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Mighty Wurlitzer: Music for Movie Palace Organs
Music from the Classic Silent Films
Mighty Wurlitzer: Music for Movie Palace Organs
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Soundtracks
 
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

From 1910 up through the '30s, giant Wurlitzers made silent films not-so-silent. The attempt to recreate a full orchestra with just a giant movie palace organ (and only one musician) yielded, of course, quite different--an...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Music from the Classic Silent Films
Title: Mighty Wurlitzer: Music for Movie Palace Organs
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: New World Records
Release Date: 12/8/1992
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Soundtracks
Styles: Swing Jazz, Bebop, Easy Listening
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 093228022725, 093228022749

Synopsis

Amazon.com
From 1910 up through the '30s, giant Wurlitzers made silent films not-so-silent. The attempt to recreate a full orchestra with just a giant movie palace organ (and only one musician) yielded, of course, quite different--and welcomed--results. The pipe organ's sound is now imbedded into our consciousness; the bells, whistles, and light classical tunes they emitted will always bring moviegoers feelings of nostalgia. But, as The Mighty Wurlitzer shows, there was a lot of artistry going on here: these organs were equipped to not only provide background tunes, but also embellish the movies they scored. Ann Leaf and Gaylord Carter each play a full-bodied repertoire of tunes on the disc, from Cole Porter to "The Phantom of the Opera." Detailed liner notes about the recorded organs (they are the stars here, after all) and their history are included. Pass the popcorn. --Jim Young
 

CD Reviews

Classic album raised standard for theater organ recordings.
DJ Rix | NJ USA | 11/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This album gave some much needed historical credibility & impetus to the theater organ restoration movement when it was released in 1977 on the prestigious New World Records label. The Mighty Wurlitzer remains an excellent starting place for anyone interested in learning more about these fragile American musical treasures. Wurlitzer is only the most famous of theater organ manufacturers. There are many wonderful organs, including mechanical band organs, created by Wurlitzer & sixty other companies, still languishing in varying states of disrepair in old theaters, ballrooms, skating rinks & amusement parks. The music is performed by two legendary organists of the silent movie & Golden Age of Radio eras, Ann Leaf (in the first five selections) & Gaylord Carter (in the others). The featured organs are: The Wurlitzer organ in the Senate Theatre, Detroit; the "portable" fifty-thousand-pound Moller Organ Company touring instrument now in Organ Power Pizza No. 2, a pizzeria / bowling alley at Pacific Beach, Calif; & the Wurlitzer organ in San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, San Gabriel, Calif., originally constructed for Brooklyn's Albee RKO theater. The liner notes are first rate. Warren Susman contributes an overview of "Movie Music and Picture Palaces." Producer Michael Moore discusses the three classic instruments & provides specifications. The songs are enriched by interesting historical & technical factoids, plus a few photos. All in all, The Mighty Wurlitzer is a model album that raised the standard for recordings of historical popular organs by removing the oppressive sentimentality, nostalgia & carnival goofiness which had dominated this genre for decades."
A Grand Time-Capsule
DJ Rix | 12/10/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A wonderful recording of the accompaniments to many of the classic silent films, which work as stand-alone pieces on their own as well. [Listening to the range of material on this recording brought back (recent) memories of the Byrd Theater in Richmond, Virginia, which boasts a refurbished organ and a brief prelude and show before film screenings.] The "Phantom of the Opera" and "Orphans of the Storm" cuts are particularly grand!"
The Mighty Wurlitzer Lives!
Paul Gray | Melbourne, Florida, USA | 04/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This disc is an essential "must have" for anyone wishing to learn about the theatre pipe organ. These organs were a mainstay of movie palaces in the late 20's as they provided not only orchestra-like accompaniment for the silent films of the day, but all of the necessary special aural effects needed to make the on-screen action more believable.

After the advent of "talkies," theatre organists such as Jesse Crawford, Reginald Foort and others began making recordings of some of these organs and often gave recitals between movies. A following was born.

Many companies built theatre organs up to the start of WWII, some of them well-known: Wurlitzer, Moller, Barton, Robert Morton, Kimball, Aeolian-Skinner, Page, Marr & Colton, to name just a few. Sadly, many of these grand old theatre organs have gone to the scrap yard over the years, but many still exist in local theatres and auditoriums and private homes, having been saved and restored by visionaries wishing to preserve a piece of our past.

Ann Leaf and Gaylord Carter did a fine job of interpreting some of the period music presented here, and the instruments are likewise well up to the task. The liner notes are top notch and quite educational, and the booklet even lists a couple of examples of what makes up a theatre organ.

This disc is a great starting point for someone just getting interested in the theatre organ. Once you get hooked, you won't be able to stop. Theatre organ music is addicting!

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