AMERICAN MUSICAL THEATRE {VICTOR HERBERT} (TV)

Summary

One in this educational public affairs series that traces the origins and development of the American musical theater and examines the careers and contributions of the creative artists who have made the musical a native American art form. In an informal workshop setting, New York City high school students meet the composers, lyricists, and performers who have shaped the American musical and question them about their work. In this edition, host Jim Morske reviews the career of composer, conductor, and cellist, Victor Herbert, whom he calls "the first real giant of the American musical theater." The program begins with the CBS Orchestra playing Herbert's march from "Babes in Toyland," after which Morske summarizes the plot of Herbert's first operetta, the convoluted, sensational "Wizard of the Nile," from which the orchestra plays the overture. Although critics complained that the stories were inferior, Herbert's music was what made the shows so popular. A prolific songwriter, Herbert wrote many operettas including "The Fortune Teller," from which Barbara Meister sings "Romany Life," glorifying the gypsy life. In addition to writing for the theater, Herbert was the conductor of the Twenty-Second Regiment Band and the Pittsburgh Symphony as well as a performing cellist. At this point, Morske sets the stage by showing photographs of New York City at the turn of the century while the orchestra plays "In Old New York." Next, Meister sings the popular waltz melody "Kiss Me Again" from "Mlle. Modeste" and Ramon Gilbert sings "Every Day Is Ladies Day for Me" from "The Red Mill." Following this, Morske tells an amusing story of how Herbert got the job of cellist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and stresses Herbert's compositions of serious orchestral music, as illustrated in his "Second Concerto for Cello and Orchestra," as played by Ralph Oxman and the CBS Orchestra. The orchestra then performs the "Dagger Dance" from his grand opera, "Natoma," based on a native Indian legend. Gilbert sings the marching song "Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!" from "Naughty Marietta," and Ralph Curtis sings the romantic melody "Falling in Love" from the same show. Next, Morske details Herbert's role in founding the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Composers (ASCAP), and Meister and Curtis perform the duet "Thine Alone" from Herbert's tribute to his native Ireland, the operetta "Eileen." The program ends with the audience joining the performers in a reprisal of "In Old New York."

Cataloging of this program was made possible by a grant from the GRAMMY Foundation.

Details

  • NETWORK: WCBS-TV
  • DATE: December 13, 1959 Sunday 12:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:28:52
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T:55265
  • GENRE: Music
  • SUBJECT HEADING:
  • SERIES RUN: WCBS (New York, NY) - TV series, 1959-1965
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Ned Cramer … Producer
    • Ethel Burns … Associate Producer, For the Board of Education
    • Martin Carr … Director
    • Victor Herbert … Composer
    • Alfredo Antonini … Conductor
    • CBS Orchestra, The … Music Group
    • Jim Morske … Host
    • Ralph Curtis … Singer
    • Ramon Gilbert … Singer
    • Barbara Meister … Singer
    • Ralph Oxman … Instrumentalist, Cellist
    • Victor Herbert