Seventy Year Saturday: 1948
Bebop continues to flourish with live concerts and recordings featuring Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and the up and coming Miles Davis. Imagine being able to go back in time to see Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Max Roach at the Three Deuces!
Coleman Hawkins continues his legacy, releasing his classic solo saxophone single, “Picasso”, almost as an important musical statement as his more famous swing-era masterpiece. “Body and Soul.” Are there any other swing giants that were able to make the transition into Bebop as successfully as the Hawk? Musically successfully that is, since unfortunately, great artists like Coleman Hawkins received very little financial reward in 1948.
Serge Prokofiev, out of favor with the Soviet cultural authorities, premieres his final opera, The Story of a Real Person on December 3, 1948 at the Kirov Theater, Leningrad (now thankfully called Saint Petersburg again). Given an unfavorable reception from the “authorities,” further performances were forbidden to the general public until after Prokofiev’s death, The Story of a Real Person not being performed again until October 1960 at the Bolshoi Theater, Moscow.
Oliver Messiaen’s completes his Turangalîla-Symphonie, a large scale orchestra work commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and later premiered in December 1949 with Leonard Bernstein conducting.
Arnold Schoenberg at the age of seventy-five composes his cantata, A Survivor from Warsaw, written in tribute to the Holocaust victims. Richard Strauss at the age of eighty-four composes his “Four Last Songs” for soprano and orchestra.
Hans Werner Henze and Witold Lutoslawski finish their first symphonies, while Walter Piston completes his third, Brian Havergal composes his seventh, and Nikolai Myaskovsky wraps up his first twenty-sixth, his Symphony on Russian Themes.
Samuel Barber composes Knoxville: Summer of 1915, John Cage his Suite for Toy Piano, Howard Hanson his Piano Concerto, Dmitri Kabalevsky his Violin Concerto, Eduard Tubin his Double Bass Concerto, and famous film composer, later to write the scores to the first two Godfather movies, Nino Rota, takes a break from movie music to compose his String Quartet.
Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate Broadway production opened on December 30, 1948 at the New Century Theatre and ran for 1077 performances,
On the extreme, commercial pop-side of music, Kay Kyser with Gloria Wood on vocals score a major hit with a song embedded in my childhood memories, “The Woody Woodpecker Song.” If only the worst pop songs of today, were this good….