On this day in classical music: French composer and conductor Manuel Rosenthal was born in Paris in 1904. During a career that spanned more than 50 years, Rosenthal held conducting posts with the Orchestre National de France, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique de Liège and the Metropolitan Opera. Despite having written numerous works for orchestra, chorus and the stage, his ballet arrangement of Offenbach melodies, titled “Gaîté Parisienne,” remains his best-known work. Listen to an excerpt from “Gaîté Parisienne.” Sir George Solti conducts the London Philharmonic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duiFPWblODc
On this day in the musical theatre: William Finn’s musical “A New Brain” opened off-Broadway in 1998. The autobiographical musical dealt with arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal connection between veins and arteries. Finn composed many of the songs shortly after his release from the hospital and later fashioned them into a musical that starred Oklahoman Kristin Chenoweth.
Musical musings: Nearly 60 years after Manuel Rosenthal culled a collection of polkas, waltzes and mazurkas from operettas by Jacques Offenbach to create the ballet score “Gaîté Parisienne,” the 92-year old conductor went into the recording studio to record this popular suite one last time. Released on the Naxos label, the ballet springs to life as if conducted by a much younger man.