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Music History

               Music History Film Clips

''Porgy & Bess'' (Stage Magazine, 1935)

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."


John Cage (The American Magazine, 1942)


Remembering George Gershwin and 'Rhapsody in Blue' (Creative Art Magazine, 1937)

By clicking the blue title link above, you will be treated to a postmortem appraisal of the American composer George Gershwin (1898 1937). 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."


Leonard Bernstein (Newsweek Magazine, 1945)

Leonard Bernstein (1918 1990) turned heads from his earliest days, as this 1940s profile lays out.


'Third Symphony' by Aaron Copland (Rob Wagner's Script, 1948)

A review of Aaron Copland's "Third Symphony" written in 1948 by the respected Los Angeles music critic and historian Lawrence Morton (1908 - 1987):

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"...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.'"


''Lady Macbeth of Mzensk'' by Dmitri Shostakovich (Literary Digest, 1935)

"The Cleveland Orchestra, on February 5 [1935], 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..."


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