George Antheil - A Jazz Symphony

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Fl. 3Klar. 3Trp. 3Trb. Pno. Perc. Str.Quintet
G.Schirmer Rental Library
This composition has been played by the Ebony Band

Antheil wrote his 'Jazz Symphony' in 1925; the first performance took place at an all-Antheilconcert in Carnegie Hall on April 10, 1927. The piece was played by an all-black orchestra (except for Antheil himself at the piano) of the Father of the Blues W.C.Handy.

Antheil wrote about this event the following comment :  
"Post-dating 'Rhapsodie in Blue' only slightly, it is one of the very first symphonic expressionm s which attempted to synthecize American jazz as a legitimate artistic expression; and, if for no other reason, is historically (perhaps) interesting on that account. It was played by an all-negro orchestra assembled by Handy, and received an ovation at its premiere - a fact usually forgotten because of the scandal of the 'Ballet Mécanique' which followed it."

Other sources are speaking of a 'moderate succes'. And with the performance of the 'Ballet Mécanique', that caused a sensation at its first perfomance back in Paris, he didn't conquer the US the way he had been hoping for.

The 'Jazz Symphony' was premiered in the Netherlands in the 1970s, played by an extended Netherlands Wind Ensemble conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw.
A recording was released on Harlekijn Holland Productions (which became Philips later on).