Romance and friendship exist in the shadow of darker themes in George Gershwin’s ‘folk opera’, Porgy and Bess, which has occupied a complex spot on the American cultural landscape since its composition. In his depiction of black working class life in 1920s South Carolina, Gershwin crafted a trademark blend of jazz and classical music, tinged with blues and gospel influences.
This sonic cocktail can also be heard in his 1920s-style musical comedy, Girl Crazy. Pairing streetwise New York swagger with cowboys and broncos, the music transports us to two more quintessentially American worlds.
Folk melodies lead the way again in Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs, a collection of ballads, children’s tunes and protest songs built on the open, ‘American-sounding’ harmonies that are so evocative of vast rolling landscapes and pioneering spirit.
This concert will be one hour and 20 minutes long (including an interval).