Tuesday, March 08, 2005

It's a WHO song?!

So I'm watching tonight's installment of American Idol (my early view is that they can send everyone else home and just do ten weeks of the long-haired white guy and the long-haired black guy singing each week), and a seventeen-year-old girl sings "Somewhere" from West Side Story. And then, during the judges' critiquing, they keep referring to whether this girl has taken a risk or not for doing a Barbra Streisand song. Setting that issue aside, I suppose the arrangement might be one that Barbra Streisand has used, but I don't care: "Somewhere" isn't a Barbra Streisand song, it's a Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim song.

I've noticed that in recent years, music has become much more associated with performers than with composers or lyricists. I wonder if that might be part of classical music's problem these days. I'll bet that if you stop fifty people on the street, far more of them will be able to name a living classical music performer than will be able to name a living classical composer, and that's a problem not just limited to classical music. I mean, does any teenage girl know who wrote "Oops! I Did It Again"?

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