George Antheil

The work of George Antheil, the self-proclaimed "bad boy of music," is marked by sustained rhythmic vitality, harmonic pungency, and melodic vigor. Born on 8 July 1900 in Trenton, New Jersey, Antheil studied with Constantin von Sternberg, Ernest Bloch, and with Clark Smith at the Philadelphia Conservatory. In 1922, he traveled to Europe to pursue a career as a concert pianist, performing in recital many of his own works such as Mechanisms, Airplane Sonata, and Sonata Sauvage. The riots that often ensued contributed to the composer's growing notoriety. In Berlin, he met Stravinsky who became an important influence on his compositional style.

The Parisian artistic community, including Joyce, Pound, Yeats, Satie, Picasso, and others, championed Antheil as musical spokesman for their modernist ideas. His crowning achievement during this period would be the spectacular Ballet mécanique, a milestone in the literature for percussion ensemble. The piece literally shattered conventions and, in a production complete with airplane propellers, created an uproar at its 1927 American premiere in Carnegie Hall.

Later, Antheil would adopt neo-romantic and neo-classic elements such as in the Symphonie en fa and Piano Concerto. In 1936, he settled in Hollywood and began writing film scores. The last 20 years of his life would be a fertile period, producing four symphonies as well as several operas including the farcical Volpone. A remarkable achievement in satire and caricature, Volpone is set to a musical score that combines a heterogeneous harmonic language with thematic versatility, rhythmic energy, mosaic construction, and colorfully programmatic timbres - all hallmarks of the mature Antheil style.

Composed in Berlin in the 1920s, Antheil's Piano Concerto No. 1 had its world premiere in March 2001, and its Berlin premiere in February 2002. Pianist Michael Rische was the soloist in both performances, first with the BBC Symphony, then with the Berlin Philharmonic. Also new to the Schirmer Rental Library are the new edition of Ballet mécanique with MIDI software for performance with player pianos and the arrangment of A Jazz Symphony for piano and 11 instruments by Milton Phibbs, premiered by 20th Century Unlimited.

April 2002
Source: http://www.schirmer.com

He was not just a composer.

Literature: Bad Boy of Music, Autobiography.

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
1922 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No 1 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Michael Rische - Piano
Bamberger Symphoniker cond. Christoph Poppen

1922 Airplane Sonata 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Marcel Worms - Piano

1923 Sonatina "Death of the Machines" 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Vladimir Soupel - Piano

1923 Sonatina "Death of the Machines" 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Stefen Schleiermacher - Piano

1923 Little Shimmy 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Stefen Schleiermacher - Piano

1923 Violin Sonata No 1 No 2 4.00 stars LP
Antheil Comments:
No 1 for violin and piano
No 2 for violin, piano and drums

Vera Beths - Violin

1924 Ballet mécanique 4.00 stars LP
Antheil Comments:
This is from the bad boy of music's greatest hits. This is between Ives and Cage, but not necessarily in quality.

Performed by the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Reinbert de Leeuw and Vera Beths.

Those were the day's!!
The music was used by Fernand Léger for his cubust movie.
Click here for a clip.

Yes I almost forgot. Antheil and Hedy Lamarr, the movie-star, together invented a guidance system for submarine-torpedo's. The US Army kept it as a top-secret. The patents are still valid.

Now let me think, I nice joke could be made about these two and their torpedo. Or is that too sexist nowadays?

1925 Jazz Symphony 4.00 stars LP
Antheil Comments:
Written for Paul Whiteman.

Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Reinbert de Leeuw

1925-1927 Jazz Symphony 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Michael Rische - Piano
Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin cond. Wayne Marchell

1935 Archipelago Rhumba 4.00 stars CD
Antheil Comments:

Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Barry Kolman

1939 Symphony No 3 "American" 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Frankfurt Radio Symphony cond. Hugh Wolff

1945-1946 Symphony No 5 4.00 stars CD
Antheil Comments:

Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Barry Kolman

1948 Piano Sonata No. 4 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Vladimir Soupel - Piano

1948 McKonkey's Ferry Overture 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Frankfurt Radio Symphony cond. Hugh Wolff

1948 Hot Time Dance 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Frankfurt Radio Symphony cond. Hugh Wolff

1949 Tom Sawyer Overture (California Overture) 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Frankfurt Radio Symphony cond. Hugh Wolff

1953 Capital of the World 4.00 stars CD
Antheil Comments:

Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Barry Kolman

1953 Capital of the World 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Frankfurt Radio Symphony cond. Hugh Wolff