MEDIA CONTACTS: Terri Berns
Unpublished Music Scores by 1940s Band Leader Glenn Miller Donated to FAU Libraries
Music will be performed by KCO at Spirit of America Concer
BOCA RATON, FL (May 16, 2008) – Special Collections & Archives at Florida Atlantic University Libraries on the Boca Raton campus has received a gift of three unpublished music scores by American Jazz musician and band leader Glenn Miller, who presumably died in a plane crash en route to Paris in 1944 at age 40.
The titles of the music scores are “Hallelujah, ” “Candy ” and “There Goes that Song Again. ” Two of the scores have “2 nd Radio Production Unit-Army Air Forces ” at the bottom of the faded, brittle 14 x 17-inch pages on which they are written. The scores are complete except for words for the vocal line. Several pages contain notations, such as “Johnny sings,” in barely legible writing, indicating where vocalist Johnny Desmond was to sing, said Aaron Kula, director of music collections and performance at FAU Libraries.
Boynton Beach resident Martin Winner, whose sister, Dorothy Demby-Lasky, worked for a Glenn Miller agency in New York during the 1940s as a secretary for Desmond, a member of The Glenn Miller Army Air Forces Band, recently gave the music to Kula for FAU’s music collection. Winner, who has a background in music, and his sister found the music amid discarded office materials in the agency’s offices after it relocated to California following Miller’s death. Winner contacted the agency, but said officials showed no interest in retrieving the music.
Kula’s work with Klezmer Company Orchestra (KCO), the professional ensemble-in-residence at FAU Libraries, inspired him after all these years to donate the music, said Winner.
“I have done nothing with it since it came into my possession except to treasure it,” Winner, 76, wrote in an e-mail following a recent KCO concert. “Now that I have entered what is euphemistically referred to as the ‘twilight of my years,’ I can think of nowhere else that I might deposit it where it might be appreciated for being the treasure that I feel it is.”
FAU Libraries spent months researching the authenticity of the music scores, contacting Glenn Miller scholars across the country, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, the University of North Texas and the University of Chicago, and only found evidence that “Candy ” and “There Goes that Song Again ,” with Desmond singing the solos, aired on the radio in 1945. The songs were never published in any format, according to the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society in Clarinda, Iowa.
Winner says he remembers a performance of “Hallelujah” on a radio program on which Miller and his orchestra performed several times a week. “I think the orchestration was probably completed sometime before Miller enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II,” said Winner.
Miller was the first composer to use a big band with strings section and that is borne out in the three manuscripts, said Kula. Among his most known works are “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” which sold 115,000 copies in the first week, “In the Mood” and “Pennsylvania 6-5000.”
KCO, conducted by Kula, will perform “There Goes that Song Again,” at its “Spirit of America The Concert: Bernstein & Copland” on Sunday, June 29, at 3 p.m. at FAU’s Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, on FAU’s Boca Raton campus.
Kula used 21 st century technology with music notation software to transform the original manuscript of the song into a clean score with usable edited parts for KCO musicians. He input the music, edited the score, created parts for KCO’s musicians and transcribed the vocal line from a live 1945 radio broadcast recording, which was commercially released.
“The Glenn Miller orchestrations have a distinct signature sound unlike any other composer of his time. His voicing and instrumentation of reeds, brass and strings will always sound like Glenn Miller,” said Kula of the updated song.
The manuscript scores further boost the reputation of FAU Libraries’ prestigious music collection among scholars nationwide. The other two songs are being prepared for performances as well.
“ Studying and performing Glenn Miller’s music scores allows us another opportunity to understand one of America’s most prolific and important American Jazz musicians of the 20 th century,” said Kula.
For more information about the Miller scores, call Aaron Kula at 561- 297-3742. For information on tickets for the June 29 concert, contact 1-800-564-9539 or www.fauevents.com.