By clicking the blue title link above, you will be treated to a postmortem appraisal of the American composer George Gershwin (1898 – 1937), creator of "Rhapsody in Blue". The article was written by one of his contemporaries; Gershwin is admired in this article, but not idolized:
"No one could have been more surprised than George Gershwin at the furor the "Rhapsody" caused in highbrow circles. He had dashed it off in three weeks as an experiment in a form that he only vaguely understood. In no sense had he deliberately set out to make an honest woman out of jazz."
...he was no American Mozart, but when he died he was our most important composer. And while he wrote no great music, I chose to believe that he would have written it."
This Leonard Bernstein (1918 – 1990) profile is a real page turner - briefly explaining in four and a half pages all that this composer and conductor had been up to during the first thirty-eight years of his very productive life. The article appeared on the newsstands during the earliest days of 1957, when he was partnered with Stephen Sondheim on West Side Story and mention is made of his numerous other collaborations with the likes of Jerome Robbins (Fancy Free),
Comden and Green (On the Town), and Lillian Hellman (Candide).
A review of Aaron Copland's "Third Symphony" written in 1948 by the respected Los Angeles music critic and historian Lawrence Morton (1908 - 1987):
"...there can be no mistake about the "Third". It is a solid structure, exceedingly rich and varied in expressiveness, large in concept, masterful in execution, completely unabashed and outspoken."
"No wonder that Sergi Koussevitsky called it 'the greatest American symphony.'"
*Listen to Aaron Copland's Third Symphony*
"The Cleveland Orchestra, on February 5 , with Arthur Rodzinski conducting, will introduce to New York 'Lady Macbeth of Mzensk', an opera by twenty-eight year-old Soviet composer, Dmitri Shostakovich."
"Shostakovich completed the work in December, 1932. It is the first of a projected cycle of four operas in which the composer plans to trace the condition of women in Russia..."
Music critic and scholar Isaac Goldberg (1887 - 1938) reviewed the opening performance of George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" for the editors of STAGE MAGAZINE:
"Why the Jew of the North should, in time, take up the song of the Southern Negro and fuse into a typically American product is an involved question. Perhaps, underneath the jazz rhythms and the general unconventionality of musical process lies the common history of an oppressed minority, and an ultimately Oriental origin. In any case, the human focus of this particular type of musical Americanism has been, from the very first notes, George Gershwin."
*Listen to a 1935 Recording of Lawrence Tibbett Performing an Aria from PORGY and BESS*
"Unlike most other musicians in Italy, Arturo Toscanini (1867 – 1957) refused to scramble onto the Fascist bandwagon. He refused to preface his concerts with the Fascist anthem and eventually was made a virtual prisoner at his home. When he was permitted to leave his country, he vowed never to revisit it so long as Fascism held it in bondage."
"Nowhere has the magic baton of Toscanini been more acclaimed than in the United States. Under its spell, the Metropolitan Opera made its highest artistic mark, and the New York Philharmonic became the world's greatest symphonic ensemble."