Music: Earthbound

An 85-voice men's chorus sang: Though they had wings on the brain, They all went flat on their nose. . . . Narrator Orson Welles reverently intoned: "Wait, I thought I heard a child crying. . . ."

The words were the kind of stuff that Norman Corwin writes—sometimes graphic, frequently inflated. In the background, Leonard Bernstein's New York City Symphony played music that had more than a touch of Shostakovich. It was the première of The Airborne Symphony, Marc (The Cradle Will Rock) Blitzstein's 50-minute history of aviation for orchestra, chorus, speaker and soloists.

He wrote The Airborne in London in 1943,...

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