By Michael Hix
Growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, throughout the first area of the twentieth century, Alabama-born organist and composer Lee Orville Erwin, like a few of the twentieth century’s nice American composers, hung out learning in Paris. From 1930 till 1931 Erwin studied in France with organist André Marchal and the concord academics Jean Verd and Nadia Boulanger. This formative adventure vastly formed his compositional kind and aesthetic. Upon returning to the USA, Erwin begun his long profession in radio and tv operating with Arthur Godfrey. In 1967, Erwin was once commissioned via the yank Theater Organ Society to compose organ song for the Gloria Swanson movie Queen Kelly. It used to be this movie that led his profession again into the consoles of the nice American theater organs. He toured generally, enjoying 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 song 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 offers Lee Orville Erwin's letters from France to his family members 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 studies of a tender musician but in addition replicate the typical stories shared by way of the multitude of yank composers who studied in France in this time. those letters are greatly footnoted to supply readability and heritage details of the destinations and personalities mentioned. A biographical bankruptcy on Erwin, which outlines his wide musical occupation and impression at the silent movie tune revival within the twentieth century, can also be integrated. This publication will function a special glimpse into the lifetime of one among America's so much 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
46. Arthur J. Singer, Arthur Godfrey: The Adventures of an American Broadcaster (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2000), 69. 47. Ibid. indb 33 3/15/12 2:27 PM 34 C HA P TER 2 48. Robert Slater, This Is CBS: A Chronicle of 60 Years (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1988), 148. 49. Jeff Weiler, “Lee Erwin: A Tribute,” Theatre Organ (January–February 2001), 13. The same sort of camaraderie that is seen between modern television host David Letterman and his music director Paul Shaffer seems to have existed between Erwin and Godfrey.
Weiler, “Lee Erwin,” 13. Erwin served on the Board of Directors and as vice president of ATOS. He was twice the winner of the ATOS Organist of the Year Award and was selected for the society’s Theatre Organist Hall of Fame. 54. html, accessed 2 January 2003. 55. Bill Morrison, “Silent-Film Organist Goes Full Circle,” Raleigh (NC) News and Observer, 7 October 1976, 2. 56. Carter, The Million Dollar Life of Gaylord Carter, 185. 57. Gloria Swanson, Swanson on Swanson (New York: Random House, 1980), 368–75.
Erwin is quoted as saying: “The last theatre organ to be built was put into Radio City Music Hall in the 1930s after sound had come in. ” 71. com/name/nm0260011. indb 34 3/15/12 2:27 PM THE LIF E A N D CAREER OF L EE ORVIL L E ERWIN 35 72. Evelyn Spearman, “Lee Erwin Brings New Sounds Here,” Huntsville Times, 1967 (exact date unknown). Spearman says of the piece: “It is like nothing you have ever heard before, a first for Alabama listeners, and an interesting, exciting and different musical experience.
An American Organist in Paris: The Letters of Lee Orville Erwin, 1930-1931 by Michael Hix