Music has been an essential part of cinema almost from its inception. Films made during the silent era (1895-1927) may have lacked a soundtrack, but movie audiences in Canada, as elsewhere, most often experienced them with musical accompaniment. Almost from the time the country's first permanent movie theatre opened in Toronto in March 1906, piano players sat in the pit beneath the screen and performed standard tunes and familiar classical pieces, underscoring the action on the screen and enhancing its emotional power.
The instrument initially employed for the musical accompaniment of silent film was the piano, but soon it was replaced by theatre organs, which were equipped with devices to imitate sounds as diverse as the snare drum and the harp. Studios often provided cue sheets for accompanists, which included musical leitmotifs for characters, in the manner of Wagner, a technique basic to film scoring even today. By the 1920s many major Hollywood films, following the lead of D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation (1915), were distributed with accompanying scores composed specifically for them. After World War I, it was not uncommon to find a full orchestra replacing the theatre organist in first-run houses in the country's larger urban centres.
National Film Board
National Film Board Composers and Subjects
Until the 1960s, feature film production in Canada was negligible. The emphasis was on documentary and animated shorts, most produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), established in 1939. Staff composers at the NFB included, most notably, Maurice Blackburn, Eldon Rathburn, and Robert Fleming. Louis Applebaum, also a composer, was music director at the NFB 1942-6. These men wrote scores for hundreds of NFB productions, including many of its best-known documentaries, animated films and features, while Applebaum also composed the music for a number of Hollywood movies, including The Story of G.I. Joe (1945), for which he was nominated for an Oscar.
With the NFB's mandate to present Canadian culture to audiences at home and abroad, music figured prominently in its productions. Music and musicians were a frequent subject of NFB documentaries, and films were made on such diverse performers as Gilles Vigneault, Stompin' Tom Connors, Paul Anka, Don Messer, the Leslie Bell Singers, Glenn Gould, and Sir Ernest MacMillan. MusiCanada (1975), a broad tapestry of Canadian musical talent from Glenn Gould to the Canadian Brass, itself expresses the eclectic approach to musical subjects by the NFB more generally.
French-Canadian Music in Film
However, nowhere in Canadian cinema was music more important than in the cinéma-direct documentaries made by Quebec filmmakers as part of the Quiet Revolution in the 1950s and 60s, where it helped define Quebec as a distinct society. In Les Raquetteurs (1958), the traditional reel played spontaneously by the partygoers after the annual Sherbrooke snowshoe race unites the revellers as surely as the iconographic presence of Maurice Richard. Gilles Groulx's Où êtes-vous donc? (1968) uses three Quebec singers - Georges Dor, Christian, and Mouffe (Claudine Monfette) - to represent different paths for Quebecois pop music and cultural identity. Other NFB films focusing on regional and local expressions of Canadian music include Bernard Gosselin's Jean Carignan, Violoneux (1975) and La veillée des veillées (1976), about traditional fiddling, and Le frolic cé pour ayder (1979), about the annual Acadian music festival at Cap Pelé, NB, that focuses on the tradition of the "frolic," or barn-raising.
NFB Animated Shorts
The NFB also produced animated shorts, many of which employed music as an important element. Carolyn Leaf combined animation and live-action cinematography for her film Kate and Anna McGarrigle (1981). Among the numerous Canadian animators who worked for the NFB in the postwar era, George Dunning went on to head the animation team that created Yellow Submarine (1968), which featured the music of the Beatles. Norman McLaren, the most important NFB animator, developed his own methods of hand-drawing optical soundtracks for such films as Dots (1949), Loops (1952), and Neighbours (1952). McLaren's musical sensitivity is clear in Begone Dull Care (1949), for which he provided abstract kinetic imagery that responds to and amplifies the cascading notes of Oscar Peterson's jazz piano.
Canadian Documentaries about Music and Musicians
The first Canadian documentary to focus on a pop star was the NFB film Lonely Boy (1961), about teen idol Paul Anka. The film provided a behind-the-scenes look at Anka and also examined the phenomenon of pop stardom generally. Working independently of the National Film Board, several other filmmakers subsequently produced documentaries about musicians, all of them American. Canadian producer Budge Crawley spent four years tracking down all available footage of psychedelic blues singer Janis Joplin for Janis (1974). Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz (1978), perhaps the best rockumentary of all time, chronicled the farewell performance of The Band. Neil Young, who appears in The Last Waltz (1978), directed his own concert film, Rust Never Sleeps, in 1979. Jeremy Podeswa's Standards (1992) is a documentary about great American songwriters.
In the 1980s Brigitte Berman produced two critically acclaimed documentaries on American jazz musicians: Bix, 'Ain't None of Them Play Like Him Yet' (1982), about legendary jazz trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke, and Artie Shaw: Time Is All You've Got (1984). Ron Mann made the well-received Imagine the Sound (1981), featuring the music of four American progressive jazz musicians, and Twist (1992), a social history of the twist dance fad. Focusing the camera lens back home, Alan Zweig's offbeat Vinyl (2000) examines the obsessions of Canadian record collectors. Michael Snow, whose films fall somewhere between documentary and experimental cinema, is also an accomplished jazz musician.
Feature Films about Music and Musicians
As in documentary filmmaking, Canadian feature films have often focused on musical subjects. Prominent examples include Thirty-Two Short Films about Glenn Gould (1994), The Red Violin (1998), and Anne Wheeler's Bye Bye Blues (1989), a World War II melodrama about a woman, left alone and pregnant on the prairies, who joins a swing band. Paul Lynch's The Hard Part Begins (1973) is about a small-time country singer from Ontario who dreams of making it to Nashville; Whale Music (1994) stars Maury Chaykin as a reclusive, washed-up rock star. Slipstream (1973) and Rude (1995) use DJs at pirate radio stations in rural Alberta and Toronto respectively to provide moral perspectives on their stories.
The Canadian director most associated with music is Bruce MacDonald. His Roadkill (1989) and Highway 61 (1992) are rock 'n' roll road movies with a Canadian slant. Hard-Core Logo (1996) is a mock-rockumentary in the manner of This is Spinal Tap (1984), about the farewell tour of a 1980s punk group across the Canadian west, starring Hugh Dillon, lead singer of the Headstones, as leader of the fictional punk group. Interestingly, actual musicals are rare in Canadian cinema, perhaps the only one being John Greyson's "AIDS musical" Zero Patience (1994), with music by Glenn Schellenberg.
Film Music Written by Canadians
Canadian composers and musicians have provided the music for many Canadian films as well as for movies made in Hollywood. Composer Mychael Danna has had a continuing working relationship with director Atom Egoyan, Kurt Swinghammer with Kevin McMahon, Robbie Robertson with Martin Scorsese, and Howard Shore, who has also composed for many Hollywood films including the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2002-4), with David Cronenberg. In popular music, Zalman Yanovksy, member of the Lovin' Spoonful, did the music along with Douglas Bush for Allan King's pioneering documentary A Married Couple (1969); Kensington Market and Leonard Cohen provided the music for Don Owen's The Ernie Game (1968); Bruce Cockburn the music for Goin' down the Road (1970); Murray McLauchlan the music for Rip-Off (1971); and Philippe Gagnon the music for Les Ordres (1974). For Hollywood, Cohen's songs were woven hypnotically throughout Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs Miller (1971), and Neil Young provided the powerful guitar soundtrack for Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man (1995).
Young's songs were featured in such movies as Jerry Maguire (1996), American Beauty (1999), and Shallow Hal (2001); Leonard Cohen's in such films as Dynamite Chicken (1972), Bird on a Wire (1990), Natural Born Killers (1994), Breaking the Waves (1996), and Shrek (2001); Gordon Lightfoot's in Paperback Hero (1973), The Brown Bunny (2003), and Wonderland (2003); Joni Mitchell's in Bob Dylan's Renaldo and Clara (1978), Life as a House (2001), and Two Weeks Notice (2001); and Céline Dion's singing in Bicentennial Man (1999), Stuart Little 2 (2002), and Far from Heaven (2002). Robbie Robertson's "The Weight" has been featured in no less than four movies - Easy Rider (1969), Patch Adams (1998), Girl, Interrupted (1999), and Igby Goes Down (2002).
Canadian Musicians on Film
Canadian musicians also have appeared in front of the movie camera, in both musical and dramatic roles. Kathleen Howard, opera singer with the Metropolitan Opera 1916-28, became a character actress in Hollywood, starring in two W.C. Fields comedies and the classic film noir Laura (1944), among others. Robbie Robertson had a rare dramatic role in Carny (1980), which he also co-wrote. Carole Laure, a musician as well as an actress, appeared in several films directed by Gilles Carle, including the enigmatic L'Ange et la femme (1977) with violinist Lewis Furey, who provided the music for a number of Carle's films. Diana Krall, whose music is included in the soundtracks of a number of Hollywood films such as The Cooler (2003), has appeared as a performer in De-Lovely (2004) and as herself in Woody Allen's Anything Else (2004). Other Canadian musicians from the Parachute Club to Barenaked Ladies have appeared in movies as themselves playing their music. Canadian comedian Dan Ackroyd, with John Belushi, ushered in a brief revival of '60s soul music as The Blues Brothers on Saturday Night Live and in the big-budget Hollywood comedy The Blues Brothers (1980).
This filmography represents some 65 years of film-making. The first section contains information on films about Canadian music or musicians; the second section is devoted to films made for television; the third section gives a selection of videos (see also Music videos). The first section of the filmography is devoted to films intended for viewing in movie theatres. Of the over 230 films in this section, 110 are by the National Film Board (NFB). Prior to 1980 more than two-thirds of the films listed were by the NFB. At the end of the 1980s, the proportion was less than half. A number are feature-length films or documentaries, and there are a significant number of films of approximately one-hour's duration. Films featuring Paul Anka, John Kim Bell, Glenn Gould, Maureen Forrester, Marek Jablonski, the Lenny Breau Trio, the McGarrigle sisters, Don Messer, R. Murray Schafer, and John Weinzweig will be found in the list. In the 1980s, with the advent of Rhombus Media and other specialized companies, and due to the growth of the film industry in general, Canada's music and musicians began to receive more film coverage.
Films that treat Music and/or Musicians in Canada
CFMDC designates films at the Canadian Filmmakers' Distribution Centre
Music from the Stars. 12 min. Associated Screen News. Horace Lapp's orchestra at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto
Let's All Sing Together. 8-10 min each. NFB. 6-part series (1 and 2, 1944; 3-6, 1945) The Four Gentlemen sing the old favourites illustrated by animated silhouettes.
A City Sings. 11 min. NFB. The annual Manitoba (Winnipeg) Music Competition Festival. Shortened version of the film Listen to the Prairies (21 min). Mary Morrison appears in the festival.
Meet the Navy on Tour. NFB. Tour documentary of, and scenes from, the RCN revue Meet the Navy
Music in the Wind/Le Vent qui chante. 9 min. NFB. A visit to the Casavant organ factory, with Piché and Willan providing background music. Shortened version of the film Singing Pipes (21 min)
The Navy Show. England. Feature film of the RCN show, made in England at the end of World War II
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra II. 9 min. NFB. Sir Ernest MacMillan conducting the third movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6
Christmas Carols. 11 min. NFB. Cartoon presentation of carols sung by the Leslie Bell Singers
Story of a Violin. 22 min. NFB. George Heinl builds a violin for a young boy. (Eugene Kash performs on the sound-track.)
It's Fun to Sing. 11 min. NFB. The Leslie Bell Singers in performance
Children's Concert. 42 min. NFB. Eugene Kash introduces the four sections of an orchestra (Ottawa Philharmonic) and explains some of the elements of music to a young audience.
Choral Concert. 10 min. NFB. By the Leslie Bell Singers
Dances of the Kwakiutl. 10 min. Orbit Films (USA). The dances of the ancient winter ceremonial rites of the Kwakiutl families, with music recorded on location
Longhouse people. 23 min. NFB. Rain-dance, healing ceremony and celebration of the Iroquois
The Man in the Peace Tower. NFB. The music of the Dominion carillonneur Robert Donnell
Meet Gisèle. 10 min. NFB. The popular singer performing three songs
The Opera Class. 36 min. NFB. The training of a young opera singer (Marguerite Gignac) at the Royal Cons Opera School and her performance as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro
Singing Champions. 10 min. NFB. The Chorale de l'Université St-Joseph, New Brunswick, in rehearsal and concert
Legende des Caribous. 20 min. J.P. Michéa & Poulenc frères. Songs and singing as a part of Inuit life are treated in this film.
Music Master. 10 min. NFB. Neil Chotem performs Chopin, and he and his trio perform instrumental versions of popular songs.
Musician in the Family. 17 min. NFB. The story of a prairie farmer's son who achieves a musical education despite family opposition. Score by Robert Fleming
Music Professor. 6 min. NFB. One of the Faces of Canada series documenting the work of a piano teacher with his young pupils
The Musical Ride. 19 min. NFB. The famous RCMP Musical Ride, performed to the accompaniment of band music
Youth and Music/Jeunesses Musicales du Canada. 27 min. in English, 44 min. in French. NFB. Activities at the annual JMC (YMC) summer camp
The Country Fiddle. 18 min. Marlin Motion Pictures. Includes violoneux demonstrating the different techniques of tuning and fiddling
Henri Gagnon. 29 min. NFB. Profile of the organist, performing and teaching
Songs of Nova Scotia. 11 min. NFB. Helen Creighton collecting folk songs in her native Nova Scotia
Glenn Gould - On the Record. 30 min. NFB. Glenn Gould recording Bach's Italian Concerto at the Columbia studios, New York
Man of Music. 17 min. NFB. A portrait of Healey Willan, composer, organist-choirmaster, teacher
Boy Meets Band. 12 min. NFB. Cliff Bryson directs the young members of the community-sponsored West Vancouver Boys' Band.
Circle of the Sun. 29 min. NFB. A gathering of the Blood Indians of Alberta that includes authentic songs
Festival in Puerto Rico. NFB. Maureen Forrester rehearsing and performing at the Casals Festival
Lonely Boy. 26 min. NFB. An account of the rise of pop singer Paul Anka
Wilfrid Pelletier, chef d'orchestre et éducateur. 30 min. NFB. The career of conductor Wilfrid Pelletier
Attiuk. 29 min. NFB. The drum dance of the nomadic Montagnais Indians who live near the Strait of Belle Isle
Pipers and A'. 9 min. NFB. A mass march-past of pipes and drums in Maxville, Ont, site of the annual Glengarry Highland Games
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. 6 min. NFB. Animated film of Alan Mills' song
Selections from the Christmas Oratorio. 14 min. NFB. The Montreal Bach Choir and soloists, conducted by Georges Little, perform Bach.
Toronto Jazz. 27 min. NFB. A look at three Toronto jazz groups: the Lenny Breau Trio, the Don Thompson Quintet, and the Alf Jones Quartet
Bonsoir, Monsieur Champagne. 27 min. NFB. The life and work of Claude Champagne
Stravinsky. 49 min. NFB. An informal study of Igor Stravinsky conducting the CBC Symphony Orchestra in his Symphony of Psalms
Images d'un concours. 57 min. NFB. Scenes from the Montreal International Competition
Campus in the Clouds. 30 min. NFB. A visit to the Banff School of Fine Arts
Precision. 10 min. NFB. The RCMP Musical Ride, a blend of music, colour, and precise movement
Tattoo 67. 19 min. NFB. Highlights of the 1967 Canadian Armed Forces Tattoo, including parade, tableaux, and massed bands
Twenty Million People. 25 min. NFB. A musical illustration of the diverse cultures comprising the Canadian mosaic
Ce Soir-là. Arthur Lamothe. Arthur Lamothe's film about the chansonnier Gilles Vigneault
Marius Barbeau et le Folklore canadien-francais. 30 min. NFB. French-language film about the folklorist Marius Barbeau
The Songs of Chris Cobb. 8 min. NFB. The Newfoundland singer-songwriter performs his songs and poems.
Bing, Bang, Boom. 25 min. NFB. R. Murray Schafer opens the ears and eyes of Grade 7 Scarborough students to their environment.
Contemporary Songs of French Canada/Chansons contemporains. NFB. Series of six short animated films based on songs sung by popular composer-performers: Cerveau gelé/ Love, Claude Dubois; Les fleurs de macadam/ The Asphalt Flowers, Jean-Pierre Ferland; Notre jeunesse en auto-sport/ Our Sports Car Days, Christian Larsen and Claude Gauthier; Taxi, Claude Léveillée; Tête en fleurs/ Marie, Claude Gauthier; and La Ville/ Big City, Jean-Pierre Ferland and Franck Dervieux (1970)
A Rosewood Daydream. 14 min. NFB. A Newfoundland rock group sings in a home for the elderly in St John's.
Country Music, Montreal. 38 min. Frank Vitale. A look at the country music scene in Montreal
Jablonski. 50 min. NFB. The Edmonton concert pianist reminiscing and playing Chopin
Pierre Mercure. 34 min. Charles Gagnon. A film dedicated to the Quebec composer
Don Messer: His Land and His Music. 69 min. NFB. Feature film of Messer and the entire 'Jubilee' cast
The Music Machine. 11 min. National Research Council, Canada. New music created with computer, cathode ray oscilloscope, and piano keyboard at Ottawa's National Research Council
Les Philharmonistes. 59 min. NFB. An encounter with the members of the band, the Société philharmonique of St-Hyacinthe, Que
Vaghy. Quarry Film Production. The contribution of the Vághy String Quartet to life in Kingston, Ont, and Queen's University
The Big Key. 8 min. Jim Anderson. A slapstick comedy that centres on the antics of a stumbling and frustrated pianist
Bo Diddley's Back in Town. 20 min. CFMDC. Visiting pop star's Massey Hall concert.
Je Chante à Cheval... avec Willie Lamothe. 58 min. NFB. A portrait of the Quebec country singer-songwriter Willie Lamothe
A Little Summermusik. 8 min. NFB. Two sisters play the piano and flute for their friends.
Lookback: a Musical Fantasy. 54 min. Jack Mlynek. Five friends agree that their music made their high school days bearable.
The Oboe Reed. 21 min. University of Toronto Media Centre. Melvin Berman illustrates the art of reed-making.
Playing the Viol. York University Production. Peggie Sampson gives a class in the viola da gamba.
Reel du Pendu. 57 min. NFB. Versions of the traditional reel, played by groups of musicians from Quebec, Acadia, and Louisiana, reflect the varying attitudes of the musicians and their ways of life.
A Child like Any Other. Bellevue Pathé Ltée. Feature film on the career of the young Quebec singer René Simard
Street Musique. 9 min. NFB. Animated interpretation of the music of Ryan Larkin
This is Stompin' Tom. 22 min. Marlin Motion Pictures. Visual record of the easygoing style of the popular country singer Tom Connors
Tout écartillé. 6 min. NFB. Animated film illustrating a song composed and sung by Robert Charlebois
Why I sing... The Words and Music of Gilles Vigneault. 57 min. NFB. The ideas, attitudes, and performance of the renowned chansonnier
Across This Land with Stompin' Tom Connors. John Saxton. Feature film on the personality and music of the popular country singer
Alegria. 28 min. NFB. A study of a craftsman fashioning a guitar
Cavendish Country. 27 min. NFB. The daily life and the songs of Calgary's country singer-songwriter Cal Cavendish
Every Saturday Night. 27 min. NFB. The story of the music and members of the Badlanders - a country band of the Drumheller area in Alberta
Goodbye Sousa. 17 min. NFB. A look at the community contribution of the century-old Newmarket Citizen's Band
The Hard Part Begins. Cinepix. Feature film. A profile of an aging country singer, played by Donnelly Rhodes. Music by Cliff Carroll
L'Infonie inachevée. Roger Frappier. Feature film on the Quebec ensemble Infonie
Not Just Any Song. 15 min. York University. Study of singer Debby Dunleavy
Original Sin. 4 min. NFB. Audience reaction to the song 'Original Sin'
Rock-a-Bye. 49 min. NFB. A behind-the-scenes look at the business of pop music, including interviews with some of the stars
To Syngen and to Playe. 25 min. University of Toronto Media Centre. The Toronto Consort performs the music of Chaucer's time on period instruments.
Touch a Legend 50 min. Chetwynd Films. Ian and Sylvia Tyson recreate the songs of the gold rush trail of '98.
The Violin. 30 min. Marlin Motion Pictures. An elderly man (Maurice Solway) opens the ears of two small boys to the joyous world of music.
Alberta Girls. NFB. Precision marching and music by the Alberta Girls' Band from Edmonton, performing in Munich, Germany
Annie North of 60. 51 min. MPI Productions. Anne Murray on tour in the Northwest Territories
Don Breaks Out. 10 min. NFB. Profile of Don Fletcher, Maritime violin maker and fiddler
Entropiscape. 11 min. York University Television Productions. An artist, dancers, and musicians present a synthesis of art forms.
'Envoyez de l'avant nos gens'. See 1976: Le Son des Francais d'Amérique.
Jug Band Music: A Film about the Original Sloth Band. 22 min. Patrick Lee. The Toronto group The Original Sloth Band, rehearsing and performing
Poltava: A Heritage of Dance. 27 min. West Wind Film Group. The music and dance of a Ukrainian folk group
The Stampeders: Short Visit to Planet Earth. 24 min. Mel Shaw Productions. The Calgary rock group The Stampeders in concert
A Star Is Lost. 75 min. NFB. Musical comedy feature focuses on the trials of making a movie musical
Terry's Lute. Douglas Canton. Terry Philpot, a young craftsman, makes reproductions of medieval instruments.
Le Violon de Gaston./ Gaston's Recital. 22 min. NFB. To play his violin in recital or to play hockey in an important game? How a young boy deals with a conflict in his interests and activities.
Halifax Music I and II. 19 min; 18 min. NFB. A two-part documentary on the teaching methods of the Music Dept of the Halifax School Board
Harpsichord Builder. Bernard Sauerman. Wolfgang Kater, harpsichord builder of Quebec, is the subject.
Jean Carignan violoneux. 87 min. NFB. Feature film of the life of Quebec's best-known fiddler
Monsieur Pointu. 13 min. NFB. A combination animated-film and photographic treatment of the famed violoneux Paul Cormier, Monsieur Pointu
Pitou Boudreault, violoneux. See 1976: Le Son des Français d'Amérique.
Les Ruine-Babines. See 1976: Le Son des Français d'Amérique.
We Sing More Than We Cry. 16 min. NFB. Acadians use word, song and music to preserve their heritage
Le Son des Français d'Amérique. Faroun Films (Canada) Ltée. Series of 13 documentary films (1974-6, 27 min each) on the traditional music of francophones in North America. Films with Canadian subjects include:
- ' La Révolution du Dansage'. Arthur Rouleau, violoneux, and Mme Audet of Ile d'Orléans collaborate to preserve the traditional music and dance of their region.
- ' Envoyez de l'avant nos gens'. Antonio Bazinet, farmer of Lanthier, Que, interprets the old songs.
- L'en premier. Traditional music of Acadia as it reflects the effects of the historic deportation
- Il'allont-y-disparaître. Members of an Acadian community in northwest Cape Breton sing 'complaintes'.
- Johnny à Dennis à Alfred. A look at three generations of Acadian fiddlers in Baie Ste-Marie, NS
- ' Faut pas l'dire!' How Acadian traditional song and dance have been preserved. Narrated by Charlotte Cormier
- Pitou Boudreault, violoneux. Saguenay fiddler Louis Pitou Boudreault plays music for dancing.
- Les Ruine-Babines. Six young Montreal musicians rehearse the music of the Gaspé.
La Veillée des veillées. 96 min. NFB. Final night of the 1975 festival of traditional music in Montreal. Extraits, released 1980. 28 min. NFB. Features Carignan and Gilles Lozier
Wingy Manone and the Climax Jazz Band - 1976. 17 min. Joe Showler. Toronto's Climax Jazz Band performs with US trumpeter Wingy Manone.
Crash 'n' Burn. 27 min. CFMDC. A look at punk rock in Toronto, featuring the Diodes, the Deadboys, and Teenage Head
Désirs Mouvements. 5 min. Barry Goodwin. Percussion, dance, and abstract art in a collage of sound and movement
Festival of Friends - Live. 45 min. James Aquila. A documentary of the three-day folk art and music festival in Hamilton, Ont
George Oliver: Superbad. 20 min. York University. Interview with a Toronto soul band singer
Good Luck Boy. 24 min. CFMDC. The Canadian folk music scene, featuring Toronto singer-songwriter Raffi
Harmonie. 19 min. NFB. Summer music at CAMMAC
Celtic Spirits. 57 min. NFB. John Allan Cameron and Winston 'Scotty' Fitzgerald trace the Celtic roots of the Canadian folk music of piper, fiddler, and folk singer at the Mariposa Folk Festival, and on Prince Edward Island.
The Last Waltz. 117 min. A Martin Scorsese film of The Band's farewell to life on the road filmed in San Francisco in 1976. Live concert and interviews. Guests include Ronnie Hawkins, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and many others. Also available on video tape and laser disc
Le Luxe de son. 34 min. Animage Inc. Examines the tradition of organ in Quebec
Opus I, Number 1. 21 min. Fichman-Sweete Productions. Rehearsal and performance by a trio of young musicians
Al Neil - A Portrait. 40 min. Dave Rimmer. A look at the Vancouver jazz pianist
Cano: Notes on a Collective Experience/notes sur une experience collective 90 min. NFB. Feature film portrait of the Franco-Ontarian rock group
Gino Vanelli Superspecial. 54 min. Henry Less and Associates. An intimate look at the singer's life and music
Harmonium in California. NFB. 1979 tour of the Quebec group as it breaks into the US market
Last Pogo Film. 26 min. CFMDC. Punk rock bands at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern
The Show: A Night of Starlight. 27 min. CFMDC. Jim Betts directs an original musical show at the University of Toronto.
Big and the Blues. 25 min. NFB An anecdotal view of Clarence 'Big' Miller's life
Blazing Frontiers. 61 min. DEC Films. A brief history of ethnic musics in Canada
Different Timbres. 14 min. CFMDC. Steelband music in Canada
Extremely Close Up. 22 min. CFMDC. A music program changes the lives of handicapped residents of Montreal's Penfield house
Fantastica. 110 min. New World Mutual Pictures of Canada. Carole Laure and Lewis Furey star in this feature as members of a travelling musical comedy show
The Fiddlers of James Bay. 29 min. NFB. Cree fiddlers Bob McCleod and Ray Spencers trace the musical link between their ancestors and Scots from the Orkney Islands who came to Canada two centuries ago.
Les Jeunesses musicales au Canada 1950-1980. 30 min. Ciné-Mundo Inc. 30 years of the JMC
Le Milieu. 16 min. University of Montreal. Documentary on the the Faculty of Music at the university
Music for Wilderness Lake. 30 min. Fichman-Sweete Productions. Performance of R. Murray Schafer's composition for 12 trombones at O'Grady Lake
Rucibel. 15 min. Canadian Film-Makers' Distribution West. West-coast street musicians at work
Ryan's Fancy: Home, Boys, Home. 59 min. Direct Film Toronto. The Irish-Canadian group's concert tour in Ireland
Soul Survivor. 52 min. CFMDC. Portrait of Diane Heatherington, a singer in the male-dominated rock world
From the Strings of My Guitar. 29 min. DEC Films. The life and music of Greek and Latin American musicians in Toronto
Hank Williams 'The Show He Never Gave'. 86 min. Simcon Ltd. Feature film with Sneezy Waters as the legendary country and western singer
Imagine the Sound: A Jazz Film. 91 min. Ron Mann. A Canadian looks at the words and music of jazz artists Paul Bley, Bill Dixon, Archie Shepp and Cecil Taylor.
Kate and Anna McGarrigle. 28 min. NFB. An informal portrait of the singers that combines animated and documentary techniques
The Oboe. 18 min. University of Toronto Media Centre. Melvin Berman explores the history of the instrument
On Campus with Marshall McLuhan. 34 min. University of Toronto Media Centre. Geoffrey Payzant and McLuhan discuss a Glenn Gould recording as a medium of communication
The Concert Man. 28 min. NFB. Violinist Maurice Zbriger and his passion for music
Folk on the Rocks: A Festival of Music. 28 min. Films North Inc. An ethno-cultural celebration in Yellowknife NWT
Kubota. 20 min. NFB. Architect-sculptor-musician Nobuo Kubota performs on a sound sculpture
Rumours of Glory. 80 min. Simcom Ltd. A documentary on Bruce Cockburn and his band in concert
Zivjeli To Life. 59 min. Fichman-Sweete Productions. A group of Canadian musicians and dancers participate as Soundstage Canada '81 in the 1981 Zagreb biennale for new music
Amateur Night: A True Story. 22 min. Zero Degree Productions. Weekly country and western amateur night at an Ontario tavern
The Ballad of Hard Times/La Turlute des années. 90 min. Films du crépuscule, DEC Films. Documentary features music of the 1930s Depression in Canada
An Empty Case of Blues. 26 min. Michael Pacek. Young would-be musician struggles to balance work and music
John Kim Bell. 37 min. Marlin Motion Pictures. Documentary of a varied conducting career
Opus Two. 59 min. Rhombus Media. Young trio prepares for the Canadian Music Competitions
Artie Shaw: Time is All You've Got. 110 min. Bridge Film Productions Inc. Feature film tribute to the big band leader by Canadian Bridget Berman
Forever Young. 36 min. Concert Productions International. Documentary of Neil Young's early career
From Bears to Bartok. 49 min. NFB. Film follows several artists at the six-week summer school of the Banff CA
The Leahys: Music Most of All. 51 min. Close-Up Films. Irish-Canadian 13-member family who sing, play fiddle, and dance
Making Overtures: The Story of a Community Orchestra. 28 min. Rhombus Media. Affectionate portrait of the Northumberland Symphony Orchestra from Cobourg, Ont
A Matter of Form. 3 min. NFB. Animated illustration set to Schubert's Marche militaire
Musical Magic: Gilbert & Sullivan in Stratford. 60 min. NFB. A backstage look at the preparations for three Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, narrated by Brian Macdonald
A Sense of Music. 28 min. Rhombus Media. New philosophies and directions in music education
Unfinished Business. 99 min. Don Owen's sequel to his pioneering Nobody Waved Goodbye features the music of Toronto band The Parachute Club.
Zarico. 58 min. NFB. Folk music of black Creoles in Louisiana
All That Bach. 50 min. Rhombus Media. Some of the events of Toronto's Bach 300 performances; includes Canadian Brass, Maureen Forrester
Canadian Heritage Festival Show: One Week in Summer. 51 min. Points East Productions. Tapestry of performances from Canada's multicultural heritage at the 1985 festival in Prince Edward Island
Closing Time. 24 min. Concordia University. Jazz composer's view of reality and who is responsible for it
Colin McPhee: The Lure of Asian Music. 58 min. Michael Blackwood Productions, New York. An examination of McPhee's discovery of Asian music and his role in bringing the music to the attention of the western world
Concerto Grosso Modo. 6 min. NFB. Animated film that wordlessly describes how music is made
A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Symphony. 48 min. Ironstar Communications. Harry Pinchin conducts the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and comedy guests Don Harron, Kaye Ballard, and Tim Conway
Magnificat. 50 min. Rhombus Media. Traditional and jazz performances of the Bach composition are contrasted
Murray McLaughlan's Floating Over Canada. 58 min. Isme Bennie International. The singer flies his Cessna 185 from Canada's three coasts
La Musique avant tout. 6 min. Collège de Joliette. Describes the college's department of music
Ofra Harnoy: The Music Inside. 26 min. Kinetic Film Enterprises. The life and career of a young cellist
Ô rage électrique. 80 min. Carl Brubacher. Documentary on rocker Plume Latraverse
Québec soft./ La musique adoucit les moeurs. 26 min. NFB. Influence of US culture on Quebec chanson and musicians
The Reed Men. 18 min. O'B and D Films. New wave jazz scene features the Shuffle Demons
Arm of Gold. 48 min. Robert Doan, Peter Petch. Portrait of Cape Breton fiddler Lee Cremo and his community, Eskasoni
Concrete Angels. 98 min. Cineplex Odeon Films. Feature film about four young boys' ambition to play as the warm up band for the Beatles
Inner Rhythm. 29 min. NFB. Documents the creative relationship between choreographer Robert Desrosiers and composers Ahmed Hassan and John Lang
Innu Nikamu. 43 min. Quebec government. Covers the second native music festival
Jimmy's Game. 30 min. Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative. Crime drama built around three songs by two Regina musicians
La Symphonie fantastique. 6 min. NFB. Charles Dutoit conducts the MSO in the March to the Scaffold from the Berlioz symphony
Candy Mountain. 91 min. Cinema Plus Inc. Young musician's search for a legendary guitar maker
Claude Léveillée, un homme, un piano. 51 min. Cimadis International. Intimate portrait of the chansonnier
Eternal Earth. 29 min. NFB. Alexina Louie TS commission in rehearsal and its premier
Glenn Gould. 58 min. NFB. Rerelease of the two 1959 NFB films featuring Gould
Jane Siberry, I Muse Aloud. 53 min. Cambium Film and Video Productions. Profile of the pop singer songwriter
Lee Konitz: Portrait of an Artist as Saxophonist. Les Films du crépuscule. Life and career of a jazz musician; includes pianist Harold Danko accompanying Konitz
Oscar Thiffault, Ah! Ouigne In Hin In! 60 min. Les Films du crépuscule. Portrait of the Quebec country music star and songwriter
Our Last Days... In Moscow/Nos derniers jours à Moscou. 56 min. NFB. Romantic story of two music students (one a Canadian) at the 8th Tchaikovsky competition
Bardston, The Bard's Son. 56 min. Claude Lavoie. A cellist who teaches in Medecine Hat, Alta, and performs in Montreal and Quebec City
The Eric Nagler Generic Holiday Family Music Special. 53 min. Astral Films. Filmed at a live performance given by the children's entertainer
Guitar. 54 min. Rhombus Media. A tribute to the instrument and the performers filmed at the Guitar Society of Toronto's Guitar '87 festival
Liberty Street Blues. 80 min. NFB. Feature film about New Orleans jazz
Lonely Child. 76 min. Films du crépuscules. Hommage to composer Claude Vivier in a combined documentary and drama feature film
Luba: Between the Earth & Sky. 49 min. Cambium Film and Video productions. The Montreal vocalist interviewed and in concert
Music In the Midnight Sun. 52 min. Rhombus Media. The TS on tour in the Canadian Arctic
Music Lives Forever. 60 min. ZAP Productions. Documentary on the 100th anniversary concert in Massey Hall of the Toronto Board of Education's annual public school spring performance
Musique, musique, musique. 7 min. Collège de Trois-Riviéres, Cinematheque. Music courses and activities at this college
Nocturnes. 9 min. ONF. Animated film uses different techniques to explore musical creativity
Ravel. 105 min. Rhombus Media. Feature documentary honouring the French composer on the 50th anniversary of his death
A Song for Quebec/Québec...un peu...beaucoup...passioonnement. 55 min. NFB. Pauline Julien and Gerald Godin provide their personal views, through song and poetry, of 40 years of Quebec's evolution
Summer Song. Prometheus Productions. Feature film on the British Columbia Boys' Choir tour of the Netherlands
Tunes a Plenty. 102 min. Winnipeg Film Group. Feature film that deals with an idealistic band leader's struggle with commercialism
Wilf Carter in Calgary. 50 min. Primedia Productions. The country music legendary performer returns to the Calgary Stampede
Bye Bye Blues. 117 min. Allarcom-True Blue Films. Anne Wheeler's feature film of a woman, whose husband is a prisoner of war in Singapore, who finds relief from the boredom and loneliness of wartime Alberta by singing in a swing band.
Carnival of Shadows. 60 min. Rhombus Media. Over 100 performers bring R. Murray Schafer's multimedia spectacle to life.
I Am Monty Cantsin. 5 min. Productions réalisations indépendants de Montréal. The complex work of musician Monty Cantsin
The Joy of Singing. 85 min. Gloucester Films. Highlights of the 1989 International Choral Festival's participants, in rehearsal and performance
The Radical Romantic. 60 min. Rhombus Media. Portrait of John Weinzweig both as composer and as demystifier of new music
Satellite Symphony. 52 min. NFB. 1988 World Philharmonic Orchestra concert, conducted by Françoise Legrand in the PDA
The Vacant Lot. 100 min. Picture Plant. Feature film. William D. MacGillvray's film about a young woman who joins the female punk band of the title. Also stars musician Grant Fullerton.
Roadkill. 80 min. Bruce McDonald's debut feature, a comic rock 'n' roll road movie about a fictional band called Children of Paradise who have gone missing in Northern Ontario.
Thirty-Two Short Films about Glenn Gould. 93 min. More than a conventional biography, François Girard's film is a series of short fragments about Gould's life and work, featuring a remarkable performance by Colm Feore.
Zero Patience. 110 min. A provocative musical about AIDS, complete with choreography reminiscent of Busby Berkeley.
Hard Core Logo. 96 min. A pseudo-rockumentary following a fictional punk group on their farewell tour across western Canada; featuring Hugh Dillon of Headstones as leader of the group.
Several of the NFB and Rhombus Media films listed above are now available on video tape for home viewing.
Selected Television Productions
For the CBC 1959-70
'Cantate Domino'. 30 min. A boy's enrolment and training at St Michael's Cathedral Choir School
13 by Saltzman series. Program interview of 84-year-old music teacher William Miles
'Songs of Miramichi'. A visit to the New Brunswick folk festival and an interview with Louise Manny
'Improvisational Classical Music'. Harry Somers, Lukas Foss, and six musicians improvise in a 'classical jam session'.
'The Physics of Music'. Lister Sinclair and Harvey Olnick explore the science of musical sound.
'And Places Where They Sing'. Leonard Wilson's role as organist-choirmaster at St James Anglican Church in Vancouver
'Short Sweet Summer'. Norman Campbell's coverage of the 1963 NYO session and tour
'This Side of Heaven'. The London, Ont, Lombardo family
'Diary of a Jewish Cantor'. Cantor Rev Nathan Mendelson of Montreal
'Diary of a Musical Child'. Orff teacher Gabor Bartha's Montreal children's orchestra
Heritage series. Composers of early Canadian church music and performances of works by W.H. Anderson and Willan
'The Blood is Strong, The Heart is Highland'. A visit with Wishart Campbell, Canada's 'golden voice of the air'
'The Ecstasy Is Sometimes Fantastic'. The Toronto rock group Jon and Lee and the Checkmates
'Alanis'. Profile of Indian folksinger Alanis Obomsawin
'The Troubadour'. Jean-Pierre Ferland in Paris
'Music by McPeek'. The composer of incidental music demonstrates his work.
'Charlebois'. Interview with the Quebec pop singer '
For the CBC 1971-89
'Annie on the Move'. Career of Anne Murray
'The Brott Baton'. Conductor Boris Brott
'The Perth County Conspiracy'
'The Huggett Family Players'
'Songs for a Vanishing Friend'. Folksinger Bob Ruzicka on tour in the Arctic
'The Sound of August'. Glenn Sarty's documentary on the 1971 NYO summer
'The Jazz Film Collector'. Toronto collector Joe Showler
'His Name is Paul Anka'. A visit to the Canadian-born singer
'Sights and Sounds at the Conservatory'. The RCMT
'A Song at Twilight'. Members of a senior citizens' choir discuss the role of music in their lives.
'Sarah Davidson'. Profile of a young Toronto harpist and her musical family
'Sounds of the Rock'. Newfoundland's musical life. Performers include folksingers, fiddlers, choirs, and the pianist Karen Quinton.
'Jon Vickers - A Man and His Music'. Canadian tenor performing and discussing his philosophy of music and of life in a film special
'Initiation à la musique avec Mario Duschenes'. Series of 28 min. episodes in which Duschenes discusses the basics of form and rhythm. A second series in 1978-9 focuses on the composer and orchestration
'Music East/Music West'. Norman Campbell's film of the TS tour to the People's Republic of China
'Chip and His Dog: How to Make an Opera'. The Canadian Children's Opera Chorus performance of Menotti work
'The Music of Man'. Series of 8 one-hour programs hosted by Yehudi Menuhin
'Quand 1200 enfants s'accordent'. Young string players celebrate the 15th anniversary of Claude Létourneau's Le Mouvement Vivaldi
'John Newmark, profils d'un musicien'. CBC tribute to the acclaimed accompanist
Heart of Gold. A history of Canadian popular and rock music
'Scheherazade'. Rimsky-Korsakov's suite interpreted by the MSO and dancer Margie Gillis
'Vies à vies'. Included interview with Marie-Thérèse Paquin
'Bolero de Ravel'. 18 min. Charles Dutoit conducts the MSO
'Michel Lemieux: Solid Salad'. Multimedia spectacle in Montreal
'Island Love Song'. 120 min. Musical set in Cape Breton that uses the local musicians, the Barra MacNeils
It's Only Rock 'n' Roll. Series of 13 26 min episodes, including interviews and performances
'The Firebird/L'Oiseau de feu'. 48 min. Modern ballet accompanied by the MSO, conducted by Charles Dutoit
Luba. 80 min. Spectel Video. Filmed at a live performance in Montreal's Spectrum
On the Rideau. Folk group Tamarack cruise the Rideau Canal performing songs reflecting the history of the region
Many CBC/SRC-TV series have featured special programmes on music. These include The Lively Arts, Telescope, Les Beaux Dimanches, Spectrum, Festival, and Adrienne Clarkson Presents. Musical features are also included on the news proammes The Journal and Le Point. CBC has also produced series hosted by Denny Doherty, Tommy Hunter, and Don Messer. See also Broadcasting
Other TV Productions
Conversations with Glenn Gould. BBC-TV. The Canadian pianist discusses four composers in four 40-minute films: 1/Bach; 2/Beethoven; 3/Schoenberg; 4/Richard Strauss
'The Eye Hears The Ear Sees'. 58 min. BBC-TV. Tribute to Norman McLaren's unique contribution to film
'A Man and His Music'. CFQC-TV. Portrait of Saskatoon musician Lyell Gustin, made for CFQC-TV in Saskatoon
'Jacques Hétu, musique contemporaine'. 28 min. Tele-Montage. The creative development and musical language of this Quebec composer
'A Sound Story: Views on Tracker Organ Building'. 46 min. University of Alberta Dept of Radio and Televesion, produced in connection with instalation of the Casavant organ at the university
'For the Love of Music'. 29 min. University of Alberta Dept of Radio and TV. Suzuki method in Edmonton
'André Gagnon, comme au premier jour'. 57 min. Société de radio-television du Québec. The process of creating, then recording a work
'On Cue: The Northern Pikes'. 24 min. CFQC-TV
'Glass Tiger in Concert'. 48 min. CITY-TV. The band's performance at the Ontario Place Forum
'Bruce Cockburn: Concert for L.A.W.G'. 90 min. CITY-TV. Benefit concert at Toronto's Diamond Club for the Latin American Working Group
Private television has also orginated many series focusing on music, including CTV's Let's Sing Out and The Ian Tyson Show (originally Nashville North), CITY-TV's The New Music, BCTV's The Performers, CHCH-TV' s In Session, The George Hamilton IV Show, and The Don Messer Show. CHCH-TV also televises Opera Hamilton productions. Other shows, produced mostly for syndication, have been hosted by Robbie Laine, Ronnie Prophet, the Family Brown, Ian Tyson, Ronnie Hawkins, Sharon, Lois & Bram, and Ray St Germain. Musical segments also appear on such shows as CTV's W5. See also MuchMusic/Musique Plus.
Selected Videos 1976-86
Rust Never Sleeps. 111 min. Vestron Video. Neil Young in concert
Bad Girls. 60 min. V/Tape. Tale of the rise and fall of careers in the world of rock music
Shadows and Light. 60 min. Warner Home Video. Joni Mitchell in concert in September 1979
Live in London. 60 min. HBO Video. April Wine in concert
Exit...Stage Left. 60 min. RCA/ColumbiaPictures Home Video. Rush in concert
Sharon, Lois and Bram at the Young People's Theatre. 29 min. Cambium Film & Video productions. Musical workshop and concert in Toronto
In Berlin. 60 min. Broadway Video. Neil Young and the Trans Band recorded live in West Berlin. Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg
April Wine. 15 min. Sony Video 45. Song videos
The Band Reunion. 87 min. Music Media. Live at Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Helix. 14 min. Sony Video 45. Four song videos
In Touch. 60 min. University of Saskatchewan. Effect of the university's music dept and its pupils on the local community
Reckless. 30 min. A & M. Compilation of six song videos by Bryan Adams
A Young Children's Concert. 45 min. 1984. Troubador. Live concert
We're All in Show-Business/On fait toutes du Show Buziness. 58 min. Video Femmes. Documentary on women singers, songwriters in Quebec
Corey Hart Rocks the Spectrum. 58 min. Filmoption International. Live performance 28 Dec 1984
Grace Under Pressure Tour. 69 min. RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video. Rush live at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1984
Jazz Greats. 87 min. Filmoption International. The best of the FIJM 1980-5
Loverboy. 60 min. Vestron Video. Loverboy live in Vancouver
The King of Friday Night. 88 min. Canamedia Productions. John Gray's rock 'n roll musical
Magical Musical Days. 55 min. Filmoption International. The JM World Orchestra at Mount Orford in rehearsal and performance
Men Without Hats. 59 min. Filmoption International. Live performance
Strange Advance. 59 min. Filmoption International. Live performance
Video, Vinyl and Culture. 29 min. Magic Lantern Film Distributors. Documentary on rock videos - their development and audience
Any Way You Look at It. 37 min. CBS Fox Home Video. Nine songs by Loverboy
Lee Aaron Live. 60 min. Embassy Entertainment
Music Video: Beyond the Four-Minute Commercial/Musique video: au-dela de la pub. 111 min. NFB. Panel on the future of music video
Sirens of Aquarius. 22 min. V/Tape. Outdoor performance of music and movement whose creation was determined by planetary motions.
Treasure Island. 30 min. Cambium Film & Video Productions. Sharon, Lois and Bram's Elephant Show with special guests the Nylons
Triumph: Live at the US Festival. 67 min. MCA Home Video. Live concert with two extra song videos
Selected Videos 1987-91
Back By Popular Demand - Live. 30 min. Cambium Film & Video Productions. Sharon Lois and Bram's Elephant Show
Elements. V/Tape. A 4-part series of musical and metaphysical interpretations of the elements by Elyakim Taussig: 'Air' 22 min; 'Earth' 24 min; 'Fire' 28 min; 'Water' 27 min
Gordon Pinsent Sings... Those Hollywood Songs. 53 min. Isme Bennie International. Variety show in the style of the 1930s and 1940s
Ain't It Dead Yet? 70 min. Nettwerk. Skinny Puppy live in Toronto 1 Jun 1987
The Eleventh Annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival. 72 min. Filmoption International. Highlights
Raffi In Concert. 52 min. Troubador. A concert with the Rise and Shine Band
The Best of Lindsay's Grand Ole Nite of Country Music 1988-1989. Stockford Productions. Live at the Academy Theatre in Lindsay, Ont.
Freedom. 30 min. Warner Reprise Video. Neil Young in a live acoustic concert
The Graham and Eleanor Townsend Show. 97 min. Stockford Productions. Live at the Ontario Open Fiddle and Stepdance Contests, Bobcaygeon, Ont.
Refuge of the Road. 70 min. Emperor Entertainment. Joni Mitchell in concert.
See the Light. 89 min. 6 West Home Video. Jeff Healy Band live in London April 1989 plus three song videos
A Show of Hands. 90 min. Anthem. Rush in concert
Anne Murray. 30 min. Capitol Video. Songs and interviews
Catatonics. 30 min. V/Tape. Satirical video opera by Elyakim Taussig
Chronicles. 63 min Anthem. Rush's greatest hits
Live in Lindsay. 50 min. Stockford Productions. Canadian stepdance and fiddle champion Cindy Thompson
Renegade Romantic. A & M Video. Three song videos by Paul Janz
Circle of Songs. 40 min. Oak Street. Fred Penner in concert
Come in From the Cold. 40 min. Geffen. Home movies, interviews, and song videos compiled by Join Mitchell
Harvest of Seven Years. 60 min. Warner Reprise Video. 17 songs from k.d. lang
Luba: The Video Collection. 47 min. Capitol Video. Nine song videos
Mitsou: The Videos/Les vidéos. Isba Music Video. 5 songs
Ragged Glory. 25 min. Warner Reprise Video. Neil Young
Simple Vision. 60 min. Capitol Video. Glass Tiger video compilation
Unison. 45 min. Sony Music Video. Céline Dion. 4 songs (English and French versions)
No date: An Evening with Paul Anka (87 min, USA Video); Coney Hatch (17 min, Sony Music Video); Meet the Bandleaders: GuyLombardo (54 min, Swing); Imagine the Sound with Paul Bley and others (Facets Video)