Composers Datebook®

with host John Zech

Friday, August 3

Bennett and Sousa at Bat

Synopsis

In the summer of 1941, the winds of war hadn’t yet blown to Pearl Harbor, the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn, and all was pretty much right with the world as we knew it. The Dodgers were doing very well—so well that they would eventually win the pennant, only to lose the World Series to the hated Yankees that October. But in August of ‘41, the ignominious defeat was still a few months off, and Brooklyn fans were understandably optimistic.

One of them was the American composer Robert Russell Bennett, whose “Symphony in D” premiered on August 4th of that year. The composer let it be known that the “D” stood for “Dodgers.”

Bennett’s “Dodgers’ Symphony” was performed but never published. We’re not sure if the Dodger’s eventual defeat had anything to do with that, but let the record state the Dodgers eventually did beat the Yankees in the 1955 World Series.

Unfortunately, two years after that victory, the Dodgers' owner, Walter O’Malley, moved the team to Los Angeles. At the time, many in Brooklyn agreed with two sports columnists when they named the three most evil men of the 20th century as "Hitler, Stalin, and Walter O'Malley."

Another composer and avid baseball fan was John Philip Sousa. Sousa’s march “The National Game” was composed in 1925 at the request of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, major league baseball’s first high commissioner.

In his march, Sousa includes some interesting percussive effects involving, what else, a baseball bat!

Music Played in Today's Program

John Philip Sousa (1854 - 1932) The National Game Royal Artillery Band; Keith Brion, cond. Naxos 8. 559092

Additional Information

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