Pops concerts these days are an anything-goes experience: video-game nights, the "20 Tenors," your fill-in-the-blank crossover act. But in the first decades of the 20th century, the sensational sound of classical-meets-popular music was all the rage.
Departing from a more traditional sound, composers premiered new works that infused themes like ragtime, rumba, boogie-woogie, or jazz to create a distinctive American musical landscape. Played by symphony orchestras, sometimes by dance bands or other configurations, these compositions pushed listeners of classical music into a new world.
On this episode of American Pops, Michael Feinstein shares his favorite discoveries from this era, some of which are rarely heard. Featured on the episode is a Serenata composed by Leroy Anderson and the Boston Pops, George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, and an unknown work from 1947 called Dis-Concerto by composer Jacques Press.