Thursday, July 14, 2016

Who was William Schuman?

The screenshot may give you an inkling to the question in this entry's title. William Schuman was a contestant on What's My Line.

That's not all he did, of course. Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout reminds us that Mr. Schuman was also a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and arts administrator. (Does everybody win a Pulitzer sooner or later?) Terry makes the point that William Schuman is now largely forgotten, which is certainly true. I confess that I had no idea who he was, on WML or anywhere else. He could make a nice triple stumper on Final Jeopardy.

Terry lauds a piece of music by Schuman called American Festival Overture. You can listen to it on YouTube. I sampled a few minutes but it sounded pretty dated, almost like 1950s movie music. Second-hand Aaron Copland, you might say.

One funny (and sort of sad) note: much of William Schuman's Wikipedia article is spent on his WML appearance. His turn on the show sure gets much more detailed attention than any of his musical works. He was a lively guest, sparring with the panelists until Bennett Cerf finally guessed him. Wikipedia still recalls his time on a game show, even if most people have forgotten his music.

No comments:

Post a Comment