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Monday, 22 December 2014

Andre Kostelanetz born 22 December 1901

André Kostelanetz (December 22, 1901 – January 13, 1980) was a popular orchestral music conductor and arranger, one of the pioneers of easy listening music.
Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia; educated in Czarist days, he and his family remained there through the early days of the revolution, and Kostelanetz became the assistant conductor at the Petrograd Opera before he reached the age of 20. By 1922, though, the Soviet regime was weeding Imperial influences from the cultural world, and the family emigrated to the United States.
Kostelanetz quickly found work with the Metropolitan Opera as an assistant conductor, and whenCBS radio formed its own studio orchestra, he went to work for them as conductor for classical and light music shows.

Despite his deep roots in classical music, Kostelanetz never turned his nose up at popular music. Instead, he adapted numerous tunes from operattas, musicals, and vaudeville to a symphonic orchestration, and listeners came in flocks. Few pop arrangers could match his background and resources, and, at the time, most classical artists refused to venture away from the grand old repertoire, so Kostelanetz grabbed an early lead and held onto it for much of the next four decades.

Kostelanetz never completely left the classical world. He recorded lighter classical pieces such as Ferde Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite" and Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" over and over again, and had a very successful series of "Operas without Words." He was married to the diva, Lily Pons, and accompanied her in countless performances on stage and radio. He appeared with the New York Philharmonic--albeit in a pops concert--at least once a year well into the 1970s. And he sponsored the first performance and recording of composer Alan Hovanhess' ecological oratorio, "And God Created Great Whales."

 But his main focus was on combining constant improvements in recording technology with a symphonic ensemble and tightly woven and highly polished arrangements to create what we know and love as easy listening--or rather, elevator--music. He recorded a steady 4-6 albums a year for Columbia for over 25 years, and as time went by, he drifted more and more towards contemporary material. If it was in the Billboard Top 10, you stood a good chance of hearing it smoothed out, mellowed down, gently anesthetized, and carefully delivered by Kostelanetz six months to a year later. Not that he ever tackled anything the slightest bit provocative. MGM's Fantabulous Strings might flail away at "The Beat Goes On," but Kostelanetz stuck with the milder "Scarborough" fare.

Outside the United States, one of his best known works was an orchestral arrangement of the tune "With a Song in my Heart", which was the signature tune of a long-running BBC radio program, at first called Forces Favourites, then Family Favourites, and finally Two Way Family Favourites.

He commissioned many works, including Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait, Jerome Kern's Portrait of Mark Twain, William Schuman's New England Triptych, Paul Creston's Frontiers, Ferde Grofé's Hudson River Suite, Virgil Thomson's musical portraits of Fiorello La Guardia and Dorothy Thompson, Alan Hovhaness's Floating World, and Ezra Laderman's Magic Prison. William Walton dedicated his Capriccio burlesco to Kostelanetz, who conducted the first performance and made the first recording, both with the New York Philharmonic. 

Toward the end of his recording career, his name was more of a brand than a true representation of who actually made the music, because nearly all of his output in the 1970s was arranged by others. Some of the arrangers credited on 1970s Kostelanetz albums include Teo Macero, Torrie Zito, Hank Levy, Luther Henderson, Jack Cortner, Eddie Sauter, Claus Ogerman, Jack Pleis, Tommy Newsom, Harold Wheeler, Bobby Scott, LaMont Johnson, Wade Marcus, Patrick Williams, Sammy Nestico, Warren Vincent, Dick Hyman, Jorge Calandrelli and Don Sebesky.

Kostelanetz's last concert was A Night in Old Vienna with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra at that city's War Memorial Opera House on December 31, 1979. 

He died in Haiti on January 13, 1980, aged 78.  (Info edited from Space Age Pop & Wikipedia)


boppinbob said...

For Andre Kostelanetz - The Columbia Album of Richard Rodgers vol.1 / 2 (1958)
Go here:


01.Medley; How Was I To Know~A Ship Without a Sail
02.You Took Advantage of Me
04.Waltzes; Wait 'Till You See Her~The Most Beautiful Girl in the World~Lover~Carousel Waltz
05.Do I Love You (Because You're Beautiful)
06.Ev'ry Sunday Afternoon
07.Have You Meet Miss Jones
08.Over and Over Again
09.Little Girl Blue
10.Thou Swell
11.I Could Write a Book.mp3
12.It's a Grand Night For Singing


01.Loneliness of Evening
Oscar Hammerstein II / Richard Rodgers
02.Oklahoma Medley: Oklahoma! /Out of My Dreams/The Surrey With the Fringe On Top
Oscar Hammerstein II / Richard Rodgers
03.Where's That Rainbow?
Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers
04.My Funny Valentine
Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers
Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers
06.My Romance
Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers
07.You Have Cast Your Shadow on the Sea
Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers
08.South Pacific Medley: Some Enchanted Evening/Wonderful Guy/Younger Than Springtime
Oscar Hammerstein II / Richard Rodgers
09.Quiet Night
Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers
10.Dancing on the Ceiling
Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers
11.With a Song in My Heart
Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers

Unknown said...

Many thanks Bob , Robert