The underappreciated Leroy Anderson

Posted on: February 11, 2020

“Like Norman Rockwell, Leroy Anderson found his niche in an underappreciated arena of American popular culture,” writes Joshua Kosman in Sunday’s (2/9) San Francisco Chronicle. “Anderson, who died in 1975 at 66, did just one thing, and he did it surpassingly well. He wrote short orchestral entertainments, mostly for Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops…. This is a good time to celebrate Anderson’s quirky genius, which is circumscribed but genuine. Beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 11, his music returns to the War Memorial Opera House with the San Francisco Ballet’s revival of Mark Morris’ ebullient ‘Sandpaper Ballet.’ … Anderson’s orchestral baubles turn out to be just waiting for a choreographic touch. ‘Sandpaper Ballet’ features no fewer than 11 of them … including ‘The Typewriter,’ [which] uses the rapid clattering of typewriter keys, along with the fwoop of the carriage return and its premonitory warning bell…. Anderson fits out the notion with far more sophistication and variety than he really had to—a tune that starts and stops at intervals that get increasingly unpredictable, a middle section that harks back to the main theme with just a whisper of complicity, and a delightful climax that sunders the melody into fragments.”