Letters I Never Mailed: Clues to a Life

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University Rochester Press, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 313 pages
Letters I Never Mailed: Clues to a Life, by Alec Wilder, in a new, annotated edition with introduction and supplementary material by David Demsey, foreword by jazz pianist Marian McPartland, and photographs by Louis Ouzer.
Alec Wilder is a rare example of a composer who established a reputation both as a prolific composer of concertos, sonatas, and operas, and as a popular songwriter [including the hit "I'll Be Around"]. He was fearsomely articulate and had a wide and varied circle of friends ranging from Graham Greene to Frank Sinatra and Stan Getz. Letters I Never Mailed, hailed at its first publication [in 1975, by Little, Brown], tells the story of Wilder's musical and personal life through unsent "letters" addressed to various friends.
In it, he shares his insights -- and sometimes salty opinions -- on composing, musical life, and the tension between art and commercialism. Thisnew, scholarly edition leaves Wilder's original text intact but decodes the mysteries of the original through an annotated index that identifies the letters' addressees, a biographical essay by David Demsey, and photographs by renowned photographer and lifelong friend of Wilder, Louis Ouzer.

David Demsey is Professor of Music and coordinator of jazz studies at William Paterson University and an active jazz and classical saxophonist. He is co-author of Alec Wilder: A Bio-Bibliography [Greenwood Press] and has contributed to The Oxford Companion to Jazz.

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Never Mailed
Annotated Addressee List
Selected Compositions by Alec Wilder
Selected Discography
Selected Bibliography

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About the author (2005)

Alec Wilder was an American composer who wrote both serious and popular music. He composed short operas and chamber music, including the Suite for String Orchestra. He composed and arranged band music for Benny Goodman and Jimmy Dorsey, among others. His songs were performed by such singers as Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland and include "It's So Peaceful in the Country" and "The Lady Sings the Blues." He also composed film scores and children's songs.

David Demsey is Professor of Music and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University.

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