Selections from the 1902 stage musical The Wizard of Oz by St. Louis native Paul Tietjens will highlight a concert of 19th- and early 20th-century popular song at the Washington University Gallery of Art Friday, Nov. 7.
The concert, part of the Music at the Gallery of Art series, is free and open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. in Steinberg Auditorium, Steinberg Hall, near the intersection of Skinker and Forsyth boulevards. For more information, call (314) 935-4841.
The program will feature six songs by Tietjens, whose manuscript collection is housed in the university’s Gaylord Music Library and in whose honor Tietjens Hall, home of the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, is named. Songs include Scarecrow, Dorothy’s Love is Love and The Traveler and the Pie. Also on the program are Variations on “Yankee Doodle,” a virtuosic work for piano; and popular songs from the 1850s, such as Who’ll Have Me and We Met by Chance, published by St. Louis’ Balmer & Weber and selected to commemorate the university’s founding in 1853.
All works are drawn from the music library’s 60,000-item Sheet-Music Collection. Performers include undergraduate and graduate students from the Department of Music, accompanied by Annette Burkhart, instructor in piano.
Tietjens was born in St. Louis in 1877. At age 14, he appeared as piano soloist with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and later studied in Chicago, where he met Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Baum invited Tietjens to compose music for a stage adaptation, which opened in Chicago in 1902 and enjoyed a successful five-year run. (The musical was revived in 1962 at The Muny in Forest Park — “probably the last time it was heard in St. Louis,” noted Sue Taylor, Ph.D., concert coordinator in the Department of Music.)
Flush with triumph, Tietjens pulled up stakes for Europe, where he studied with famed pianists Harold Bauer and Theodor Leschetizky, and he remained abroad for the rest of his career (though his piece Carnival was performed by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1922). He finally moved back to St. Louis in 1942 and died the following year.
Tietjens’ music manuscripts and printed editions were donated to Gaylord Music Library in 1961 by his sister, Mrs. Louis A. Dammert. These consist of more than 150 compositions, including music for voice, piano solos, chamber works, symphonies and orchestral works, as well as an opera, The Tents of the Arabs, and music for the play A Kiss for Cinderella. An ongoing conservation effort is being spearheaded by music librarian Brad Short; Roxanna Herrick, preservation administrator at Olin Library; and Shirley Baker, dean of University Libraries.
Tietjens Hall, dedicated in 1975, was designed by the firm Smith and Entzeroth and built thanks to a bequest from Otto Tietjens, Paul’s brother. The facility, now joined to the Music Classroom Building, contains teaching studios, a rehearsal hall, an electronic music studio and 21 soundproof practice rooms.