Sunday, February 21, 2016

Today -100: February 21, 1916: Futurist music?

The Battle of Verdun begins. The Germans attack, as was the custom.

Denmark is again trying to sell the Danish West Indies to the United States, motivated in part by a recent strike by the natives. Next year it will sell the colony to the US, lock stock and ungrateful black people. It will be renamed the US Virgin Islands.

At the Hippodrome in New York, Charlie Chaplin takes over as conductor from John Philip Sousa “with apparent knowledge of how to do it and with a great variety of gestures,” conducting his own composition “The Peace March” (he’s just started a music business sideline, which won’t last long - did you know his first Academy Award was for composing the music for Limelight in 1952? I did). The program also features pianist/composer Leo Ornstein, who “played some real and some futurist music.”

Rosa Luxemburg is released from prison. She won’t be out very long.

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  1. According to IMDb Chaplin's first Oscar was in 1972, an honorary award for contributions to the film industry. Although, he won an award for best music for the 1952 film "Limelight", it wasn't until 1973 because the film was not released until 1972.

  2. It was released when it was made, but not widely in the US, because stupidity. Good, if flawed, movie, great music.

  3. After "The Great Dictator" in 1940, Chaplin had a hard time doing anything in Hollywood, despite his former popular appeal. Will have to check out he film, I have never seen anything by Chaplin I would consider bad.

  4. I wouldn't blame Hollywood. Not too much anyway. Chaplin was often his own worst enemy (the 2 years it took to make City Lights), and had difficulty adjusting to sound and leaving the Little Tramp behind. And the less said about Monsieur Verdoux or Countess from Hong Kong the better. A King in New York is more interesting than entertaining, taking on McCarthyism. I appreciate that he was trying new things late in his career, but he seems to have lost a lot of his instinctive understanding of his audience.