Join Soundcheck all week for our Animating Music series! We’ll cover all angles of cartoons and music, from Betty Boop and Merrie Melodies to the latest animated bands. Guests include animators, composers and more.
It wasn’t an easy road to bringing music and animation together. In the days before sound and image became one, theaters had live accompanists…or films were simply silent. But in the late 1920s, New York-based Fleischer Studios - whose work includes Betty Boop, Popeye and Superman - revolutionized the genre. We’ll hear how this family-run animation studio pioneered many practices, some of which are still used today. Guests include Daniel Goldmark, author “Tunes for ‘Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon” and Will Friedwald, author of "A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers."
From memorable feature-length film scores, like those of Snow White and Beauty and the Beast, to music-oriented shorts, like Silly Symphonies and the CinemaScope "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom," Disney's music has been integral to its success. We'll talk with film music historian Ross Care about Disney's musical past, present, and future.
From 1936 to 1958, composer Carl Stalling wrote about 600 musical scores for Merrie Melodies and Looney Toons shorts. The arsenal at his command was impressive, including a 60-piece orchestra and his own encyclopedic knowledge of music history. Cartoons – and kids – were never the same. We discuss Stalling’s life and legacy with conductor George Daugherty of the “Bugs Bunny on Broadway” concerts. Plus: WQXR host Jeff Spurgeon highlights classical moments in Stalling’s work.
From Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Beatles to Gorillaz and Studio Killers, animated bands have come a long way since the '60s. Joining us to discuss the evolution of cartoon rock is Ben Greenman of the New Yorker. And to give us a taste of what it's like to be the voice behind an animated musician, we'll be joined by Britta Phillips, the voice of Jem from Jem and the Holograms, and Brendon Small, the creator of and musician behind Dethklok from the Adult Swim program Metalocalypse.
For 22 seasons and counting, The Simpsons have found success with humor and Homer. But music is also part of the show’s winning formula. Alf Clausen has been the sole composer for “The Simpsons” since 1990. He joins us to talk about setting the tone for satire with his music.