8 abr. 2009

I found out that the music Strayhorn wrote for the 1953 production of Lorca's play in the Artists' Theatre has been recorded by the Dutch Jazz Orrchestra. There are four pieces of music, two quite lovely songs (Love, Love and The Flowers Die of Love) and two instrumentals (Sprite Music and Wounded Love). There is more information in Walter van de Leur's Something to Live For: The Music of Billy Strayhorn, a quite wonderful book I'm reading now. Wonderful in part because the author looked at thousands of Strayhorn scores.

I'm keeping my new year's resolution of studying the music of Ellington and Strayhorn, and in the process becoming more of a Strayhornian, which we might define as someone who views Strayhorn as much more than a "Duke Jr.," who views his contributions as those of an independent force, who does indeed care what Strayhorn wrote and what Duke wrote and is interested in the differences between the two composers--though with zero interest in diminishing Duke in any way. I reject the Collier view of Ellington's musical deficiencies.

I'm mulling over an article about the Artists' Theatre production of Lorca's play. I'm not sure there's enough there yet to justify more than a brief note in the encyclopedia of Lorca trivia. The Artists' Theatre itself is quite fascinating. I have a book that contains four plays produced there, by O'Hara, Ashbery, Merrill, and Abel. Merrill's play "The Bait" is quite superb, as is Lionel Abel's "Absalom." I already knew the plays by O'Hara and Ashbery.

Alfred Leslie's sets for Lorca's Don Perlimplín were destroyed in a fire in the 1970s.

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