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

By Michael Hix

Growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, through the first sector of the twentieth century, Alabama-born organist and composer Lee Orville Erwin, like some of the twentieth century’s nice American composers, frolicked learning in Paris. From 1930 till 1931 Erwin studied in France with organist André Marchal and the concord lecturers Jean Verd and Nadia Boulanger. This formative adventure drastically formed his compositional variety and aesthetic. Upon returning to the USA, Erwin all started his long profession in radio and tv operating with Arthur Godfrey. In 1967, Erwin was once commissioned by way of the yankee Theater Organ Society to compose organ track 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 broadly, taking part in hundreds of thousands of live shows of organ tune in the course of silent movie showings. He therefore ushered within the silent movie revival, carrying on with the style of stay track functionality accompanying movie. Erwin, believing that cue sheets initially compiled for those movies throughout the silent movie period have been “full of the musical cliché’s of the 1920s,” composed new rankings to over a hundred silent films.

An American Organist in Paris offers Lee Orville Erwin's letters from France to his kinfolk in 1930-1931. In those letters, Erwin recounts his day-by-day reports 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 studies of a tender musician but additionally replicate the typical reports shared by means of the multitude of yank composers who studied in France in this time. those letters are largely footnoted to supply readability and history details of the destinations and personalities mentioned. A biographical bankruptcy on Erwin, which outlines his broad musical profession and impression at the silent movie song revival within the twentieth century, is additionally incorporated. This ebook will function a different glimpse into the lifetime of one in every of America's so much prolific composers for the theater organ.

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32. , 106. 33. Allan Hughes, “Pipe Organ Reresounds at Movies,” New York Times, 28 November 1980, C22. 34. com/wlw. 35. Dick Perry, Not Just a Sound: The Story of WLW (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1971), 3. 36. com/ ohio/wlw. S. Highway 27 in Millville, Ohio. 37. ” 38. Perry, Not Just a Sound, 3. 39. , 38. 40. , 43. 41. ” For unknown reasons, Waller was fired from WLW by Crosley. One legend cites his excessive drinking, while another states that Crosley felt the jazz music Waller played was disrespectful to the organ that was dedicated to the memory of his mother.

It was later a great privilege for me to study with Lee in New York. 75 Other organists and composers who have cited Erwin as an influence include Ben Model, silent film accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; silent film composer and theater organist Dennis James; and organist David Messineo. ”76 In the winter of 2000, Lee Erwin fell and broke his hip. 77 Unable to leave their Greenwich Village apartment, Erwin’s health slowly deteriorated. He died on September 21, 2000. 13. Erwin at the Cathedral of St.

At 11:00 we went over to the American Cathedral, an Episcopal church, and heard their service. This church is the one that all the Americans (tourists and resident of Paris) go to, and of course the services are in English. )7 we took a subway out to the woods of Boulogne (just on the edge of Paris). It is a most beautiful place and of course it has been preserved just as it has been for years. After rambling around for some time we discovered that we did not know where we were and were sadly in need of food.

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