On this day in classical music: Russian composer Anatoly Liadov was born in 1855. In 1909, Sergei Diaghilev commissioned Liadov to compose a new ballet score for his Ballets Russes. Liadov labored over the work but with the season quickly approaching, a young Igor Stravinsky was pressed into service. The latter’s work, “The Firebird,” made Stravinsky an international success. Today, Liadov is often remembered as a miniaturist, with such works as “Baba Yaga,” “Kikimora” and “The Enchanted Lake.” Listen to the USSR Symphony Orchestra play “Baba Yaga.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAzItLBNs3w
On this day in the musical theatre: Rock music and the musical theater finally merged successfully in the 1968 hit “Hair.” Known as “The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical,” “Hair” reflected the passionate, sometimes violent culture that was playing out in American society. The musical celebrated the sexual revolution of the 1960s through songs ranging from “Hashish” and “Sodomy” to “Good Morning Starshine” and “Let the Sunshine In.” The show ran more than four years. A successful revival opened in New York in 2009 and won a Tony Award for best revival.
Theatrica musings: The youth of America, especially those on college campuses, started protesting all the things that they saw wrong with America: racism, environmental destruction, poverty, sexism and sexual repression, violence at home and the war in Vietnam, depersonalization from new technologies, and corruption in politics…. Contrary to popular opinion, the hippies had great respect for America and believed that they were the true patriots, the only ones who genuinely wanted to save our country and make it the best it could be once again…. [Long] hair was the hippies’ flag – their… symbol not only of rebellion but also of new possibilities, a symbol of the rejection of discrimination and restrictive gender roles. It symbolized equality between men and women. – Scott Miller