On this day in classical music: George Crumb’s “Echoes of Time and the River” was given its premiere in Chicago in 1967. The work’s subtitle, “Four Processionals for Orchestra,” is literal in the sense that various performers do enter and leave the stage as they perform. The suite’s movements have evocative titles: “Frozen Time,” “Remembrance of Time,” “Collapse of Tiime” and “Last Echoes of Time.” Crumb frequently employed unusual sounds in his music; this work features vocal outbursts of nonsense syllables and a xylophonist tapping out the composer’s name in Morse code. “Echoes of Time and the River” won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1967. The Louisville Orchestra, under the direction of Jorge Mester, performs Crumb’s “Echoes.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfv2A2TVTkc
On this day in the musical theatre: Five years after her 1959 successful debut in “Once Upon a Mattress,” Carol Burnett returned to Broadway in “Fade Out – Fade In,” a musical spoof of the 1930s Hollywood scene, with nods to Shirley Temple and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. During the production’s somewhat forced run of 271 performances, Burnett was involved in a taxi accident that resulted in a neck injury. The production shut down during her recuperation but by the time she was able to return to the production, the show had lost momentum and quickly closed.
Musical musings: “Fade Out — Fade In” had originally been scheduled to open in November 1963. When Burnett announced that she was pregnant, the production was placed on hold. “Fade Out — Fade In” had a substantial advance, all of which had to be refunded. Twenty actors with Equity contracts were given a two-week salary settlement in lieu of steady work.
The “Fade Out” affair did not damage Burnett’s career. She went on to head the cast of a variety show that would run from 1967 to 1978. During “The Carol Burnett Show’s” decade-long run, Burnett became one of television’s most beloved stars.
It wasn’t until 1995 — at the age of 62, and 30 years after “Fade Out” — that Burnett finally returned to Broadway. Her talents were undiminished, but her diminished ticket-selling power was not enough to withstand the weaknesses of “Moon Over Buffalo.” Burnett made another visit in 1999 with the Stephen Sondheim revue “Putting It Together,” but star and show met with public apathy and a disappointing three-month run. – From Second Act Trouble: Behind the Scenes at Broadway’s Big Musical Bombs, by Steven Suskin.