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date: 18 August 2019

Blitzstein, Marc [Marcus](Samuel)locked

  • David Z. Kushner

Extract

[Marcus](Samuel)

(b Philadelphia, March 2, 1905; d Fort-de-France, Martinique, Jan 22, 1964). American composer. His early works reflect his admiration for the craft of musical composition, an aesthetic encouraged by both of his otherwise antipodal teachers in Europe, Boulanger and Schoenberg. Thereafter, his style changed from an abstract neo-classicism, in which form and structure were primary, towards a more functional agit-prop style, crystallized in his stage works. Well-known examples, such as The Cradle will Rock, bring together blues, pop, speech patter, parody and satire (often involving quotation or other referential material). His skilful use of American vernacular speech patterns is perhaps his crowning achievement.

As a child, Blitzstein, whose parents were of Russian Jewish heritage, was sent to the Ethical Culture Sunday School and to programmes sponsored by the Socialist Literary Society. At the age of seven he gave his first public performance, a reading of Mozart’s ‘Coronation’ Concerto ...

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