. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – George Antheil: Symphony Number 5 – L.A. Phil. Artur Rodzinski – July 25, 1950 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
The early years of the 20th century had more than its fair share of movers, shakers and hellraisers. Classical Music was certainly not immune to the sweeping changes taking place in the area of composition and style. The very well publicized riots that took place after Stravinsky‘s Rite Of Spring were only one of several seeming outrages thrust upon the audience.
Another figure, though lesser known today than he was at the time, was George Antheil. An American composer who went to Paris and gave the world Ballet Mechanique and another storm of riots, protests and colorful condemnation.
Although not as revolutionary in the long run as Stravinsky, Antheil did manage to make a name for himself and become a fixture in the avant-garde music world, all the way up to his death in 1959. In addition to his musical endeavors, which included a number of stage works, chamber pieces, operas and other symphonies, he wrote several film scores during a stint in Hollywood – Antheil was also a writer, journalist and inventor. In recent years his music and writings have been the subject of everything from rediscovery to documentaries. So an Antheil revival has been underway.
This weekend it’s a portion of a concert that features, if not the first, then one of the first public performances of George Anteil’s Symphony Number 5, written between 1947 and 1958. Played here in a 1950 concert from The Hollywood Bowl by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by the legendary Artur Rodzinski and recorded on July 25, 1950 for a broadcast which may or may not have been aired.
In any event, it’s a rarity and a piece of music that begs to be played in concert more often.
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