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Marc Blitzstein

March 2, 1905 - January 22, 1964
born in Philadelphia, PA, composed during the Modern period
American composer Marc Blitzstein (1905-1964) was a major composer in the left-leaning American theater of the 1930s, particularly through his musical The Cradle Will Rock (1936), and a direct influence on Leonard Bernstein. Beginning in an explicitly modernist vein, Blitzstein simplified his music in accord with the socialist dictum that music should serve the people. Subsequent stage works, such as the opera Regina (1949), met with mixed reviews but his English-language adaptation of Brecht-Weill's The Threepenny Opera (1953) proved Blitzstein's greatest success. Tragically, while in the process of composing an opera supported by a Ford Foundation grant, Blitzstein was murdered in Martinique. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis , Rovi
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In 1958, Blitzstein was subpoenaed to appear before the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Appearing first in a closed session, Blitzstein admitted his membership in the Communist Party (ending in 1949) and, challenging the right of HUAC to question him at all, refused to name names or cooperate any further.
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Leonard Bernstein said that Blitzstein's contribution to the American musical theatre was "incalculabl e . "
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His simple score for "The Spanish Earth" is fascinating and on point.
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I was afraid to research the circumstance s of the composer's murder for fear his beliefs were what aroused the killer's lethal animosity. Sadly, it turns out his death in Martinique had more to do with his orientation, which is at least as mortifying. Despite his imposed ''simplifica t i o n ' ' of his own work, Blitzstein's 1930 Scherzo shows a lot of compositiona l integrity, both intellectual l y and musically. I'll be listening to him often.

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