Monday, February 29, 2016

Delving into Hylands' personality and etc.

It has been a very joyous weekend for all who attended the first Santa Cruz Rag Time festival, and it was certainly a great success. Thanks go all to Kylan who ran this whole thing, and did an amazing  with herding all of us cats(musicians). It was such a fun but exhausting weekend! 
Now I gave a seminar on Fred Hylands on Saturday, though only six people came, but luckily, those people who came were very interested in the subject and very much enjoyed themselves. I used some sheet music as examples, and some of my cartoons of Fred and Marie as images for the seminar, as no electronic devices were able to be used when doing this. The night before I gave this speech, I went through it in order with my grandparents, and that turned out just finely, but after that, we got to talking in-depth about Fred and Marie. It started out just as a single question from my grandma, but then it stemmed outward into something much more complicated
Since I am still a little bit stumped in trying to figure out Hylands' personality and why many refused to speak of him later, this conversation helped quite a lot more in trying to understand this whole jag. We discussed how wild and obviously unstable Hylands was, and that any kind of alcohol or deadly drugs could have been responsible for not only his spontaneity and varying characteristics. She had told me that she read something recently on George Gershwin, and most of us know about him. Though when she explained what she read in this book, she spoke of how the key to Gershwin's success was a sort of imbalance, and by this she meant some thing like ADD, or something of that type. That made me think about that for a moment, as it was so often said that Hylands had very winning and charming ways when meeting people, however, he was not mentioned by those who worked with him later. Well, scratch that, he was mentioned by these people, but those who caught them in this way of words did not, as keeping with the politeness of Victorian tradition, speak of Hylands wrongfully. From this, it would seem a trifle suspicious that the interviewers refused to speak of him, to say nothing at all about him. What row of words they must have kicked up when speaking of Hylands! Hmm. It's just very strange. She also brought up the fact that Marie might have been the same way, or similar somewhat. By this, I mean whatever it was that those who remembered him said, might have been a similar story for her. Now that would make sense, as only someone like Fred could be with him. Heh, that must have been something that was an ongoing pun with recording staff at Columbia...

Since he was complicated, and tangled up in a mess of music and emotions, we can look to his music for another bundle of clues. Such as these two things here:
Yep, that one. Sorry I mention it so often. 
And also this one here:
Ooh! Thirty-second notes..... oh boy! 

No, I mean that in a sarcastic way, just look at that! It's very complicated for majorly published music in the late-1890's. 
I'm surprised that Will Rossiter was alright with publishing this, as it's tangled up and complicated(like that cat who wrote it) and this is just the first page of it. Who knows what's next... What you see directly above is actually a great example of how complicated Hylands was, and the same thing can be said about his Darkey Volunteer, as it's just the same amount of crazy.
In fact, you can hear Hylands' orchestra arrangement here.(do excuse the abrupt ending of the sound file, the one first listed is the one I mean). 
There's so much going on here. He expected them to read this:
Yep. What a mess of wonder it is. They read it easily, as they were professional musicians in their day, but Hylands was just a few steps ahead of them always. The orchestra members were all standing on their lily pad a few feet away from Hylands who was constantly thinking elsewhere and ahead. He was like that with everyone he worked with, no matter who they were. Heck! If he was working with stars like Ben Harney or Ana Held, he'd still be his vain and eccentric self. 
Now something that I just confirmed this evening is that one of Hylands' pseudonyms in the early teen's was  Fred Whitney. Why? Well, I learned what Fred's mother's maiden name was, and guess what it was...Whitney(Mary was her first name by the way). Just to prove my point fully, on the back of his The Rag-Time Boardinghouse from 1912, there are two tunes listed on the top of the back page. These tunes are "The BootBlack Rag" and "Trifling", the name listed as the composer is Fred Whitney, and I had the feeling that Hylands wrote these pieces, because of their complexity and interesting melodic choices. Now that I know "Fred Whitney" was certainly one of his pseudonyms, that is out of the way in needing evidence. Now the fact that he used his mother's maiden name is pretty interesting actually. That shows a possible deep mourning for his mother who died when he was 21. It must have effected him for as long as he lived, in some way or another. 

I am still rather unsure of Hylands' personality, but one thing is for sure, he was very intricate chap, and was extremely intelligent. He was so quick when talking with people, that he would point out the smallest of things in everyone's words. Similar to when someone says something quick as a sort of sarcastic joke or just to move along a conversation, Hylands would laugh a little, but then call out the statement, asking deeper questions about it, though that was not the speaker's intention at all. It's very annoying to the person who said it, but Hylands was so bright that he could analyze someone fully in a split second. Adding to his wild mind, and intelligence, he was a strategic manipulator, and when he was drunk, he must have been a nightmare to those around him, though his mind must have still been rather sharp, but not as intense or anxious when he was either sober or on cocaine or opium. How he must have been a real character, even from what we have written about him that still exists to-day. 

Yesterday was actually the birthdate of Fred Hylands, and I played plenty of his wonderful renditions of Rag-Time at the second day of the Santa Cruz festival. 

I hope you enjoyed this! 

No comments:

Post a Comment