By Philip Lambert
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The song of Alec Wilder (1907-1980) blends numerous American musical traditions, equivalent to jazz and the yank renowned music, with classical eu types and strategies. fashionable and obtainable, Wilder's musical oeuvre ranged from sonatas, suites, concertos, operas, ballets, and artwork songs to woodwind quintets, brass quintets, jazz suites, and thousands of renowned songs.
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In any event, the harpsichord was very much on Wilder’s mind when he kept an appointment that Miller had made for him to demonstrate some of his songs for an influential executive at Brunswick Records, probably sometime in 1938: The night before the appointment I stayed out very late and drank far too much. I hadn’t been asleep three hours when the phone rang. Mitchell shouted me awake. I’ll never know how I got myself shaved and dressed. I was as hung over as I had ever been in my life. By the time I got to the recording company’s audition room I was scarcely able to sit upright on the stool.
1931]) for Mildred Bailey to sing with the Benny Goodman Band and including an “unexpected harmony” intended to “make it a little less obvious and cliché[d]” (Letters I Never Mailed, 106–7). 24 While working on the arranging staff of The Ford Hour on CBS radio in 1936, Wilder similarly revised Cole Porter’s harmonies in “It’s De-Lovely” (from Red, Hot, and Blue! ). Wilder recalled, “Even the Bach-oriented organist-conductor could sense the ineptness of my alterations and spoke rather harshly to me from the podium” (Life Story, 72).
Juke Box, choreographed by William Dollar, to a libretto by Lincoln Kirstein and with scenes and costumes by Tom Lee, brought together themes from the octets to tell a story set in a college hangout (New York Times, May 18, 1941). 23 Song Standards Broadway disappointments notwithstanding, the early 1940s marked the beginning of Wilder’s most successful period of popular songwriting. His collaboration with William Engvick enriched and inspired him, yielding songs that have been widely performed and recorded.
Alec Wilder by Philip Lambert