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penny137

39 Fair Music?

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I'm looking for recordings of any music related to the 1939 World's Fair. I've found the recording of the theme song, but does anyone know of other 1939 fair-related music out there?

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Hey Penny...

Welcome to PTU! There's a wide assortment of sheet music available-- I have several different pieces in my collection including "Yours For A Song" from Billy Rose's Aquacade and "Cotton Club Parade" which was played at the Hot Mikado. I'll try to post some scans later. As for recorded music... there are many different pieces you can seek out... including Cab Calloway's "Trylon Shuffle" (a particular fave of mine) and here's an online link where you can hear music by vanguard African American composer William Grant Still which was continuously played inside the Perisphere.

[url:26e65]http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/sgo/sounds/world-fair.wav[/url:26e65]

I don't know how many - if any - of these exist as recordings, but here's some cool info I also got from MSN Encarta about various classical and opera performances which were held at the 39/40 NYWF:

Music at the New York World's Fair.

The New York World's Fair was the scene or the sponsor of several musical events both official and unofficial. Outstanding was the series of concerts by the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in the World's Fair Music Hall. The first concert was directed by John Barbirolli with Mayor La Guardia of New York taking the baton for the opening fanfare composed for the occasion by Dubensky. Rodzinski conducted a program of Polish music; the Rumanian concert was directed by Enesco, the Scandinavian by Olav Kielland, the Brazilian by Burle Marx, the Swiss by Schelling and Ganz, the British by Sir Adrian Boult. Late in September, the N.B.C. Symphony Orchestra conducted by Georg Schneevoigt gave a program devoted entirely to compositions by Jean Sibelius. This concert was under the auspices of the Finnish Government and the World's Fair.

Special mention may be made of the concert in the Special Events Building by the Vermont State Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alan Carter. The program offered Dubensky's 'Anno 1600,' McBride's 'Show Piece,' John Alden Carpenter's 'Danza' and Tchaikowsky's Fourth Symphony. The evolution of the modern American dance orchestra was demonstrated in programs given by various prominent jazz organizations such as Paul Whiteman's and Duke Ellington's. A number of concerts were given by school bands, orchestras and choruses coming from high schools in different parts of the country.

On May 7, at the Court of Nations, the first Folk Festival of the Fair was held, in which dancers and singers of about sixty different nations took part. Representative music of several foreign nations could be heard at the various pavilions. There was the Coldstream Guards Band at the British pavilion; the carillon at the Dutch. At the Soviet pavilion, thirty-five sound films were shown introducing current Soviet music—symphonic, operatic excerpts, chamber music and folk songs. From Finland came the Finlandia Male Chorus directed by Heikki Klemetti. On Aug. 25, 26, 27, the American Welsh Committee sponsored the International Eisteddfod and Gymanfa Gam at the Fair.

The great fountain displays in the Lagoon of Nations were accompanied by music specially composed by Robert Russell Bennett. Several exhibits had commissioned music, such as Kurt Weill's score for the 'Railroads on Parade' at the Railroad Building, Hanns Eisler's music for the film at the Petroleum exhibit, Vittorio Giannini's symphony for the opening program of the International Business Machines, Ferde Grofe's 'Ode to Freedom' performed at the Ford exhibition on July 4. William Grant Still was commissioned to do the music for the show in the Perisphere. Aaron Copland composed scores for Ralph Steiner's housing film 'The City' shown at the Science and Education Building and for Remo Bufano's marionette show at the Hall of Pharmacy. At the Gas Exhibits Incorporated, the American Puppet Opera Company presented a repertoire of seven grand operas with puppets and recordings of the vocal and orchestral parts.

At the WPA Building, weekly programs were given by the Composers Laboratory Forum at which the following composers were represented: Dr. Edgar Stillman-Kelly, Ross Lee Finney, Elie Siegmeister, Roy Harris, William Schumann, Aaron Copland, Morris Mamorsky, Henry H. Huss, Werner Josten, Lazare Saminsky, Paul Creston, John Duke, Frederick Jacobi, Bernard Wagenaar, Charles W. Cadman. Concerts by special organizations such as the Lehman Engel Madrigal Singers and Juanita Hall's Negro Melody Singers took place in the WPA Building.

At the Temple of Religions programs of choral music were presented by choirs of St. Thomas Church, The Brick Church, Temple Emanu-El, The Paulist Fathers Choir and the Pius X Choir. The organ in the Temple was loaned by Mr. John Hausserman, Jr.

In conjunction with the Fair, during May the Metropolitan Opera Company performed a special Wagner cycle at the Metropolitan Opera House. In the operas of the Nibelungen Ring the important roles were sung by the same singers throughout. Kirsten Flagstad was Brünnhilde; Lauritz Melchior, Siegfried; Friedrich Schorr, Wotan; Arnold Gabor, Alberich; Kerstin Thorborg, Fricka.

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Yes, the 1940 closing night broadcast from the Mardi Gras Casino was with Jack Teagarden and closed with the apropos number “Man And His Dream.” (“Jack Teagarden And His Trombone And His Famous Orchestra” were the “it” band during 39 & 40.) Additionally “Swingin’ On The Teagarden Gate” was used in the documentary “The World Of Tomorrow” as was various tracks from “The Wizard Of Oz” soundtrack. Both Teagarden numbers, in my humble opinion, truly capture the fair and its bittersweet times.

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P.S. I forgot about the book “1939 Music And The World’s Fair” by Claudia Swan, 1998. Which can be obtained for under $10 on online.

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The most elusive and ethereal - perhaps unrecorded and something I can't imagine - would be the "music" emanating from the base of the Perisphere. 

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8 hours ago, magikbilly said:

The most elusive and ethereal - perhaps unrecorded and something I can't imagine - would be the "music" emanating from the base of the Perisphere. 

Oh my, you now have me wondering if there are any recordings of sound and music from the 39/40 fair, other than the "make your own record" type.

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Hey guys... I am a professor of music doing research into Peter J. Wilhousky. He was a choral director. He conducted the NY Civil Service Choir for the

1939 World's Fair. Does anyone have an information on him and his connection to the WF? He might have prepared choirs for other WF events as well.

I know there is a postcard with a man conducting in front of a very large audience. Does anyone know who that conductor is in that postcard?

Thanks for any and all info.

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