Marc Blitzstein

Author: Howard Pollack
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199977089
Format: PDF
Download Now
A composer and lyricist of enormous innovation and influence, Marc Blitzstein remains one of the most versatile and fascinating figures in the history of American music, his creative output running the gamut from films scores and Broadway operas to art songs and chamber pieces. A prominent leftist and social maverick, Blitzstein constantly pushed the boundaries of convention in mid-century America in both his work and his life. Award-winning music historian Howard Pollack's new biography covers Blitzstein's life in full, from his childhood in Philadelphia to his violent death in Martinique at age 58. The author describes how this student of contemporary luminaries Nadia Boulanger and Arnold Schoenberg became swept up in the stormy political atmosphere of the 1920s and 1930s and throughout his career walked the fine line between his formal training and his populist principles. Indeed, Blitzstein developed a unique sound that drew on everything contemporary, from the high modernism of Stravinsky and Hindemith to jazz and Broadway show tunes. Pollack captures the astonishing breadth of Blitzstein's work--from provocative operas like The Cradle Will Rock, No for an Answer, and Regina, to the wartime Airborne Symphony composed during his years in service, to lesser known ballets, film scores, and stage works. A courageous artist, Blitzstein translated Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera during the heyday of McCarthyism and the red scare, and turned it into an off-Broadway sensation, its "Mack the Knife" becoming one of the era's biggest hits. Beautifully written, drawing on new interviews with friends and family of the composer, and making extensive use of new archival and secondary sources, Marc Blitzstein presents the most complete biography of this important American artist.

Mark the Music

Author: Eric A. Gordon
Publisher: iUniverse
ISBN: 0595092489
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
The recently released Tim Robbins film Cradle Will Rock reawakened worldwide audiences to composer Marc Blitzstein's runaway Broadway hit of 1937, and to the exciting times he lived in. Blitzstein went on to write Regina (based on Lillian Hellman's "The Little Foxes"), the definitive translation of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera, and an enormous amount of other music based squarely in American and Broadway traditions. Mark the Music is an engaging biography of this larger-than-life composer that reads like a novel. Practically every page features an illuminating and revealing pen portrait of the most important creative personalities in American culture—Orson Welles, John Houseman, Ernest Hemingway, Paul Robeson, Sean O'Casey, Agnes de Mille, Lotte Lenya, Melvyn Douglas, Shirley Both, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Earl Robinson, Rudolf Bing, and many more. A vibrant journey through mid-20th century America comes to life through the eyes and experience of Marc Blitzstein. The issues that marked Blitzstein's day—censorship, repression, war—are all with us today. This is a story of passion, defiance, glory and tragedy, and ultimately of faith in democratic American values expressed through the arts.

Marc Blitzstein

Author: Leonard Lehrman
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
ISBN: 9780313300271
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
Marc Blitzstein was one of the 20th century's most important American composers, lyricists, and critics, often credited with having virtually invented opera in the American vernacular. Called the father of American opera in the vernacular by luminaries Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein, Blitzstein was a masterful pianist, coach, and accompanist, though, ironically, he made more money on the lyrics to one song--Mack the Knife--than on everything else he ever did. Blitzstein's brilliant career was cut short in 1964 when he died at the age of 58. This book catalogs Blitzstein's own writings and writings about him, followed by detailed listings (chronological, alphabetical, and genre), analysis, a comprehensive performance history, and summaries of all known critiques of his 128 original musical works and 18 texts set to the music of others. This is followed by a complete discography/videography (commercial and private), and an index of names and organizations. Also discussed in detail are the ways in which Blitzstein took music from his earlier works and developed it in his later works. This book provides a unique and full perspective on this influential American composer.

The Rest Is Noise

Author: Alex Ross
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9781429932882
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
The scandal over modern music has not died down. While paintings by Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock sell for a hundred million dollars or more, shocking musical works from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring onward still send ripples of unease through audiences. At the same time, the influence of modern music can be felt everywhere. Avant-garde sounds populate the soundtracks of Hollywood thrillers. Minimalist music has had a huge effect on rock, pop, and dance music from the Velvet Underground onward. Alex Ross, the brilliant music critic for The New Yorker, shines a bright light on this secret world, and shows how it has pervaded every corner of twentieth century life. The Rest Is Noise takes the reader inside the labyrinth of modern sound. It tells of maverick personalities who have resisted the cult of the classical past, struggled against the indifference of a wide public, and defied the will of dictators. Whether they have charmed audiences with the purest beauty or battered them with the purest noise, composers have always been exuberantly of the present, defying the stereotype of classical music as a dying art. Ross, in this sweeping and dramatic narrative, takes us from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties, from Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies. We follow the rise of mass culture and mass politics, of dramatic new technologies, of hot and cold wars, of experiments, revolutions, riots, and friendships forged and broken. In the tradition of Simon Schama's The Embarrassment of Riches and Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club, the end result is not so much a history of twentieth-century music as a history of the twentieth century through its music.

The Leonard Bernstein Letters

Author: Leonard Bernstein
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300186541
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
Leonard Bernstein was a charismatic and versatile musician—a brilliant conductor who attained international super-star status, and a gifted composer of Broadway musicals (West Side Story), symphonies (Age of Anxiety), choral works (Chichester Psalms), film scores (On the Waterfront), and much more. Bernstein was also an enthusiastic letter writer, and this book is the first to present a wide-ranging selection of his correspondence. The letters have been selected for the insights they offer into the passions of his life—musical and personal—and the extravagant scope of his musical and extra-musical activities. Bernstein’s letters tell much about this complex man, his collaborators, his mentors, and others close to him. His galaxy of correspondents encompassed, among others, Aaron Copland,Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, Thornton Wilder, Boris Pasternak, Bette Davis, Adolph Green, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and family members including his wife Felicia and his sister Shirley. The majority of these letters have never been published before. They have been carefully chosen to demonstrate the breadth of Bernstein’s musical interests, his constant struggle to find the time to compose, his turbulent and complex sexuality, his political activities, and his endless capacity for hard work. Beyond all this, these writings provide a glimpse of the man behind the legends: his humanity, warmth, volatility, intellectual brilliance, wonderful eye for descriptive detail, and humor.

The Ballad of John Latouche

Author: Howard Pollack
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190458291
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
Born into a poor Virginian family, John Treville Latouche (1914-56), in his short life, made a profound mark on America's musical theater as a lyricist, book writer, and librettist. The wit and skill of his lyrics elicited comparisons with the likes of Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart, and Cole Porter, but he had too, noted Stephen Sondheim, "a large vision of what musical theater could be," and he proved especially venturesome in helping to develop a lyric theater that innovatively combined music, word, dance, and costume and set design. Many of his pieces, even if not commonly known today, remain high points in the history of American musical theater. "A great American genius" in the words of Duke Ellington, Latouche initially came to wide public attention in his early twenties with his cantata for soloist and chorus, Ballad for Americans (1939), with music by Earl Robeson-a work that swept the nation during the Second World War. Other milestones in his career included the all-black musical fable, Cabin in the Sky (1940), with Vernon Duke; an interracial updating of John Gay's classic, The Beggar's Opera, as Beggar's Holiday (1946), with Duke Ellington; two acclaimed Broadway operas with Jerome Moross: Ballet Ballads (1948) and The Golden Apple (1954); one of the most enduring operas in the American canon, The Ballad of Baby Doe (1956), with Douglas Moore; and the operetta Candide (1956), with Leonard Bernstein and Lillian Hellman. Extremely versatile, he also wrote cabaret songs, participated in documentary and avant-garde film, translated poetry, adapted plays, and much else. Meanwhile, as one of Manhattan's most celebrated raconteurs and hosts, he developed a wide range of friends in the arts, including, to name only a few, Paul and Jane Bowles (whom he introduced to each other), Yul Brynner, John Cage, Jack Kerouac, Frederick Kiesler, Carson McCullers, Frank O'Hara, Dawn Powell, Ned Rorem, Virgil Thomson, Gore Vidal, and Tennessee Williams-a dazzling constellation of diverse artists working in sundry fields, all attracted to Latouche's brilliance and joie de vivre, not to mention his support for their work. This book draws widely on archival collections both at home and abroad, including Latouche's diaries and the papers of Bernstein, Ellington, Moore, Moross, and many others, to tell for the first time, the story of this fascinating man and his work.

George Gershwin

Author: Howard Pollack
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520933149
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
This comprehensive biography of George Gershwin (1898-1937) unravels the myths surrounding one of America's most celebrated composers and establishes the enduring value of his music. Gershwin created some of the most beloved music of the twentieth century and, along with Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, and Cole Porter, helped make the golden age of Broadway golden. Howard Pollack draws from a wealth of sketches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, books, articles, recordings, films, and other materials—including a large cache of Gershwin scores discovered in a Warner Brothers warehouse in 1982—to create an expansive chronicle of Gershwin’s meteoric rise to fame. He also traces Gershwin’s powerful presence that, even today, extends from Broadway, jazz clubs, and film scores to symphony halls and opera houses. Pollack’s lively narrative describes Gershwin’s family, childhood, and education; his early career as a pianist; his friendships and romantic life; his relation to various musical trends; his writings on music; his working methods; and his tragic death at the age of 38. Unlike Kern, Berlin, and Porter, who mostly worked within the confines of Broadway and Hollywood, Gershwin actively sought to cross the boundaries between high and low, and wrote works that crossed over into a realm where art music, jazz, and Broadway met and merged. The author surveys Gershwin’s entire oeuvre, from his first surviving compositions to the melodies that his brother and principal collaborator, Ira Gershwin, lyricized after his death. Pollack concludes with an exploration of the performances and critical reception of Gershwin's music over the years, from his time to ours.

Cradle will rock

Author: Tim Robbins
Publisher: Newmarket Pr
ISBN:
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
Robbins gives the inside scoop to making his upcoming movie from Touchstone Pictures. The cast includes Joan Cusack, John Carpenter, and Hank Azaria. 80 photos.

John Alden Carpenter

Author: Howard Pollack
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISBN: 9780252070143
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
With this biography, Howard Pollack restores to the public eye a prolific and gifted artist whom Walter Damrosch called "the most American of our composers." Well respected and widely performed during his lifetime, John Alden Carpenter (1876-1951) was one of the first American composers to be influenced by Debussy and Stravinsky and one of the first composers anywhere to incorporate elements of popular song and jazz into concert music. His original yet refined orchestral music was championed by Bruno Walter, Fritz Reiner, Otto Klemperer, Serge Koussevitzky, and other celebrated conductors, and his sensitive songs were performed by such legendary singers as Alma Gluck and Kirsten Flagstad. Pollack skillfully balances Carpenter's personal and musical lives, covering his interactions with musicians of every stripe, his high profile in the Chicago Renaissance cultural scene, and his two marriages (first to the designer and art collector Rue Winterbotham and then, following a protracted affair, to the Chicago socialite Ellen Borden).