Aug 20, 2015
December will make the centennial celebration of the birth of Francis Albert Sinatra – Ol’ Blue Eyes, the Chairman of the Board. Perhaps the most iconic male singer – if not of all genders – of the jazz age, Sinatra made his mark on American culture by excelling as a recording artist, performer and movie actor. From his days as the teen idol who made the bobbysoxers swoon with the Harry James Big Band, through his years of growth as mature interpreter of the Great American Song Book, Sinatra was a one of a kind talent.
As part of Tanglewood’s “One Day University” program in Lenox, Massachusetts on Sunday August 23, Anna Harwell Celenza, the Thomas E. Caestecker Professor of Music at Georgetown University and the author of several scholarly books, including Music as Cultural Mission: Explorations of Jesuit Practices in Italy and North America, will lecture on the topic “A Sinatra Centennial: What Made Old Blue Eyes Great?”
Ms. Celenza’s work has also appeared in The Hopkins Review, Musical Quarterly, Nineteenth-Century Music, Notes, The Cambridge Companion to Liszt (2005), and Franz Liszt and His World (2006) and The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington (2014) . In addition to her scholarly work, she has authored a series of award-winning children's books with Charlesbridge Publishing: The Farewell Symphony (2000), Pictures at an Exhibition (2003), The Heroic Symphony (2004), Bach's Goldberg Variations (2005), Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (2006), Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite (2011), Vivaldi's Four Seasons (2012), Saint-Saëns's Danse macabre (2013) and a 14-part syndicated series on Louis Armstrong for the NC Press Foundation. She is currently finishing work on a new scholarly book Jazz Italian Style about Jazz in Italy between the World Wars, as well as two new children's books, one on Louis Armstrong, the other on Mozart.
Podcast 491 is my conversation with Ms. Celenza, as we discuss the various aspects of Sinatra’s career to determine just why he has remained a major cultural figure 100 years after his death. Musical selections include “Come Fly with Me”; collaborations with arranger Nelson Riddle on “Sleep Warm” and “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning”; “Something”; and a live version of “Witchcraft” from a show recorded at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas in April 1987.