The Best of America
American composer Aaron Copland is one of initiators of USA contemporary composers’ school. He often turned to American folklore, was the Head of the League and the American Composers’ Union. Copland performed both as a soloist and a conductor in Europe and Latin America. He made great impact on Leonard Bernstein’s creative work.
Musical West Side Story based on the play West Side Story by A. Laurents was created by Leonard Bernstein in 1957. It is modern love story of Romeo and Juliet in New York of 60-s in which enmity of new Montagues and Capulets - Americans and Puerto-Ricans – extinguishes loving young people. But “eternal plot” was modernized in such talented way that it began to live its own life and West Side Story became a classic of the genre. Bernstein’s musical dramaturgy depicts all nuances of the plot, outlining masterfully comedy, tragedy, and farce. The performance was shown 734 times. In 1961 the musical was put on the screen by Robert Wise, it became a great event, won 10 Oscar Awards for music and choreography as well. After such success the musical began its triumphant walk around the world.
Formation and rise of George Gershwin’s creative work coincided with “the time of jazz”. The main stylistic peculiarity of Gershwin’s music is combination of Afro-American jazz and folk traditions, Broadway pop music with European classical music. Porgy and Bess is the top of his creative work and the first American national opera which was recognized all over the world. Musical material selected by Gershwin for this opera is various and it is based on jazz and blues melodies, Negro folk music, and improvisation. The premiere was performed at Colonial Theater, Boston on September 30, 1935. The opera was acclaimed by both critics and public. Broadway debut of Porgy and Bess took place at Alvin Theater on October 10, twenty years later Porgy and Bess became the first American opera performed at the opera house La Scala in Milan.