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

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

By Michael Hix

Growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, throughout the first region of the twentieth 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 event significantly formed his compositional variety and aesthetic. Upon returning to the U.S., Erwin all started his long profession in radio and tv operating with Arthur Godfrey. In 1967, Erwin used to be commissioned by way of the yank Theater Organ Society to compose organ tune for the Gloria Swanson movie Queen Kelly. It used to be this movie that led his occupation again into the consoles of the good American theater organs. He toured greatly, taking part in millions of concert events of organ track in the course of silent movie showings. He therefore ushered within the silent movie revival, carrying on with the style of dwell 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 family members in 1930-1931. In those letters, Erwin recounts his day-by-day studies and encounters with the various twentieth century's maximum musicians and lecturers. 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 through the multitude of yank composers who studied in France in this time. those letters are broadly footnoted to supply readability and history details of the destinations and personalities mentioned. A biographical bankruptcy on Erwin, which outlines his wide musical profession and effect at the silent movie tune revival within the twentieth century, can also be incorporated. This ebook will function a special glimpse into the lifetime of one in all America's such a lot prolific composers for the theater organ.

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

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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. 42. John Ranck, phone interview with author, 2 February 2003. 43. , Cincinnati, Ohio, 31 May 1938. 44. John Ranck, phone interview with author, 2 February 2003.

Mr. Titus and myself have been to no less than 3 church services and spent all afternoon roaming all over the whole western side of Paris. We were up about 8:30 this morning and went over to the Catholic Church (St. Germaine des Pres)5 to hear the 9:15 mass. indb 43 3/15/12 2:27 PM 44 C HA P TER 3 be the person that I decide to study organ with. The church is quite magnificent and the music is wonderful. The church has two organs in it. 6 The effect of the two organs, the one in the back answering all the things the choir does is marvelous.

7. Several letters from Lee Erwin to his mother between July and November 1930 mention receiving letters from Pettus. Another, dated 2 February 1931, says: “Ask Miss Bessie if she has stopped writing letters to her friends. ” 8. William P. , personal interview with author, 21 October 2002. 9. Donna Fisher-Jackson, “Lee Erwin,” Friends of the Zeiterion Theatre Newsletter 8, no. 1 (Summer 1991): 1–2. Erwin started by “banging around” on the organ, then progressed to playing in church services. 10.

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