View Full Version : Questions: 1930s-40s music: classical? mood? French? Latin?
01-06-2007, 09:35 PM
...looking to learn more besides swing, blues & hillbilly.
Saw the NBC orch thread, looks good, gonna have to look for those.
Would love to learn more of golden era classical. I passed up probably hundreds of thousands of classical 78s over the years without even looking. Right now all I know is I like the more meladramatic style of Leopold Stokowski's recordings of Tchaikovsky's works from the 30s-40s better than the modern, more "understated" renditions. And I like a lot of the 30s-40s drama movie music. Reccomendations along those lines?
Also, "generic production music" like the kind heard on the 1939 full day broadcast - "background mood music" of the 30s-40s, which might have been used either by itself, or as a backdrop for radio theatre - has this been collected anywhere? Availability?
How about French vocalists? There was a car commercial a few years back with some 30s female French vocalist (not that famous one, someone else), that was Just Too Cool, anyone know anything - names, resources, etc - about the popular non-comic French female vocalists of the 30s-40s?
LATIN music was popular too wasn't it? It sure shows up in the movies a lot. But the only one I distinctly remember seeing lots of records of was Xavier Cugat. Anyone have reccomendations of popular Latin music of the era? Availability?
- C H
01-06-2007, 09:42 PM
You can find plenty of production music over here:
A few instructions though - The site asks you to log in, but there's an "Enter As Guest" option. Once there, go to Styles and browse away!
And as for french vocalists I can only remember Ir?Šne De Trebert
01-06-2007, 09:52 PM
The classical age in the 1930's to 40's was very,very active.You can choose from among thousands of recordings on either 78 or CD.The range of genre is endless.If you like Stokie,then his recordings with the Philadelphia Orchestra are a delight as well as his guest recordings with other ensembles.Which composers do you like?
For classical/soundtracks,try Korngold,Bax and Gershwin.All have released recordings from then.
Right now i'm burning to my iPod some violin and piano music from cylinders recorded 1901 to 1935.
My absolute favourite recording from the 30's to 40's in my collection is this:
If this set were 33's or 78's,they would have been worn years ago.I listen to this set at least once a month and have done so for the 15 years since the set was released.It is the best Rachmaninov one can get from the master himself.Recorded 1919 to 1941.
Just a few tidbits.As you can tell,i ADORE this subject.This has been my main love for over 25 years!
01-07-2007, 08:13 AM
The recorded library music heard in the WJSV 1939 broadcast day all came from the World Broadcasting System transcription library -- and original discs from this library often show up on eBay. There have also been occasional CD issues of tunes from these libraries -- generally stuff recorded by name bands operating incognito. Many popular bands would make a quick buck by recording for transcription services under false names, including the likes of Benny Goodman, Glen Gray, Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw, and others.
Transcription libraries included all sorts of music -- dance bands, western music, military bands, concert artists, semi-classical ensembles, and even full symphony orchestras. The discs remain quite common -- and quite inexpensive -- today. If you have access to a 16-inch turntable, they're an interesting way to amass a broad collection of vintage-era music!
01-07-2007, 08:26 PM
I just found this amazing site:
A collection of 78's that cover from Enrico Caruso records from the early 1900's to some early postwar german dance music... and you can listen all of it!
It's in german, but easy to navigate.
01-29-2007, 08:44 PM
The famous French singer from the 1940s is Edith Piaf. She is amazing and even sings about prostitutes, sailors with arms full of tattoos, clowns, and other lowlifes. When she was playing in LA in the late 1940s, one of my father's schoolmates in music graduate school at USC was her bandleader and was afraid to admit it to his colleagues lest it be seen as declasse. If you like her sound, you might like some German stuff of the same style. Marlene Dietrich is superb. All of the Threepenny Opera recordings from that period are very interesting as well. This was a long operetta by Kurt Weill with Bertold Brecht doing the lyrics. I don't care for the message as much as I love the music and the individual songs. I have many, many recordings of it. It was initially performed in 1928 and many artists both then and now have recorded individual songs from it and made them famous. The present-day German chanteuse Ute Lemper has recorded some things in this style as well, but also some dreadful pop crap that has nothing to do with 20s-40s style whatsoever. Lastly, if you want to be more obscure than the next fellow, check out, also in this style, the marvelous Polish singer Ewa Demarczyk, also from the 1940s. Very similar to Piaf, scorching, brilliant.
02-01-2007, 01:17 PM
I love Xavier Cugat. Desi Arnaz's band was pretty good too, if you can get beyond the Ricky Ricardo effect. But I think both of these guys hit their stride more in the late 40s & 50s. I don't recall many authentic Latin bands from the 30s- most of that stuff was "rhumba" played by white bands like Glenn Miller. There's nothing wrong with it, but the "rhumba" was not a real Latin dance or rhythm- it was just concocted in the States to sound exotic.
Something else you may be interested in would be early Hawaiiana (not to be confused with 50s & 60s exotica). Modern bands like the Moonlighters do a pretty respectable version of 20s & 30s Hawaiian sounds. If you like a pedal steel in country music, you'll hear a lot of it in early Hawaiiana.
02-01-2007, 05:46 PM
I was thinking Hawaiian music as well...Sol Hoopii is my favorite.
Also look at calypso from the '40s. Check out Lord Invader & Macbeth the Great.
02-04-2007, 01:44 PM
I don't recall many authentic Latin bands from the 30s- most of that stuff was "rhumba" played by white bands like Glenn Miller. There's nothing wrong with it, but the "rhumba" was not a real Latin dance or rhythm- it was just concocted in the States to sound exotic.
A musical genre that is authentically Latin from an earlier period is the tango, and recordings of Argentinian tango ensembles can be found in various collections, at least. It is a wonderful music even if you do not dance. Its most famous practicioner is the decidedly latter-day Astor Piazzola; his twist on it is called nuevo tango and some of his compositions are recorded by the likes of Yo Yo Ma. However, the older stuff is spooky and antique-sounding, very atmospheric, beautiful. For a literary look, there are short stories about tango dancers and musicians among the works of Jorge Luis Borges, probably in "Collected Fictions."
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