Biographies

An American Organist in Paris: The Letters of Lee Orville by Michael Hix

By Michael Hix

Growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, throughout the first zone of the 20 th century, Alabama-born organist and composer Lee Orville Erwin, like a number of the twentieth century’s nice American composers, frolicked learning in Paris. From 1930 until eventually 1931 Erwin studied in France with organist André Marchal and the concord lecturers Jean Verd and Nadia Boulanger. This formative adventure vastly formed his compositional kind and aesthetic. Upon returning to the us, Erwin all started his long profession in radio and tv operating with Arthur Godfrey. In 1967, Erwin was once commissioned by means of the yankee Theater Organ Society to compose organ song for the Gloria Swanson movie Queen Kelly. It was once this movie that led his occupation again into the consoles of the good American theater organs. He toured greatly, taking part in hundreds of thousands of concert events of organ tune in the course of silent movie showings. He therefore ushered within the silent movie revival, carrying on with the style of reside tune functionality accompanying movie. Erwin, believing that cue sheets initially compiled for those motion pictures through the silent movie period have been “full of the musical cliché’s of the 1920s,” composed new ratings to over a hundred silent films.

An American Organist in Paris offers Lee Orville Erwin's letters from France to his relatives in 1930-1931. In those letters, Erwin recounts his day-by-day stories and encounters with the various twentieth century's maximum musicians and academics. He writes of his classes with Marchal, Verd, and Boulanger and dinner events with Olivier Messiaen. Erwin's letters not just give you the singular stories of a tender musician but additionally replicate the typical reports shared by way of the multitude of yank composers who studied in France in this time. those letters are commonly footnoted to supply readability and historical past info of the destinations and personalities mentioned. A biographical bankruptcy on Erwin, which outlines his large musical occupation and impression at the silent movie song revival within the twentieth century, is usually integrated. This booklet will function a different glimpse into the lifetime of considered one of America's so much prolific composers for the theater organ.

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Additional resources for An American Organist in Paris: The Letters of Lee Orville Erwin, 1930-1931

Example text

It includes many details concerning the performance, including Swanson’s role as emcee. Y. Chapter Member Lee Erwin at the console of the mighty, better-than-new Beacon Wurlitzer. This great event stems directly from Miss Swanson’s thrilling surprise appearance at our memorable Gaylord Carter “Flicker Fingers” Beacon show in February. In addition to his program of traditional organ novelties and songtime favorites, Lee Erwin has composed a special score to accompany Gloria Swanson’s last silent Von Stroheim feature length classic, Queen Kelly on the magnificent, 4 manual Beacon organ.

8–9. “Books of cue music” or “cue sheets” include a breakdown of the film’s plot, with musical suggestions for each scene. Examples include Motion Picture Moods for Pianists and Organists, published in 1924 by Erno Rapée, and Edith Lang and George West’s Musical Accompaniment of Moving Pictures, published in 1920. Cue sheets were published and circulated with the films. 18. After the theater was resurrected and restored in the 1980s by Cecil Whitmire, Erwin graced the console of the Wurlitzer (nicknamed “Big Bertha”) in concerts and film productions nearly every year.

They have complained about it being hot when I found it pleasantly warm. You say I must let you know how much I weigh. Even tho I weighed once I didn’t know anymore after weighing than before. The scales are by kilograms. indb 45 3/15/12 2:27 PM 46 C HA P TER 3 Tomorrow marks the beginning of our 5th week in Paris but it doesn’t seem like anything like that long except I could have hardly made as much progress with the organ in less time. Marchal is simply too marvelous for words. My lesson yesterday lasted over an hour and a half.

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