CCGS Performing Arts Center, Erina Heights
Presented by Symphony Central Coast
Sunday, 7th July in 4 months. Tickets $20 to $45
For creatives in the early Twentieth Century, Paris was a magnet. The post-war years, “the crazy years”, drew writers like Hemingway, Yeats and Pound. Artists developed dadaism, surrealism, cubism and futurism. It was the home of Picasso, Modigliani, Duchamp, and Satie, Ravel and Stravinsky.
Nadia Boulanger began teaching composition at the Paris Conservatoire: her first American pupil was Aaron Copland. Realising that a ‘modern' style was not attractive to many audiences, he deliberately wrote ‘accessible' and popular music, creating what many consider to be the sound of American music. His ballet Appalachian Spring and Fanfare for the Common Man display optimism, grandeur, and sentimentality and, above all, are built on memorable melodies.
With the Russian Revolution looming, Sergei Prokofiev made his way to Paris, where his First Violin Concerto was premiered with the Paris Opera Orchestra. George Gershwin arrived in 1928, hoping to study with Nadia Boulanger, but she refused him, afraid that classical studies would ruin his jazz-influenced style. He composed An American in Paris, while staying at the Majestic Hotel, capturing the sound of the Paris taxis as they circled the Place de l'Étoile.
A study in form, rather than melody or harmony, Ravel's Bolero began as a one finger tune on the piano. “Don't you think this is insistent?” he asked a friend. “I'm going to try and repeat it a number of times without any development, gradually increasing the orchestra as best I can.” He predicted that orchestras would refuse to play it. History shows otherwise.
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