Bernstein’s first composition in the genre, Fancy Free, composed in 1944, became extremely popular. The story of the ballet is fairly simple, and was later reused by Bernstein in On The Town, his popular first Broadway musical. The story, devised by Jerome Robbins, takes place in New York City, where three sailors on shore leave meet three girls in a bar, who they dance with, and end up fighting over. They soon realize they were foolish to let the women become between their friendships.
The music is based on a considerable number of popular styles of the day. At the beginning you hear Big Stuff, a popular hit Bernstein later recorded as a single, and made famous by Billie Holiday. Bernstein’s music is comprised of a fusion of different genres, from Latin-American to Popular, and Classical to Jazz, all of which are footprints in his inimitable style.
Available here, as part of the Hawkes Pocket Score edition (No.1135), is the Study Score for Bernstein’s popular ballet Fancy Free.