By Michael Hix

Growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, throughout the first region of the 20 th century, Alabama-born organist and composer Lee Orville Erwin, like a number of the twentieth century’s nice American composers, hung out 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 drastically formed his compositional variety and aesthetic. Upon returning to the us, Erwin begun 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 track for the Gloria Swanson movie Queen Kelly. It used to be this movie that led his profession again into the consoles of the good American theater organs. He toured commonly, taking part in millions of live shows of organ track in the course of silent movie showings. He therefore ushered within the silent movie revival, carrying on with the style of reside 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 ratings to over a hundred silent films.

An American Organist in Paris provides Lee Orville Erwin's letters from France to his family members in 1930-1931. In those letters, Erwin recounts his day-by-day reports and encounters with a number of the 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 studies of a tender musician but additionally mirror the typical stories shared through the multitude of yank composers who studied in France in this time. those letters are commonly footnoted to supply readability and heritage details of the destinations and personalities mentioned. A biographical bankruptcy on Erwin, which outlines his huge musical profession and influence at the silent movie song revival within the twentieth century, is usually incorporated. This publication will function a special glimpse into the lifetime of one in every of America's so much prolific composers for the theater organ.

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