Review of LISTENING FOR AMERICA By Rob Kapilow
Started reading this in 2019. Must return to it in 2020. Broadway’s Golden Age will never return, but the songs of the Golden Age will never leave us.
Kapilow ends this enlightening study by stating matter-of-factly and without undue mourning that “the unique moment in time in which the Broadway musical was in sync with and reflected the American zeitgeist — a moment when the songs heard on Broadway were the songs heard and sung throughout the country — has passed and will probably never be recaptured.” Yet, paradoxically, these words and melodies of the Golden Age seem likely to endure forever. For all that composers like Kern hated jazz and pop interpretations of their work — work generally created, after all, for specific scenes and characters in specific musical plays — Kapilow notes that “it is precisely the freedom to take these canonical works — these ‘standards’ — and continually reinterpret them in the multiplicity of musical languages that have evolved over time that has kept the repertoire alive.”