Marc Blitzstein

Author: Howard Pollack
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199977089
Format: PDF, Mobi
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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.

Marc Blitzstein

Author: Leonard Lehrman
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
ISBN: 9780313300271
Format: PDF, Kindle
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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.