Dukelsky, Vladimir (Alexandrovich)
Dukelsky, Vladimir (Alexandrovich)
Dukelsky, Vladimir (Alexandrovich), versatile Russian- born American composer who used the name Vernon Duke; b. Parfianovka, Oct. 10, 1903; d. Santa Monica, Calif., Jan. 16, 1969. He was a student of Gliere (1916–19) and Dombrovsky (1917–19) at the Kiev Cons. After living in Constantinople (1920–21), he went to N.Y. in 1922 and to Paris in 1924, where Diaghilev commissioned him to write the ballet Zephyr et Flore (Monte Carlo, April 28, 1925); he also found a champion in Koussevitzky, who conducted his works in Paris and later in Boston. After composing for the London stage (1926–29), he returned to N.Y and studied orchestration with Schillinger (1934–35). In 1936 he became a naturalized American citizen. Upon settling in the U.S., Dukelsky pursued a dual career as a composer of both serious and popular music. At George Gershwin’s suggestion, he adopted the name Vernon Duke for his popular scores, and in 1955 he dropped his real name entirely.
He scored his greatest success with the Broadway musical Cabin in the Sky (Oct. 25,1940), which was also made into a film (1943). His amusing autobiography was publ. as Passport to Paris (Boston, 1955); he also wrote the polemical book Listen Here! A Critical Essay on Music Depreciation (N.Y, 1963).
DRAMATI C (all 1st perf. in N.Y. unless other-wise given):R e v u e s : Walk a Little Faster (Dec. 7, 1932); Ziegfsld Follies of 1934 (Jan. 4, 1934); Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 (Jan. 30, 1936); The Show is On (Dec. 25, 1936); Dancing in the Streets (Boston, 1943); Sweet Bye and Bye (New Haven, Conn., Oct. 10, 1946); Two’s Company (Dec. 15, 1952). O p e r e t t a : Yvonne (London, May 22, 1926; in collaboration with J. Gilbert). M u -s i c a l C o m e d y : The Yellow Mask (London, Feb. 8,1928). M u s i c a l s : Cabin in the Sky (Oct. 25, 1940; film version in collaboration with H. Arlen, 1943); Banjo Eyes (Dec. 25, 1941); The Lady Comes Across (Jan. 9,1942); Jackpot (Jan. 13,1944); Sadie Thompson (Nov. 16, 1944). Opera : Mistress into Maid (Santa Barbara, Calif., 1958); Zenda (San Francisco, Aug. 1963). I n c i d e n t a l M u s i c : Time Remembered (1957). B a l l e t : Zephyr et Flore (Monte Carlo, April28, 1925); Public Gardens (Chicago, March 8, 1935); Le bal des blanchisseuses (Paris, Dec. 19, 1946); Emperor Norton (San Francisco, 1957); Lady Blue (1961). F i l m : April in Paris (1952); She’s Working Her Way Through College (1952); also completed G. Gershwin’s The Goldwyn Follies (1938). ORCH.: Piano Concerto (1924); 3 syms.: No. 1 (1927–28; Paris, June 14, 1928), No. 2 (1928–30; Boston, April 25, 1930), and No. 3 (Brussels Radio, Oct. 10, 1947); Ballade for Piano and Chamber Orch. (1931); Violin Concerto (Boston, March 19, 1943); Ode to the Milky Way (1945; N.Y, Nov. 18,1946); Cello Concerto (1945; Boston, Jan. 4, 1946); Variations on an Old Russian Chant for Oboe and Strings (1958). CHAMBER : Trio (Variations) for Flute, Bassoon, and Piano (1930); Capriccio mexicano for Violin and Piano (1939); Etude for Violin and Bassoon (1939); 3 Pieces for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, and Piano (1946); Nocturne for 6 Wind Instruments and Piano (1947); 2 violin sonatas (1948, 1960); String Quartet (1956). Piano : Sonata (1928); 2 pieces (1930); Printemps (1931); N.Y. Nocturne (1939); Surrealist Suite (1940); Vieux cane (1940); Homage to Boston (1943); 3 Caprices (1944); Music for Moderns for 6 Players (1944); Parisian Suite (1955); Souvenir de Venise (1955); Serenade to San Francisco (1956). VOCAL: Dushenka for Women’s Voices and Orch. (1927); Epitaph for Soprano, Chorus, and Orch. (Boston, April 15, 1932); Dedicaces for Soprano, Piano, and Orch. (1934; Boston, Dec. 16, 1938); The End of St. Petersburg, oratorio (1937; N.Y, Jan. 12, 1938); Moulin-Rouge for Soprano, 6 Voices, and Piano (1944); Paris aller et retour, cantata for Chorus and Piano (1948). S o n g s : Triolets for the North, song cycle (1922);(8) Poesies de Hyppolite Bogdanovitch (1927–30); 5 poesies (1930); I’m Only Human After All (1930); Autumn in N.Y. (1935); 3 Chinese Songs (1937); 5 Victorian Songs (1942); 5 Victorian Street Ballads (1944); Ogden Nash’s Musical Zoo, 20 songs (1947); La boheme et mon coeur, 7 songs (1949); A Shropshire Lad, 6 songs (1949); 4 songs (1955).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire