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Browse by Artist: ANTHEIL, GEORGE
Bad Boy Made Good
ELECTRONIC MUSIC FOUNDATION
... The Revival of George Antheil's 1924
. A film by Ron Frank and Paul D. Lehrman. "In the Roaring '20s, George Antheil's raucous piano recitals and futuristic compositions were creating scandals and riots all over Europe. Ten years later, Antheil was back home, broke and forgotten. His magnum opus, the 'Ballet Méchanique,' so technologically ahead of its time that it could never be performed the way we conceived it, was lost. Forty years after the composer's death, as the 20th century ended, it could finally be heard. This film by Ron Frank and Paul D. Lehrman is about George Antheil and his famous controversial piece 'Ballet Mécanique.' This 2 DVD set includes the award-winning documentary shown on PBS plus extended interviews with friends of Antheil featured in the film, the complete premiere concert performance of the original orchestration of 'Ballet Mécanique,' and the 1925 Léger/Murphy film 'Ballet Mécanique' with the newly-realized 16-player-piano version of Antheil's score." Narrated by Tony Kahn, Music by George Antheil, Paul Lehrman, Erik Satie, and Igor Stravinsky. Feature length: 72 minutes. Extras length: 101 minutes. NTSC format.
Dreams, Piano Concerto No. 2, Serenade No. 2
NEW WORLD RECORDS
"A concert pianist and vanguard composer, George Antheil (1900-1959) became known as the 'Bad Boy of Music.' The ultimate American in Paris, Antheil was an avant-garde provocateur of the first order who made his name composing iconoclastic compositions: the loudest and brashest classical music of his time. But this album gives us three new performances -- two of them world-premiere recordings -- which reveal another, forgotten side of Antheil: the incurable romantic. Written in 1926, after the height of Antheil's radical period, the 'Piano Concerto No. 2' is an experiment in classical form. The work contains the same sudden juxtapositions and abrupt contrasts of mood as his futurist music. But the excesses of his recent ballet mécanique (written for 16 player pianos!) are compensated for by an almost spare, baroque orchestration and motifs that draw on Bach as much as on Stravinsky. In three movements, Antheil employs a more restrained but still exuberant style. The beautifully meditative slow movement is followed by a virtuosic and compelling toccata. Each movement ends on an overtly Bachian cadence, most obvious in the sweetly naive coda of the final movement. The ballet 'Dreams' (1935) had a prior existence in Paris. It was called 'Les Songes,' and Darius Milhaud wrote the original music in 1933, later discarded in favor of Antheil's score. Antheil plays sarcastically with contradictions: waltz vs. march; folk song vs. orchestral romanticism. This is marvelous ballet music, and the unexpected structural and melodic changes keep us on the edge of our seat: amused and entertained. The lack of a formal structure does not hamper Antheil; he seemed to thrive on it, both in this piece, and in many others he wrote. Despite the cut-and-paste exoticism and the predictable thematic material, this music sounds appealingly American -- folksy, populist, and engaging. Antheil's brilliant orchestration makes these works shine. Not much is known about the genesis of the 'Serenade No. 2' (1948). As the work neared completion, Antheil wrote, the 'Serenade' '
...is as important, for me, as a new symphony; indeed, it can be played by a major symphony orchestra.
' It's a beautifully orchestrated, lush work. Both serenades are in three movements -- the first is for strings alone while the second adds a wind section and a percussionist."
Index of Artists