation with its constant bombardment of action, storm and stress, and story twists makes cartoon scores very unique in their conception and form. Stripping away the visual aspect of Carl Stalling’s work allows the audience a whole new perspective on Stalling genius. Stalling was a revolutionary in his use of rhythm. Every cue he ever wrote was a complex structure of timings, webbed together to create atmosphere that was pure comedic silliness. The format for which he wrote allowed him to break free from traditional musical form and convention and thus his music was unique to anything else that came before it. In the early days of Warner Bros., Stalling’s gift for timing materialized with his invention of the tick system, one which is still used by composers today to keep orchestra members synchronized with the picture. The beauty of this CD is that it allows one to immediately recognize the plethora of wondrous nuances that characterized Stalling’s style. While Carl drew from contemporaries including, Raymond Scott, Ellington and others, his voice was unmistakably different. His daring use of the orchestra is a prime example. Stalling wasn’t afraid to use a huge fifty piece orchestra playing fortissimo for one second and then all of a sudden have solo flute playing at a barely audible level the next. His ability to build drama and tension in this way was unparalleled, just one listen to his score for he Turntale Wolf is enough to make you laugh, jump and gasp, just due to the arrangement. Yet another great element to this CD is the insert that comes with it. Yeah it might be a bit superficial and silly but this tiny little booklet of sorts contains sketches, manuscripts, collages of scripts, liner notes from several different producers, photographs of the Warner Bros. sessions, and much more. However, if you’re looking for a less material reason to check out this CD, the way in which the music was put together is probably unlike any recording you have ever heard. Many of the tracks are intimate session recordings where you can actually hear Stalling giving out orders, calling on stops, and even making one or two cynical remarks about the musicians. While I wouldn’t all together call it educational, it is certainly interesting, if not amusing. I wish I could go on forever about this CD and the man behind it. Film music is particularly important to my life as I hope to one day be a film composer myself. Bernard Herrmann, Danny Elfman, Howard Shore, Jerry Goldsmith; these are all musicians which I hold high on a pedestal but Carl Stalling holds a special place in my heart. It was this man’s music that made up my first musical memories, and in a very real sense he was my first musical influence ever. Its difficult to come to terms with the fact that Stalling will never join the ranks of his peers, Ives, Cage, and Copland. For he, just as these other American visionaries, helped defined our nation’s musical voice and style. I mean jeez, the least you could do is buy the friggen CD!!.......With all honesty and sincerity, you won’t regret it. -- Jesse M. Switzer
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 8, 2011 6:29:38 PM PDT
Aaron Colpand is one of my 5 most favorite composers,
and Danny Elfman my favorite film composer.
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