Today's Composers Datebook, although it does not pertain strictly to wind music, does mention two composers familiar to wind music fans. Enjoy!
Composers Datebook audio (8/23)
Barney Google meets Igor Stravinsky?
On today's date in 1944, the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky completed an orchestral score he titled "Scènes de Ballet " or "Ballet Scenes." Now, considering Stravinsky had achieved international fame for his earlier ballet scores for "The Firebird," "Petroushka" and "The Rite of Spring," perhaps the generic title "Ballet Scenes" was not all that surprising.
What was surprising was that the commission for this 1944 score came from an unusual source -- Broadway. New York impresario and nightclub owner Billy Rose had achieved fame the previous year for his Broadway production of "Carmen Jones," an updated American version of Bizet's opera "Carmen" with an all-black cast and a jazzed-up score. Rose decided to capitalize on this popular success with something more upscale and "highbrow."
Rose conceived of a stage review titled "The Seven Lively Arts," and for the dance component decided to commission the most famous living composer of ballet scores, Igor Stravinsky, who was then living in Los Angeles.
Rose liked the score when he heard it played on the piano, but he thought Stravinsky's orchestration a bit too far-out, and this led to a famous coast-to-coast telegraph exchange. After a preview performance in Philadelphia, Rose sent this telegram message to Stravinsky: "Great success, but could be sensational success if you would authorize Robert Russell Bennett to retouch orchestration." Stravinsky telegraphed this reply to Billy Rose: "Satisfied with great success."