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Marc Chagall and Music

CBS Sunday Morning ran a very interesting piece this week on the connection between painter Marc Chagall and music. That reports features an interview with Anne Grace, the curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. The muesum is hosting “Chagall: Colour and Music” that will move to Los Angeles in July. Here is a link to the story at the CBS website.

Chagall had recurring characters in his paintings. One theme was the wandering Jewish fiddler who floats rootless above the scene. That image, which is embedded in our culture as the fiddler on the roof, seems to be an understandable thought for a Jew living through the middle part of the last century. Chagall was raised in what now is Belarus, lived in Paris and luckily made it to New York City in 1941.

Chagall paimted the sets for the New York City Ballet’s “Firebird” in 1949. Replicas still are used for the presentation.

Above is the video version of the CBS report. Below is the last three acts of Firebird, which was written by Igor Stravinsky. Stravinsky conducts the final three sences — after being introduced by a very young Leonard Bernstein — on the program The Creative Performer. It aired on January 31, 1960. Stravinsky was born in Russia and also immigrated to the United States. He live mostly in Los Angeles.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.