Gabriel Fauré is another of those late 19th Century composers recalled for one or two favourites if he’s known at all. The two best known works are his Requiem: a moody, elegant, romantic choral piece that is evocative & relaxing & melancholy – all the things a Requiem should be. Perhaps better known in his Pavane – another lush sweet piece that has been adapted for nearly every instrument composition & style.
Not a one-hit-wonder is the genius George Gershwin. I have in my collection Porgy & Bess: is several versions: the opera, the movie sound track, Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald, Cleo Lane & Ray Charles & an orchestra suite. I have various versions of the Rhapsody In Blue including the original as performed by Paul Whitman, for 2 pianos, even a piano roll by Gershwin himself. American Paris Paris by various. Collections of songs performed by Bobby Crush, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Levant & more.
I even found the first Rhapsody in Blue I heard by Stanley Black – it remains my favourite too. Gershwin’s music is embedded in the American identity. With the current debate about cultural appropriation it’s impossible ignore the influences of black music of the time on his writing. If he hadn’t tapped into the pop culture of the times he might have disappeared like actual ‘serious’ composers of the time.
But his struggle to be taken serious haunted him. He would have preferred not to be remembered as a Broadway/Hollywood hit maker. Though in the history of classical music composers like Chopin & Liszt were very popular without being regarded as non-serious.
I love Gershwin: http://wp.me/s1RtxU-gershwin His too brief life is a fascinating study of the conflict between commercial success & creative respect. His private life is also clouded by secrecy – never married, personal papers destroyed after this death etc. Another child of an immigrant family who moulded the USA of today.
Mike opened the newspaper to look for information on events at the university campus the night before. He and Robert had heard the Iraqi Students Committee protest that the afternoon’s debut of the film ‘Drop the Veil.’
The headline shook him:
‘Bomb Blast Kills Seven’
There had been no bombs. The bed and breakfast he was staying at was close enough that he would have heard that. He read through the article repeatedly.
‘A bomb blast in the Prince Albert area laid waste to four restaurants. The prime target was thought to be a bar run by Hell Fire, a local biker gang. The club was opened at the first of the summer as the gang attempted to make their business more main stream.
The bar was empty at the time but at La Vache next door a reception was being held for the press attending the Montreal International Film Festival.
The powerful blast levelled that building killing four. Two other nearby establishments were caught in the blaze.
Names of the diseased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The Montreal Festival will continue despite this tragedy which they feel is in no way connected with the festival or the picketing of the Iraqi film that afternoon.’
Press! Mike’s mind raced. Jack would have been at that reception. Should he call the hotel to check? Would they tell him? He wasn’t family and, as off two days ago, was now Jack’s ex.
The frothy latte he had been drinking was now cold. The whipped milk on the top congealed into a brown stain. He would be meeting with Robert in ten minutes. Was it too late to get out of that? If he went to Jack’s hotel he might be able to get some information.
That’s what he would have to do. If Robert didn’t understand – fuck him. Too much to explain anyway. Too much. Way too much.
He forced himself to gulp down the latte.
Chapbooks available: http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6
on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted: Disability after Dark iTunes
August 31-Sept.3 – I have my ticket already
November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo
June 8-9 attending: Capturing Fire 2018
check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016
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