Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Op-Ed: Please DO Stop The Music!

Rhianna sang "Please don't stop the music." I'm asking some skaters to do the exact opposite.

As music choices for the very (very!) important season ahead begin to trickle in, I decided to put out a public plea to skaters, if there is still time, don't pick the music that's been over used.

When I learned via Twitter that Akiko Suzuki would be skating to "West Side Story", I cringed. "Not again!" A guide for skaters to follow:

Let's begin with "West Side Story". Every season no less than three skaters/teams use this and rarely successfully. It's a hard piece of music to portray and I think it takes an 'American' flair to pull off. Even then it's tough. McLaughlin and Brubaker, a team with an abundance of said flair struggled a bit with it. Best to steer clear or seriously work very hard at it...I mean 3 times harder to maybe do it justice...but probably not.

"Carmen." Ugh! This piece was immortalized by Katarina Witt and I think it should have been retired for good right then and there...unfortunately it wasn't. Now, every skater since has felt the need to take a stab at it...some successfully, others not so. But the point is, it's overkill. Most of us are sick of hearing this piece of music. No reports yet of any "Carmen's"...let's hope it stays that way (not likely).

The Tchaikovsky version of "Romeo and Juliet" is scary territory. My one well concern with this piece is everyone uses that same adagio section (you know, the love theme) and it gets old. There are other wonderful parts of that music that are less widely used that I think work (think Daisuke Takahashi). Kimmie Meissner is in fact using this for her free skate, let's hope she makes a good music cut. The music from the movie "Romeo and Juliet" is also over used (think Takahiko Kozuka). If you're going to do "Romeo and Juliet," go with the more powerful Prokofiev version.

While it is a beautiful piece of music, "The Mission Soundtrack," sadly, needs to be retired. Ennio Morricone has some other gems...I'll suggest one below.

I'll mention a one more before making some suggestions. "Bolero" I think has to go as well. Like Witt with "Carmen," Torvill and Dean owned this piece of music and it should have been laid to rest right along with their final pose at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Even Ice God Evgeny Plushenko and Ice Goddess Michelle Kwan struggled making this piece of music work.

Some suggestions for skaters to consider..."Cinema Paradiso!" We can retire one Ennio Morricone piece for another. It's absolutely gorgeous music that begs to be skated to. The wonderfully bouncy "Die Fledermaus" by Strauss. I'm absolutely shocked fewer skaters use this piece, it's wonderful. I ask skaters to give Soundtracks a look. There are some amazing scores out there going unused, take a listen. And finally, a piece I've wished someone would pick up for years, "Spanish Caravan" by the Doors.

What music are you sick of? What music suggestions do you have? Sound off below!


anne said...

I'm tired of "Feeling begins". Don't know why, but I do NOT like this music very much.

jumping clapping man said...

sorry, i never get tired of "west side story"...what i DO get tired of is mushy, bland, genericized performances to "west side story".

i don't think any that i have seen have REALLY hit the mark, not McBru, not czisny (too bad it was used in her off-season), not the US men's bronze medalist that i sort of like from the '90s (who later moved on to skate for another country).

trust me, if a really great men's skater, who is a true dancer, on the more traditionally masculine side of the spectrum (nothing against more vulnerable i LOVE and embrace johnny, adam, etc.), and has fire skated to "cool", "tonight" and "somewhere", you would fall off your chair.

so, i now challenge jeremy abbott, or patrick chan to bring it!!!

(browning or wylie would have been great in with this music too.)

Katrina said...

I like Jumping Clapping man, don't get tired of West Side Story but that's because I love Broadway.

I also don't think Carmen is over done. I think Habañera, the title characters main theme is over done. There are several songs in the Opera that would make excellent skating peices.

I know music gets edited but I can name so many good pieces of music that I think would make great skating (The best one that comes to mind that's already been done is Todd Eldgredge skating to "The Glory". YouTube it. It's breath-taking). Stay tuned to my blog, I'll post about it :)

Anonymous said...

Last year Yu Na Kim skated to Miss Saigon. I really liked it and hope more people skate to it. West Side Story is nice, but I do agree it's used a lot. Bolero is also good, but whenever I hear it I think of Torvil and Dean. I also remember that Evan Lysachek was going to skate to the sound track of Grease, but he changed it. I wonder how it would have been. Can't wait to the new season begins!

jumping clapping man said...

agreed about miss saigon...super fresh, and perfect for kim yu-na!

when is someone going to do an "Avenue Q" routine?!@#$ ("if you were gay", "it sucks to be me", etc.). jk!

Katrina said...

Jumping clapping man, I don't even think that'll ever happen due to the nature of the show. Maybe the song "Mix Tape".

Ice Charades said...

I totally agree about Bolero. Don't go there. Why would any skater want be compared to skaters that got a perfect score?

My favorites were the routines that were outside the norm. I loved Michael Weiss skating to Santana. And of course Philippe Candeloro skating to the Godfather for his short and his long - Brilliant! I would argue it was his programs - along with the choreography (including the Musketeers in 98) more than his technique that earned him the bronze medals.

That makes Aaron's point about music so crucial. Pick the right song, get the right choreography, and it could give you an edge.

I think a daring dance or pair team should skate to a Bollywood song. That would get the crowd going!