MUSIC REVIEW — Bugs Bunny & The ESO

As someone who grew up on Warner Brothers cartoons, I’ve always had a sublimal appreciation of the music that accompanies those brilliant cartoons. But not until Sunday, when I attended the ESO performance of Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, have I fully appreciated just how great that music really was.

From the opening notes of "The Dance of the Comedians" — a tune, conductor and creator of Bugs Bunny at the Symphony George Daugherty informed us, was included in every Road Runner cartoon — I was smiling. That music instantly brought me back to Saturday afternoons, when I would devour Warner Brothers cartoons. And what great cartoons they were, particularly those from the team of writer Michael Maltese and director Chuck Jones.

Conductor  Daughtery, an amiable and enthusiastic host of the concert, put the ESO through its paces. There was a whole lot of music in his concert, but I’m guessing that it was familiar enough to many of the ESO players (if they watched these cartoons as often as I did) that it woulld have been second nature to a lot of them.

It was great to see these brilliant old toons again, even if I knew every line and every moment from a few of them; I know the lyrics of the classic "The Rabbit of Seville" as well as I know the national anthem. And the one Road Runner cartoon, Zoom and Bored, reminded me that music is as big a part of those cartoons as the Acme company was to Wile E. Coyote.

As a lifelong Warners cartoon affecianado, I do have some gripes about the concert. There were a number of cartoons shown as full length without the orchestra, and I question the selection. There was a random and uninspired Tweety and Sylvester cartoon, and another called "A Corny Concerto", which, while spotlighting classical music, was pretty dull. There are so many great cartoons they could have included, like the hilarious Daffy Duck-Bugs Bunny classic Ali Baba Bunny, or One Froggy Evening, maybe the greatest Warners cartoon ever. And why would they include a segment on Scooby-Doo, a relentlesslty terrible Hanna-Barbara product that looked especially cheap compared to the Warners product?

But let’s not quibble. It was a treat to see some classic cartoons, with the ESO in full musical flight playing the original arrangments of Carl Stalling and Milt Franklyn.


more in Music Review     |     posted Feb 23rd, 2011 at 4:03pm     

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