Marc Blitzstein: Moll’s Song

Written by Michael Barrett

Associate Artistic Director, NYFOS

In category: Song of the Day

Published October 22, 2019

We are gearing up for a concert performance of Marc Blitzstein’s No For An Answer on Nov. 19 at Merkin Concert HallNo For An Answer came together in 1941 and had a very short run over a few weekends at what is now City Center. No For An Answer was Blitzstein’s follow-up to his 1936 The Cradle Will Rock. Known as “agitation propaganda” (agit prop) in the Brechtian tradition, Cradle caught an important slice of the American zeitgeist when labor was beginning to organize against big business. This is also the central theme of Cradle. Blitzstein’s musical style is often compared to Kurt Weill’s. They wrote in the language of the common man and woman. And Blitzstein would easily move between spoken language (often in a a specific rhythm) and song. He sought “actors who could sing a little” rather than opera singers. Here is the opening number of The Cradle Will Rock. The young Patti LuPone is joined by Tim Robbins and Henry Stram. Your truly is at the piano. It was my first musical job in NYC. 1984.

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Michael Barrett is the co-founder and associate artistic director of New York Festival of Song, as well as the co-founder and music director of the Moab Music Festival in Utah. A conductor and a pianist, Michael was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein and serves as music advisor to the Leonard Bernstein Estate.


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