Friday, March 16, 2018

Theatre and radio organists: John Gart

John Gart (1905 Russia/Poland-1989  Florida) was a colleague of Fred Feibel's at CBS. Gart (whose name, incidentally, is sometimes misspelled as "Gant" or "Gait") began as a theatre organist, then became a conductor in Loew's New York theatre. At CBS, Gart was musical director, arranger, and conductor for radio shows, and then, like Feibel, moved to work in television in the late 1940s. He was closely associated with the Robert Montgomery Presents as musical director and organist through all 322 of its episodes (NBC, 1950-1957).

In the 1940s, Gart published at least three volumes of organ music for radio: At the Console: Organ Themes (NY: Emil Ascher, 1942); Network Themes: Music for Radio Shows (NY: Emil Ascher, 1942); and Serial Moods: A Collection of 54 Dramatic Cues for Radio Shows (NY: Emil Ascher, 1946).

The design of the three volumes is close to that of Feibel's discussed last week. Network Themes is interesting because its contents are arranged under topical headings. Here below are all of those headings. (The volume has 65 individual pieces.) Note the attention given to "Curtain" music, the wind up, or "play-off" as Feibel called it, that is so prominent in old radio shows.

APPASSIONATA
AGITATO
MYSTERIOSO
LIGHT MYSTERIOSO
MONTAGE MYSTERIOSO
LIGHT MONTAGE
DRAMATIC MONTAGE
DRAMATIC INTERLUDE
LIGHT DRAMATIC SEQUENCE
LIGHT TO DRAMA
LIGHT DRAMATIC
LIGHT DRAMATIC TO LIGHT NEUTRAL
DRAMATIC SEQUENCE
DRAMATIC LEADING TO HAPPY
HEAVY DRAMATIC
LIGHT NEUTRAL
NEUTRAL MELODIC
LIGHT HURRY
HURRY
LIGHT TO LOVE THEME
LOVE THEME
TRAIN EFFECT
FANFARE
POMPOSO
ORIENTAL
CURTAIN
CURTAIN FANFARE
LIGHT CURTAIN
LIGHT DRAMATIC CURTAIN
DRAMATIC CURTAIN
CURTAIN HURRY

Of interest are the transition headings, such as "Dramatic Leading to Happy." There is only piece, "Dawn," under that heading. Here it is (same conditions of copyright apply as with Feibel; see last week's post). Given the extreme compression of background music in radio shows, "leading" is less apt than "jumping" perhaps, as bar 3 moves to bar 4. Note that bar 3 deploys harmonic acceleration (chords change faster), pushing the music to "drop" into the strongly accented long chord in bar 4.


Much the same—but in reverse—is true of the one entry under "Light to Drama." The playful [scherzando] opening gives way to slower chord changes in bars 5-6 and then the dramatic fortissimo, marked "Broadly," follows.