On this day in classical music: Irving Fine’s “Partita” for winds was given its premiere by the New Art Wind Quintet in New York City in 1949. Fine was a member of a group of mid-20th century Boston composers who were sometimes referred to as the “Boston Six.” Other members included Arthur Berger, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Lukas Foss and Harold Shapero. Composer Virgil Thomson once singled out Fine’s “unusual melodic grace” while Aaron Copland noted the “elegance, style, finish and…convincing continuity” of Fine’s music. Listen to members of the Houston Youth Symphony perform the Introduction, Theme and Variation from Fine’s “Partita.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn_EUACBPx8
On this day in the musical theatre: “Crazy for You,” a hit musical that recycled tunes by George and Ira Gershwin, opened on Broadway in 1992. Featuring a book by Ken Ludwig, “Crazy for You” was largely based on the Gershwins’ 1930 musical “Girl Crazy.” Directed by Mike Ockrent and choreographed by Susan Stroman, “Crazy for You” won the 1992 Tony Award for Best Musical and ran for 1,622 performances. The cast included Jodi Benson, Harry Groener, Bruce Adler, Beth Leavel and Jane Connell. Watch Groener and company perform the lively “I Can’t Be Bothered Now” on the 1992 Tony Awards broadcast. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuowOIxP2es
Musical musings: When future historians try to find the exact moment at which Broadway finally rose up to grab the musical back from the British, they just may conclude that the revolution began last night. The shot was fired at the Shubert Theater, where a riotously entertaining show called “Crazy for You” uncorked the American musical’s classic blend of music, laughter, dancing, sentiment and showmanship with a freshness and confidence rarely seen during the “Cats” decade. “Crazy for You” scrapes away decades of cabaret and jazz and variety-show interpretations to reclaim the Gershwins’ standards, in all their glorious youth, for the dynamism of the stage.
“In 2,000 years, there has been one resurrection, and it wasn’t a theater,” goes one of the evening’s many show-biz one-liners. But in the secular land of Broadway, starved musical-theater audiences can’t be blamed for at least dreaming that “Crazy for You” heralds a second coming. – Frank Rich in The New York Times