Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Appalachian Spring

Music History Monday: An American Classic

On this day in 1944 – 73 years ago – Aaron Copland’s ballet Appalachian Spring was first performed by the Martha Graham Dance Company in Washington, DC. From that moment, it has been embraced as being “as American as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie!” Now there’s a familiar cliché: “as American as baseball, hot dogs and apple pie.” Except that not a single one of those presumably “American” things is American in origin, any more than the vast majority of “Americans” is actually American in origin. We are told that “baseball and the other modern bat, ball and running games – such as cricket and rounders – were developed from folk games in early Britain and Continental Europe (such as France and Germany). Early forms of baseball had a number of names, including ‘base ball’, ‘goal ball’, ‘round ball’, ‘fetch-catch’, ‘stool ball’, and, simply, ‘base.’” As for hot dogs, the German city of Frankfurt is credited as being the birthplace of a sausage called a “frankfurter”. In Germany, the sausage was colloquially referred to as a “dachshund” or “little dog” because of its resemblance to a dachshund. It was around 1870 that an enterprising German immigrant named Charles Feltman began […]

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