American Moderns

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The genius of American Pops has always been that its composers could absorb the latest musical innovations and weave them into concert-hall gold. On this episode, Michael Feinstein reflects on how 20th-century modernism influenced composers like George Gershwin, Leroy Anderson, Oscar Levant and others.  Jazz reverberated through their music, but so did echoes of Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff and Ravel.

Selections on tonight’s program include a pop miniature by Leroy Anderson, a piano showcase for Dana Suesse, known in her day as “the Girl Gershwin,” and rarely heard movie music by George Gershwin which was originally written for -- and then cut from -- the 1937 film Shall We Dance.  


Program playlist:

Leroy Anderson: Belle of the Ball
BBC Concert Orchestra; Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Album Title: Orchestral Music I
Naxos

Leroy Anderson: Promenade
Leroy Anderson Orchestra 
Album Title: Leroy Anderson Collection 
MCA Classics MCAD2-9815

Ferde Grofé: March For Americans 
Meredith Willson and his Concert Orchestra 
Album Title: Modern American Music (78rpm disc, recorded 1941)
Decca Album 291 (Matrix DLA 2337)

Oscar Levant: Blue Plate Special 
Oscar Levant 
Album Title: Private 1947 recording 
Courtesy of Oscar Levant Estate

Leonard Pennario: Midnight On the Cliffs 
Leonard Pennario, National Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Gerhardt 
Album Title: The Prince and The Pauper
Varese Sarabande VSD 5207

Leroy Anderson: I Never Know When (From Goldilocks) 
Leroy Anderson Orchestra
Album Title: Leroy Anderson Collection 
MCA Classics MCAD2-9815

Leroy Anderson: Fiddle Faddle
Leroy Anderson Orchestra 
Album Title: Leroy Anderson Collection 
MCA Classics MCAD2-9815

Johnny Mandel: Emily (Weekend at Sussex) 
MGM Studio Orchestra 
Album Title: A Johnny Mandel Trio 
Screen Archives Entertainment SAE1204 (3 discs)

George Gershwin: French Ballet Class 
Jack Gibbons 
Album Title: The Authentic George Gershwin, Volume 4 
ASV CD WHL 2110

George Gershwin: Dance of the Waves
Jack Gibbons 
Album Title: The Authentic George Gershwin, Volume 4 
ASV CD WHL 2110

George Gershwin: "Watch Your Step!" Final Ballet 
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra; John Mauceri, conductor
Album Title: The Gershwins In Hollywood 
Phillips 434274-2

Dana Suesse: Blue Moonlight
Dana Suesse, Paul Whiteman Orchestra 
Album Title: 12” 78rpm disc 
Victor 36159-B

Jerome Moross: Biguine 
The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Album Title: Frankie And Johnny 
Albany Records TROY1400

James P. Johnson: Victory Stride 
Concordia Ensemble; Marin Alsop, conductor; Leslie Stifelman, piano.
Album Title: Victory Stride: The Symphonic Music Of James P. Johnson 
Music Masters 67140