Sunday, July 9
Today we note the birth and death anniversaries of two major American composers of the 20th century.
On today's date in 1915, American composer David Diamond was born in Rochester, New York. In 1940, Aaron Copland introduced Diamond to the Greek conductor Dmitri Mitropoulos, who was at that time the music director of the Minneapolis Symphony. Mitropoulos became one of Diamond's early supporters and commissioned one of his best known works—a composition titled "Rounds for String Orchestra." Diamond recalled that Mitropoulos, perhaps to counterbalance his controversial advocacy of challenging modern composers in Minneapolis, had specifically asked Diamond for an upbeat piece of music. "Write me a HAPPY work," asked Mitropoulos. "These are distressing times, most of the difficult music I play is distressing. Make me happy!" The 29-year old composer responded with his popular "Rounds for String Orchestra," which Mitropoulos premiered in Minneapolis in 1944.
Also on today's date, in 1984, the American composer and teacher Randall Thompson died in Boston at the age of 85. Randall Thompson wrote three symphonies and some fine chamber works, but HIS best-known piece of music is this choral setting of "Allelujah" which was first performed at the opening of the Berkshire Music Center at Lenox, Massachusetts, in the summer of 1940, when Thompson was 41 years old.
David Diamond died on June 13, 2005, one month short of his 90th birthday.
Music Played in Today's Program
David Diamond (1915 - 2005) Rounds Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Gerard Schwarz, cond. Nonesuch 79002
Randall Thompson (1899 - 1984) Alleluia Dale Warland Singers; Dale Warland, cond. MPR 201