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Marc Blitzstein: a brief biography
1941 - 1949
MB in London during WWII
MB, Bernstein, Robert Shaw during rehearsals for the Airborne
Partying with Bernstein
During World War Two, Blitzstein joined the US Army Eighth Air Force. He had no reservation about joining in the fight against fascism, and his abilities were used as music director of the American broadcasting station in London.

He composed FREEDOM MORNING (1943), a symphonic poem for orchestra (premiered in London at the Royal Albert Hall in September 1943), and, after a nerve-racking audition to a group of Generals he was commissioned by the USAF to write a large scale choral piece. This was to become the AIRBORNE SYMPHONY (1946), for soloists, male voice choir and orchestra.

The piece was, however, nearly lost, as Blitzstein's papers disappeared in transit from England to America. The missing score subsequently reappeared, although not before he had recomposed the first movement. On re-examination, he felt that his recomposed opening was an improvment, and it was this version that was performed with Orson Welles as narrator and Leonard Bernstein conducting in New York in 1946.

It received a somewhat lukewarm reception, largely due to the general public desire to put the war behind them, and despite an award winning recording made shortly after the premiere, the AIRBORNE has never gained a place in the repertoire.
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