The End Of an Era.....Almost !!!!

This Christmas I dare say we shall see The Wizard of Oz and Singin' in The Rain- In April Fred and Judy will dance and sing their way through Easter Parade and if you're really lucky the TV will light up with Gigi, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and An American In Paris.
Those who know me well are aware I was brought up on a plethora of Musicals by my Mom.

Several years ago I was stunned to find out that in the early 70's  MGM decided that ,due to lack of public interest, every film music manuscript, sketch, orchestration and original recording emitting from 1927 onwards had been dumped into a landfill by the freeway in Valencia, USA.

Amongst this collection, according to film historians, musical preservationists and performers familiar with the incident. nestles the following:
  • Gene Kelly's outtake of 'I've got a crush on you' from American in Paris
  • The original orchestral score of Judy Garlands 'Over the Rainbow'
  • Easter Parade and Gigi scores are all but lost- only a third remain
All that remains are the MGM 'conductor books' in varying degrees of completeness - for The Wizard of Oz there is scant indication for harmony and virtually nothing for instrumentation. Now when Orchestras want to perform these classic scores they must re-create them note for note from original recordings
Michael Feinstein lamented"They destroyed unique and irreplaceable works of famous composers, arrangers and lyricists,"
Following what some people dubbed ''The  MGM Holocaust''  Fred Steiner formed a small watchdog group that included David Raksin and John Newsom. They would periodically visit Studio Music Departments and encourage departmental personnel not to discard any material until a new home could be found for it .
In 1984 they became The Film Music Society .They continue their non profit mission to this day :

To increase awareness of the artistic, historical and commercial value of film and television music;
To preserve and restore film and television music scores, manuscripts, orchestrations, recordings and all related materials;
To research, document and disseminate the histories of film and television music, whether by oral means or by aural, written and/or digital media;
To publish scholarly and other journalistic works on subjects relating to film and television music;
To foster, encourage and cultivate new musical and journalistic works; and
To present and promote the film and television music contributions of past, present and future composers, arrangers and musicians

Michael Feinstein is at the forefront of this preservation scouring second hand shops, auction rooms and garage sales - seeking out forgotten manuscripts, sheet music and original scores. He has over 30.000 recordings plus boxes of tapes, photos and posters .Michaels passion continues to grow as does his repertoire ,thanks to his love, enthusiasm and determination


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