Saturday, September 28, 2013

ANDERSON, LEROY and The Typewriter Syncopated Music (c) By Polly Guerin

 Leroy Anderson's The Typewriter

Can a typewriter become a musical instrument? Well, if you were the famed American composer Leroy Anderson (1908-1975), the answer would be most emphatically "Yes"!!!  Anderson's musical style employed creative instrumental effects and occasionally made use sound-generating items such as typewriters. The composer would occasionally appear on the Boston Pops regular concerts on PBS to conduct his own music while Arthur Fiedler, the Pops' director, would sit on the sidelines.   For 'The Typewriter' Fiedler would don a green eyeshade, roll up his sleeves, and mime working on an old typewriter while the orchestra played.  The Typewriter had worldwide fame. It was used as the theme song for Esto no tiene nombre, a Puerto Rican television comedy program, which was loosely based on the US television series Rowatt & Martin's Laugh In. 

LISTEN TO THE TYPEWRITER For all the aficionados who remember the typewriter and for those individuals who want to experience a delightful recording go to you tube to listen to the 2011 performance by the National Orchestra and Chorus of Spain in Madrid with the typewriter soloist Alfredo Anaya's enchanting rendition to the surprise and admiration of both orchestra and audience. To access this uptodate delightful recording go to the following link:
SUCCESS, SUCCESS Anderson's pieces and his recordings during the 1950s were immense commercial successes. “Blue Tango” was the first instrumental recording ever to sell one million pieces, earning a Golden Disc and the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Charts.  His most famous pieces are probably 'Sleigh Ride' and 'The Syncopated Clock', both of which are instantly recognizable to millions of people. In 1950, WCBS-TV in New York City selected Syncopated Clock, as the theme song for The Late Show, the WCBS late-night movie. 
LYRICS BY PARISH Mitchell Parish added lyrics to 'Syncopated Clock', and later wrote words for other Anderson tunes, including 'Sleigh Ride', which was not written as a Christmas piece as surmised, but as a work that describes a winter event.  Anderson's oeuvre was prolific.  From 1952-196l his composition 'Plink, Plan, Plunk' was used as the theme for the CBS panel show I've Got a Secret.  More success followed. In 2006, one of his piano works, "Forgotten Dreams", written in 1954 became the background for a British TV advertisement for mobile phone company '3'. Montovani's recording of the song had been the closing theme for WABC-TVs Eyewitness News for much of the 1930s.
In 1936 Leroy Anderson's arrangements came to the attention of Arthur Fiedler, who asked to see any original composition and thus began his career in works like Jazz Pizzicato and Jazz Legato, combined recordings that went on to become one of Anderson's signature collections. His light concert pieces and syncopated rhythms remain a joyful legacy of rare and original renditions that continue to intrigue and delight listening audiences everywhere.
Polly Guerin
Author: The Cooper Hewitt Dynasty of New York (History Press 2012)

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