7-National Treasure: America’s Original Classical Composers


First of all, we noticed that Backstage is ranking on Google for the phrase “National Treasure Composer” — sorry about that, and blame the search engine, not us! If that’s how you arrived, Trevor Rabin wrote the score for the movie National Treasure. Quick facts:

  • Born in 1954, Trevor founded the successful South African rock band “Rabbit.”
  • He joined the prog rock band Yes prior to the 90125 album in the early 80’s.
  • His movie scores include Armageddon, Enemy of the State, Jack Frost, Deep Blue Sea, Gone in 60 Seconds, Remember the Titans, The 6th Day, The Banger Sisters, Kangaroo Jack, Bad Boys 2, The Great Raid, Exorcist: The Beginning, National Treasure, Coach Carter, Snakes On A Plane, The Guardian, and Flyboys.
  • More info here

Now on to Backstage Podcast Episode 7. . .

Czech composer Antonín Dvořák is often remembered as someone who made invaluable contributions to American music. He composed his famous “New World Symphony” in the United States, he taught many future American musicians, and he tried to win respect for certain forms of indigenous American folk music. There was only one problem:

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Leonora by William Henry Fry

Listen to Leonora by William Henry Fry: Bio, Links, and Sheet Music

*Scroll Below to Listen to Leonora by William Henry Fry*

If you listened to episode seven of Backstage Podcast, you heard about an American composer named William Henry Fry. You may also remember that we predicted a blog post showcasing his music…

Consider this the fulfillment of that prophecy. Below you’ll find a bit of biography, plus some background to his opera Leonora. If you’re just here to listen to Leonora by William Henry Fry, scroll below–we’ve included links to some listening resources.

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Dwight's Journal of Music Years of Publication

Dwight’s Journal of Music: Links, Overview, and Commentary

We promised some links to Dwight’s Journal of Music, so here you go:

Read Dwight’s Journal of Music via Archive.org: https://archive.org/details/dwightsjournalm20dwiggoog

You can now indulge in all 41 volumes of the first notable music journal in the United States.

Dwight’s Journal of music started off in Boston on April 10, 1852 as a weekly periodical, and it ran consistently until the completion of volume 41 in 1881. There were 26 numbers per volume. I was surprised though–Dwight’s Journal is really interesting.

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We’d Be Nothin’ Without You, Dvorak

We’re about to launch episode 6 of Backstage Podcast, but as you can imagine, we had to make some cuts to the script. That always hurts a little bit.

Fortunately for us, we have a blog to feature our edited material. It’s the kind of stuff that we think is really cool, but it didn’t help the scripted narrative very much–besides, you probably don’t have time to listen to ten hour long shows.

In short, Dvorak had a huge influence on American composers and music. While we talk about some of that in episode 6, here are a few more examples of composers in Dvorak’s “lineage,” as well as some film music that borrowed from Dvorak not-so-discreetly.

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6 – Czech, Please: Dvorak in America


For the sixth episode of Backstage Podcast, join us as we explore the musical and cultural repercussions of Dvorak’s visit to the United States.

Mrs. Jeannette Thurber, the founder of the National Conservatory of Music of America, was determined to bring the influential Czech composer to New York–she succeeded by offering him unprecedented influence and a huge paycheck.

Dvorak sailed into Hoboken in 1892. In his wake came musical change, cultural reconsideration, and a group of very disgruntled American composers.

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Happy Birthday to Aaron Copland!

On November 14, 1900, Aaron Copland came into the world. Years later he would write such famous pieces as Fanfare for the Common Man, Billy the Kid, and Appalachian Spring. He is often considered one of the best composers in the American folk song style. In the video below, he composed a special birthday greeting for the great artist Leonard Bernstein. We think it would be fitting for you to hear Copland’s idea of what a happy birthday song should sound like!

Harry Truman was a Pianist

Did you know that President Harry Truman was a pianist? He wasn’t up to Condoleezza Rice’s standards, but Truman did spend the first fifteen years of his life practicing the piano for two hours per day.

Here’s a video of Truman playing. The piano probably served as a consistent diversion from the world’s first nuclear bomb, fighting against segregation, and proving that he belonged in the oval office.

For you aspiring presidents, keep practicing!

Masao Ohki Hiroshima Symphony

5-Ghosts of Hiroshoma


In this episode we dive into one of Japan’s most iconic 20th century works, the Masao Ohki Hiroshima Symphony.

The United States ended WWII by dropping the world’s first Atomic Bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1946, respectively. The bomb ended the worst conflict in human history and saved the lives of countless US soldiers in the Pacific Theater, but at what cost?

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