This was one of a long series of programs known as The Bell Telephone Hour. They were always well done, educational, and entertaining. Sadly programming of this sort no longer exists, and we are all poorer for it.
I watched this program when it aired on March 14th, 1970. Having been raised in a family involved in classical music, as well as being a teenager and fan of all things Rock And Roll, the idea of combining the two seemed a bit outrageous. Watching the show, however, was a kick in my music appreciation.
The 60 minute production mixed artists like Jethro Tull, The Nice, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ray Charles, Christopher Parkening, And Santana. The juxtaposition of the sometimes harshness of rock music with the melodic classical tunes was fascinating.
It won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement In Tape Sound Mixing, and was nominated for Outstanding Comedy-Variety Or Music Program, as well as for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction.
The program was taped over a 3 day period (February 13 to 15th, 1970) in NBC's Studio 2 in Burbank, California. Zubin Mehta, then Conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic, was the host, and his well conducted journey showed how both forms of music could be woven together to form something new and different. At one point the Philharmonic was playing a well known classical piece only to have an abrupt change to The Nice playing the SAME music, but with their distinctly rock flavor. The transition was nearly seamless, and the effect was electrifying.
Ray Charles performed a version of The Beatles "Yesterday" that still sends shivers down my spine just from the memory.
Sadly, memories are all we have of this program. I understand that licensing issues for the music of all the groups involved have never been resolved, something that would be necessary if this were ever to be made available for sale.
Also sadly, the audio tape I had of the program has long since been lost. If this program is ever finally released for new generations to appreciate I highly recommend it for purchase. Barring that, those who have never seen it can only imagine what it was like, and those of us who saw it can only rely on our memories.
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