E.T. Paull, 2001, Part 2


Silver Sleigh Bells


Music by: ET Paull
Lyrics by: None
Cover artist: Starmer

Paull could and did sometimes pull himself away from the militaristic and patriotic marches and compose some interesting and unique works. Silver Sleigh Bells, though still within the confines of the Paull formula for mass appeal, is a truly delightful piece that Paull termed a "Novelette." Still, Paull has used the descriptive method where the music is full of text that describes the events the music is depicting, he still manages to present a nice work here that is descriptive of a winter sleigh ride and a race between two sleighs. Musically, I enjoyed this piece and I think it is one of my favorites. Certainly the cover is special and perhaps is the closest thing to a "Christmas" work that Paull ever published under his own name. (The Paull publishing company often published works by other composers, including many songs that had more traditional covers and music.) Once again, let's turn to Paull's own "Explanatory", to fully understand this delightful work.

Silver Sleigh Bells

Believing that it increases the interest of the performer, to a greater or less extent in a descriptive musical composition to know just what the author had in mind, is why this explanatory article is written. The idea embodied in the "Silver Sleigh-Bells" March-Novelette is a description of a sleigh-ride, including the possible occurrences that take place during the trip. The following explanation will give the various incidents that the author wishes to describe during the ride. In the first place, it is to be supposed that every one taking the ride is ready, and waiting, and that there are several sleighs in the party. The first descriptive heading, therefore, contained in the pieces is "All Aboard!" which is followed by the "Crack of the Whip," spurring the horses into action. The first strain of the piece represents the "Sleigh-Ride." The performer will notice that there is a waved line placed before nearly all the chords throughout the entire piece. We shall designate these as "arpeggio chords," and they should be played correctly, to get the best effect. The lower note of the chords should be struck first, then the next note above, then the next, one after the other in quick succession. It gives a much better bell-effect to play the chords in a roll, so to speak, and not to play all the notes in the chord at the same time. The first incident that occurs in the ride is "Passing the Church Chimes," which heading will be found at the beginning of the 2d strain. This strain should be played slower than the first, and care taken to follow the pedal markings correctly, so as to make the tones distinct and resonant. After the Chimes, comes a repetition of the first strain under the heading "Continuation of Sleigh-Ride." Then follows the introduction to the Trio, under the heading "Warning--Railroad Crossing!" followed by "Slowing Up." The sleighs are practically supposed to come to a stop; and while waiting, the "Song of the Sleigh-riders" is heard. Then follows "Continuation of Song, with Silver Bells," the supposition being that the sleigh-ride has been resumed at this point, and the song and the bells are intermingled. Then follows "Challenge to a Race," then comes "Challenge Accepted," then follows "The Race," in which all are supposed to take a part. This strain, with the repetition of the same, an Octave higher, should be gradually increased in velocity until the end of the Trio, which also has the heading "End of the Race." This part of the piece has been so arranged that the notes all lay under the fingers well, and are easy to play. The time has been broken just enough, so as not to weary the finger execution; at the same time the characteristic effect of "The Race" has been increased. Then follows "Homeward Bound," which is a repetition of the first and second strains, representing the "Sleigh Ride," "Passing the Church Chimes, Etc.," until toward the end of the piece, when the next heading, "Finale--Arriving at Home" will be found, which is followed by "All Out!" which completes the ride, and is in keeping with the spirit of the occasion that is being described.

The performer will notice that the above named Headings are printed in the music, showing just where the various movements begin and end. The unusual number of complimentary comments that have been received on the explanatory articles that were written for the "Burning of Rome," and "Paul Revere's Ride," descriptive marches, has been an additional incentive to the author to write this article, which, he trusts, will meet with the approbation of a generous public.

Respectfully, ET Paull

Enjoy this musical sleigh ride now (SCORCH format)

listen to MIDI version

The Midnight Fire Alarm


Music by: Harry J. Lincoln, arr. Paull
Lyrics by: None
Cover artist: A. Hoen, Lithography

Harry J. Lincoln was a very popular composer during the late 19th - early 20th century and wrote a number of Marches, Rags and songs that were major hits. He wrote a number of "fire" related works including The False Alarm, The Fire Master and this piece. Here again, we have an existing work, reworked by Paull and republished in the Paull colors and manner of playing. Though this work was not written by Paul, not published till 1906, it carries the odd headline; "Companion Piece to The Celebrated Ben Hur Chariot Race March." Since Ben Hur was written in 1894 and this in 1906, it is very strange that Paull would make that association. This work also came during the period when Paull was including his lengthy descriptives and explanatory yet this one was issued with nary an explanatory and very little in the way of descriptive information included on the score (see for yourself with the scorch plug-in).

Though not a Paull original, the music here pretty much fits the Paull formula. One prominent collector of sheet music describes Paull works as "forgettable marches and published music that is about as collectible as it gets." I think that is one of the best single sentence descriptors of Paull's oeuvre and unfortunately, fits this one to a "T". A beautiful cover, a forgettable march.

Hear this great Lincoln/Paull March (scorch format)

listen to MIDI version

The Hurricane


Music by: S.L. Alpert, arr. Paull
Lyrics by: None
Cover artist: A. Hoen, Lithography.

This work is a bit of an enigma for me. It is another of Paull's "borrowed" works from another composer, one less well known. The cover is one of the finest works of art found on a Paull work (agreed, they are almost all stunning) and the theme implies a great "descriptive", yet this work has no "explanatory". Not only that, there is not a single "descriptive" comment in the score as is the case in almost every other Paull written or arranged march. Was Paull running out of ideas? Was he so busy trying to fill the demand for his issues that he was just pumping them out from any source possible? Or, was he just like I get sometimes; burnt out and lazy?

Musically, this is a pretty good march and if you are not burnt out on marches yourself yet, I think you will enjoy it. One thing I want to mention, as you listen to and view the scores, notice how much Paull uses the sustain pedal in his works. These songs not only give you a good finger workout but they also provide a lot of foot exercise. Hey! Who needs aerobics, just play a few ET Paull works and you'll get a good workout.

Listen to this "Whirlwind" March(scorch format only)

Listen to MIDI version

Woman Forever


Music by: ET Paull
Lyrics by: None
Cover artist: A. Hoen, Lithography

As mentioned earlier in this issue, Paull was fond of dedicating works to groups or individuals. Here we have a case of a Paull composed piece that he dedicated to "womanhood." Specifically, on the cover it states; "Respectfully Inscribed to Womanhood of the Universe." Of course that dedication not only to women of the Earth but the Universe, is exemplar of Paull's penchant for overstatement or expansive prose. We see such statements throughout his publications. I find it charming and amusing.

Again, we have a work that has absolutely no explanatory or descriptive text in the music. Paull did include a short poem at the beginning. The poem has no attribution so either it is anonymous or by Paull himself.

For though she almost blushes to reign,
Though love's own flowers wreathe the chain,
Disguise the bondage as we will,
'Tis woman - woman rules us still.
Was there ever a more true statement made? Musically, there is nothing remarkable about this work and very little to connect it to woman other than a very brief passing quote of only four notes from Good Night Ladies at the start of the Trio.

Hear this great Paull March (scorch)

Listen to MIDI version

Uncle Josh's Huskin' Dance


Music by: Len O. De Witt
Lyrics by: None
Cover artist: unknown

For our last two works this month, I want to look at some works that were not as much by Paull as they were simply issues from his publishing house. In many respects (though not all) he applied the same visual standards to many of the works by other composers as he did to his own. This fabulous cover is a good example. With another five color lithograph by Hoen, Paull has created a cover that is one of the greatest I have seen. The work itself was written for a show by Denmon Thompson called "The Old Homestead" and premiered in 1886. According to the cover, this work was written especially for the show. It is instrumental only, with no lyrics so obviously played a part in the show as a dance piece or transition piece. Since the show premiered some 12 years before this Paull publication, we can assume it was written sometime around 1886 and perhaps published by the composer or Thompson.

When The Old Homestead was first presented, comedy and melodrama were popular themes for stage productions. Thompson understood that better than most producers and as a result, Based loosely on his life and people he knew in Swanzey, New Hampshire, The Old Homestead enjoyed one of the longest (over four years) and most productive runs of any stage show in the period. Thompson earned well over $3 million from the show, an astounding figure for 1890! Thompson never wrote another play but he continued to perform the role of Uncle Josh and by the time of his death at 77, he had performed the role over 15,000 times! The play fell into obscurity until 1939 when it was "discovered" by a community organization in Swanzey and resurrected for performance there. Except for a break during the war years, the play has been performed there ever since.

Enjoy this unique stage work(scorch)

Listen to MIDI version

Say "Au Revoir" But Not "Good Bye"


Music by: Harry Kennedy, arr. Paull
Lyrics by: Kennedy
Cover artist: E.H. Pfeiffer

Our last featured work ( don't miss seeing and hearing Paul Revere's Ride and Ring Out Wild Bells in the Paull biography) this month is a real rarity, a song carrying Paull's name as arranger. Clearly, Paull's forte was the March and descriptive piece. There are very, very few songs written by him and fewer still (this may be the only one) where Paull arranged and reissued a popular song. He also rewrote the lyrics to fit the W.W.I situation. The song was originally published in 1893 by the composer's own publishing house, the Kennedy Publishing House, with a rather plain cover (seen here). What is more odd, in my mind is why Paull would then reissue it with a more common cover than most of his works. Not that Pfeiffer's work is considered common but you have to admit that when compared to all of Paull's other works, this cover clearly is a misfit. We do know that there was at least one other such example of a Paull work carrying a Starmer cover, The Tipperary Guard, featured in our series on World War One music.

Paull simply must have been captivated by the song. His cover states "The Most Beautiful Ballad Ever Written" and though it is a nice song, I'm not sure I would agree, perhaps you will. Paull's arrangement is very true to the original, just adding some effects, pedaling and noodling that is typical of Paull's work. I have played the chorus as it was originally written by Kennedy so you can hear the difference between the original and the Paull arrangement. As for saying Au Revoir, rather than good-bye, there is much more to this issue. First, there are two more new (to ParlorSongs) Paull works to be seen and heard in our new Paull biography. Don't miss Paul Revere's Ride and Ring Out Wild Bells, you may as well go there now.

Enjoy this unique "Paull" song (scorch)

Listen to MIDI version

That's it for this month's feature, as always, we hope you have enjoyed the music and learned something from it. Be sure to read this month's new "In search of" biography of ET Paull, there are two more Paull works to be seen there. As for next month, we will have a new feature about songs with "Rose" themes. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of songs written about roses or using roses as a key theme. I know there are many, many collectors who seem to be interested in Rose related songs so don't miss it!.

If you would like to return to part A of this month's issue, click here.

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