Vernon Duke

These notes are from the sheet music. Author unknown.

Vernon Duke was born Vladimir Dukelsky at Pskoff, Russia, October 10, 1903. A child prodigy in music, he was educated at Kiev Conservatory, where he studied with Rheinhold Gliere. His family left Russia in 1920 and he traveled through Europe, earning a haphazard living as a pianist. His first American visit in 1922 brought a variety of ssignments and resulted in a deep friendship with the late George Gershwin, who was responsible for Dukelsky's first jazz efforts, and also his anglicized pen-name of Vernon Duke.

Back in Europe in 1924, he wrote successful ballets for Diaghilev, two symphonies for Serge Koussevitsky (the second of which has had performances in Boston, Chicago, London, Warsaw and Paris). At this time he also began writing popular music for the London stage. His first complete score was that for "The Yellow Mask" (1928), the successful Edgar Wallace operetta.

He returned to America in 1929 and was signed by the Paramount Studios when he began writing for the New York stage. Duke's first American hit song appeared in the last "Garrick Gaieties" (1930). Subsequently, he contributed to the scores of "Three's A Crowd", "Americana", "Shoot The Works", and "Thumbs Up". These were followed by the complete scores for "Walk A Little Faster", (1932), "The Ziegfeld Follies", (1934 and 1936), as well as the bulk of the music for "The Show Is On", (1937). At George Gershwin's untimely death, Vernon Duke was selected by Samuel Goldwyn to complete the unfinished score of "The Goldwyn Follies", for which he wrote two ballets. He has recently completed the score for a projected musical play entitled "The Carousel".

Meanwhile, as Vladimir Dukelsky, he was busy giving expression to his artistic aspirations in two new ballets, "Public Gardens" (produced in both London and New York by the Ballet Russe) and "Entr'acte"; an oratorio, "The End of St. Petersburg" (performed by the Schola Cantorum at Carnegie Hall in 1938) and "Dedicaces", a species of piano concerto (given by the Boston Symphony in Boston and New York in 1939).

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midi Back Bay

"BACK BAY" is the third in a series of instrumental compositions portraying distinctive features of leading American metropolises - in this instance, Boston. The mood and dignity of The Hub's residential sector is imprinted in the vivid melodies of Vernon Duke's atmospheric "BACK BAY," inspired by a typical "coming-out" party, depicted in a brilliant waltz. In conclusion, the first theme returns grandioso and draws to a majestic close.

midi New York Nocturne

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