3 items from 2015
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) never left Germany but became internationally respected by his peers during his lifetime and a symbol of pure musicianship for future generations. A virtuoso organist, harpsichordist, and violinist/violist who may have also played lute, as a composer his mastery of counterpoint and fugal writing remain unmatched, yet he was also open to the influences of contemporary Italian and French composers.
Born into a highly musical family in Eisenach, Germany, Bach became organist at the Neukirche in Arnstadt in 1703 at the age of 18. His first major appointment was as court organist to Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Weimar, in 1708; six years later the Duke made him Concertmaster. In 1717 Bach became Kapellmeister and music director to the music-loving Prince Leopold of Anhalt in Cöthen, where Bach wrote much of his greatest secular music. Bach's duties switched to writing choral and organ music for use in church services »
We never get tired of the story of Cinderella, and whether we know it or not, the version we never get tired of is the one put forth by Walt Disney 65 years ago. The 1950 animated feature, released 65 years ago this week (on February 15, 1950) was an instant classic, and its this version we think of when we imagine all the visual details of the story -- the slipper, the pumpkin, the fairy godmother, the mice, and Cinderella and Prince Charming dancing all over the palace grounds.
Still, as many times as we've heard the story or seen the cartoon, there's still more to be mined from the 17th-century fairy tale. (Indeed, Disney is releasing a new live-action retelling next month.) As many times as you've seen the 1950 classic, there's plenty you may not know about it -- how the actress who played Cinderella landed the part without even knowing she'd auditioned, »
- Gary Susman
Mickey Mouse is Disney's most iconic character, but it would seem to be a mistake to call him the studio's biggest movie star. Maybe back in the days of Walt Disney's shorts that was correct, but he's only had a significant role in one of the classic animated features, Fantasia. Since then he's done other shorts, but he's now mainly a TV star. Last year's Plane Crazy, which showed in theaters attached to Frozen, was his first real vehicle for the big screen in almost 20 years. But in fact Mickey has made plenty of appearances in Disney's animated features, just in cameos and in the form of Easter eggs, many of which have only been spotted in the era of quality home video. For instance, animators paid homage to the famous anthropomorphic...
- Christopher Campbell
3 items from 2015
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