On this day in classical music: Organist and composer Maurice Durufle died in Paris at age 84 in 1986. In 1927, Durufle became Louis Vierne’s assistant at Notre Dame Cathedral. Two years later, Durufle became organist at St-Etienne-du-Mont, a position he held until his death. Between 1943 and 1970, Durufle taught harmony at the Paris Conservatory. In addition to his works for organ, Durufle composed a “Requiem” in 1947. Written in memory of the composer’s father, the nine-movement “Requiem” is scored for choir, orchestra and two soloists. Listen to Christian Barthen play the ”Toccata” from the “Suite No. 5.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NURM-nkP94
On this day in the musical theatre: The curiously-named musical “Flahooley” closed on Broadway in 1951. With a score by Sammy Fain and E.Y. Harburg, “Flahooley” told the tale of the world’s largest toy company and a laughing doll (named Flahooley). Harburg was prompted to write the musical after he was blacklisted a year earlier. Starring Barbara Cook in her Broadway debut, along with Peruvian singer Yma Sumac, “Flahooley” featured puppets by Bil and Cora Baird. Despite its more lighthearted elements, the show was a parody of Joseph McCarthy and his anti-Communist witch hunts.
Musical musings: “Flahooley,” like the Harburg-Saidy “Finian’s Rainbow,” was a fantasy underlying contemporary social satire. The targets this time were conformity and big business, and the “Flahooley” burnings and genie hunts were comments on the tactics of Senator McCarthy. But “Flahooley” was never solemn or preachy, and it contains a fascinating score. Fain wrote his best Broadway tunes for the show, and Harburg contributed his customary marvelous lyrics.