Wonderful Town (1953)
A lighthearted look at two small-town sisters determined to make it in New York City, Wonderful Town was a collaboration between Leonard Bernstein (music), Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov (book), and Betty Comden and Adolph Green (lyrics). The musical won five Tony Awards for the 1952-53 season: Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Rosalind Russell), Best Choreography (Donald Saddler), Best Conductor and Musical Director (Lehman Engel), and Best Scenic Design (Raoul Pène Du Bois).
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5
“Certainly the most admired of all [Latin American] composers was the great Brazilian Villa-Lobos ... One of his most famous pieces is Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 .. Bachianas simply means ‘pieces like Bach’—the great German composer Bach … Now what is Bach doing in Brazil? Well, that's just the point of this piece, and really the point of all the pieces Villa-Lobos composed: he wanted to bring together his native folk-lore elements with the great European musical tradition, and unify them into a single style of his own, as he does in the very title of this piece - Bachianas Brasileiras.”
Thus Spake Leonard Bernstein:
“I can recall being a small boy in Boston, perched atop the second balcony in the Boston Opera House, seeing my first ballet (The Seventh Symphony) and hearing the great music of Beethoven for the first time. Since then I have never heard or conducted this work without some deeply stirring memory of that visual event. I can’t actually recall a single step or choreographic formation; but the general impression remains for me forever attached to the music, so that when I perform the work, something inside me is always dancing.”
-Leonard Bernstein, writing in 1960 about the first time he saw ballet for a book that was never published
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