Thank you, once again, Hadji, for sharing your file treasures with us.
I had never before heard "The Airborne Symphony," in its entirety, and it took me back to a number of radio experiences in the 1930's and 1940's.
Welles does a wonderful job, I think, with a difficult text, but I would be interested to know what is your documentation that Welles wrote that narration. My understanding is that Marc Blitzstein was commissioned in 1942 to write the piece while stationed with a special U.S. Army unit in Britain. He worked on it for the next several years. Then, it is said, after his return to the United States, the crate containing his manuscript and notes was lost in transit. Holed up in New England, he recreated "The Airborne Symphony," and though the original was later found, this shorter version is the one that we have.
The text reminds me of Norman Corwin (who was associated with Blitzstein in New York radio circles, and might well have worked with him in Britain during the War), as the music suggests influences by Stravinsky and Shostakovich. There seems some doubt that Welles was actually at the first performance, but he no doubt tinkered with the script for later performances and recordings. Critics seem to have been most harsh on the narration -- all those short lines, riming couplets -- and Robert Shaw's performance on the first recording was taken to task. Welles' later recording is thought to help the work, toning down its punchy radio-style. But having grown up with that Americana, I like it all very much.
Listening to what you have given us, Hadji, I also could not help but reflect that another key to Welles' character and career may have been that the end of World War II also marked the end of the Second Act of Welles' life, and he was only 30. The serious side of his early years seem to have been absorbed in anticipating, warning about, and combatting the looming danger of European Fascism to America.
"The Airborne Symphony," for most Americans, would have suggested that Fascism was all but defeated, and in what has become a possibly fated habit, we turned to search for new enemies in the World, and discovered not Stalinism (another form of totalitarianism), but the more amorphous philosophy of communism, which could be manipulated, as "terrorism" is now, for much private gain.
Welles continued to fight on against fascism, in all its forms, but for many reasons, he no longer had the support of a host of collaboraters in that fight he enjoyed earlier. By the Fifth Act of his life, he was virtually alone.
And so, if you have proof that Welles wrote the narration for "The Airborne Symphony," I should be even more pleased.