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An American in Paris

January 13, 7:30 pm10:00 pm

Touhill Performing Arts Center
1 Touhill Circle
St. Louis, 63121

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Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Scott Andrews, clarinet

Darius Milhaud La Création du monde
Igor Stravinsky  Ebony Concerto
Kurt Weill Suite from The Threepenny Opera
George Gershwin An American in Paris

We take a detour through jazz-mad Europe. Darius Milhaud, Igor Stravinsky, and Kurt Weill all fell in love with American jazz, and their sassy music bears its stamp. SLSO Principal Clarinetist Scott Andrews rocks and wails in Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto. Kurt Weill’s Suite from The Threepenny Opera includes hits like “Mack the Knife,” and the program ends with the honking horns and swaggering tunes of Gershwin’s An American in Paris.

A few things to know:

  • At the center of The Threepenny Opera is Macheath, a career criminal who wants to marry Polly, daughter of Mr. Peachum, the King of the Beggars. Much skullduggery ensues. Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s work, based on The Beggar’s Opera, is a withering indictment of the hypocrisy of “polite society.”
  • Stravinsky said that jazz as a musical form was “unrivaled. I can never get enough of it to satisfy me.” Still, Ebony Concerto’s dedicatee Woody Herman found the concerto almost unplayable: “we were all so embarrassed we were nearly crying. Stravinsky walked over and put his arm around me and said, ‘Ah, what a beautiful family you have.’”

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