Monday, April 6, 2009

Sinatra's Orchestras

I've been listening to music outside my usual comfort zones to see if there's anything I missed. For example, I never paid the slightest notice to the group Queen, but am listening to all their classics and finding there some good stuff in there. I'm also going through Sinatra.

I've always associated Sinatra with more affluent school friends' Dads who had paneled, shuttered studies, wore golf sportswear (which was pretty atrocious in the time period I'm thinking of) on the weekends and showed you their smug liking of Sinatra in their leather chair with a glass of scotch. Now that I'm actually listening, I see what about Sinatra imparted a feeling of "this music makes me feel upper class" to these guys. The orchestral introductions, for the ballads at least, have really brilliant and orchestration are often reminicient of late 19th/early 20th century Strauss, Mahler and Debussy. Because they're so immaculately performed and recorded, and more closely mic'd than classical recordings, they're pretty interesting to listen to. Then Sinatra comes in, and he might as well be singing "Hey buddy, remember the Music Appreciation classes we had to take in college, and how all the classy broads were suckers for that longhair stuff? Now you and me, buddy, we got class too." Now if you liked Sinatra's song as well...which still doesn't do much for'd be in heaven.

There's usually a middle section with more of the orchestral material, and a few bars at the end. It would be interesting to splice the orchestral parts of all the songs together just to appreciate the fine orchestral writing.