Harold Arlen

Biography

Born: February 15, 1905; Buffalo, NY   Died: April 23, 1986; New York, NY  
American songwriter Harold Arlen was born Hyman Arluck. His father, Samuel Arluck, was the cantor and choir director at the Clinton Street synagogue in Buffalo. His musical tastes ran from Italian opera to classical music and he was responsible for Harold's musical education. By the age of 15, the young Arluck had dropped out of high school to play piano in local jazz bands and movie houses. He wanted to be a singer and formed his own group, Read more called The Buffalodians. Fletcher Henderson and Arnold Johnson hired him to do song arrangements and Will Marion Cook encouraged him to compose. "Get Happy" was his first big hit and it was later immortalized on film by Judy Garland. On the strength of this success, he was given a year's contract to write songs for the Piantadosi firm, which led to steady work writing music for revues in New York City. Harold Arlen wrote countless songs for musical revues performed in the theaters around the city, particularly revues at the Cotton Club in Harlem. It was here that Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, and Jimmy Lunceford and their bands performed at night. In one of the 1933 Cotton Club revues, Ethel Waters brought the house down with her emotional performance of "Stormy Weather." Other Arlen songs performed at the Cotton Club include "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" and "I've Got the World on a String." Arlen composed almost three dozen Broadway musicals and film scores, and his inspiration was diverse and eclectic. He could breathe life into all types of subjects, from the children's fantasy The Wizard of Oz to the socially conscious anti-war musical Hooray for What? His subjects include a setting of an Edna Ferber novel called Saratoga; a setting of a short story about bordello workers in Haiti by Truman Capote called "House of Flowers;" the lighthearted movie My Blue Heaven; and a topical musical about the suffragette Dolly Bloomer. Although The Wizard of Oz is the film for which he is best known and remembered, Arlen's contribution to the development of the film musical is vast. In addition to writing for the theater, Arlen also delved into other types of compositions. His basis was always blues idioms. His Americanegro Suite is a group of songs inspired by the African American spiritual tradition, while his biggest project was a blues opera with over 60 musical numbers. In the score of his blues opera Free and Easy, Arlen seeks to distill the essence of the blues in all its variety and its application to the everyday lives of his characters. Although not a success on the stage, the work ranks as a monument to American popular music next to that of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 165 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Broadway to Hollywood / Richard Glazier
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3347 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bronislaw Kaper,  Bernard Herrmann,  George Gershwin,  Frederick Loewe  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Glazier
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  • 2.
    A Tribute to Oscar Peterson / Andrew Litton
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2034 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Harry Warren,  Thelonious Monk,  Johnny Green,  Richard Rodgers  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Litton
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  • 3.
    Forever / Diana Damrau
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 60266 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Wojciech Kilar,  Emmerich Kálmán,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Diana Damrau
    Conductor:  David Charles Abell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 4.
    A Tribute to Sax / Houben, Debecq, The Sax Players [2 CDs + Book]
    Label: Ricercar   Catalog: 341 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Baptiste Singelée,  Manning Sherwin,  Edward Heyman,  Jerome Kern  ... 
    Performer:  Guy Penson,  Guido Goethals,  Christian Debecq,  Ulrich [Sax (Baritone)] Berg  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sax Players
    CD: $37.49
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  • 5.
    Label: Sepia Records   Catalog: 1246 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Harold Arlen,  Spoken Word
    Performer:  Judy Garland,  Robert Young
    Conductor:  Meredith Willson
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  • 6.
    Chanticleer - How Sweet the Sound
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 641038 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Giovanni Palestrina,  Ignacio Jerusalem,  Manuel de Zumaya,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Kevin Baum,  Frank Albinder,  Christopher Fritzsche,  Douglas [Tenor Vocals] Wright  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Jennings,  Ettore Stratta,  Frank Albinder,  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer,  Chanticleer Sinfonia,  Don Haas Trio  ... 
    CD: $68.99
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  • 7.
    Trombone Attraction / Tarkovi, Berliner Philharmoniker Brass
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 91218 Release Date: 12/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Goff Richards,  Gioachino Rossini,  Dennis Armitage,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Trombone Attraction,  Leonhard Paul
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  • 8.
    Intermezzo: Works For Violin And Piano
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 13544 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Intermezzo
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  • 9.
    Teldec - 50-CD Collection
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 643851 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonín Dvorák,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  András Schiff,  Josef Protschka,  Barbara Bonney,  Edita Gruberova  ... 
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Carlo Rizzi,  Reinbert De Leeuw  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 10.
    The John Wilson Orchestra At The Movies: The Bonus Tracks
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 31993 Release Date: 11/05/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Harold Arlen,  Frederick Loewe,  Richard Rodgers,  George Forrest  ... 
    Performer:  Kim Criswell,  Matthew Ford,  Anna-Jane Casey,  Sarah [Soprano Vocal] Fox  ... 
    Conductor:  John Wilson
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  • 11.
    Great American Songbook / King's Singers
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 341 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Cy Coleman,  Richard Rodgers,  Cole Porter,  Arthur Hamilton  ... 
    Conductor:  David Firman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Jutland Symphony Orchestra
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  • 12.
    As Long As There Are Songs / Stephanie Blythe
    Label: Innova   Catalog: 875 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sammy Cahn,  Sholom Secunda,  Harry Warren,  Walter Kent  ... 
    Performer:  Stephanie Blythe,  Craig Terry
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  • 13.
    The Golden Age of Light Music: Fiddles and Bows
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5201 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emile Deltour,  Dorothy Fields,  Cole Porter,  Steve Race  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Roger,  Robert Farnon,  Frederick Fennell,  Steve Race  ... 
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  • 14.
    ReJoyce - The Best of Joyce DiDonato
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 341212 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Giovanni Porta,  Geminiano Giacomelli,  Giuseppe Maria Orlandini  ... 
    Performer:  Joyce DiDonato,  Patrizia Ciofi,  Anna Netrebko,  Nabil Suliman
    Conductor:  Christophe Rousset,  Alan Curtis,  Kazushi Ono,  Edoardo Müller  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques,  Il Complesso Barocco,  Lyon National Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 15.
    Lullabies / Catrin Finch
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4791482 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Catrin Finch,  Hannah Stone,  Bryn Terfel,  Kate Royal  ... 
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  • 16.
    Saints & Sinners (Sancti & Peccatori) - Gennaro Desiderio Ensemble Plays Astor Piazzolla
    Label: Timba   Catalog: 14 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Astor Piazzolla,  Harold Arlen
    Performer:  Gennaro Desiderio
    Conductor:  Gennaro Desiderio
    CD: $7.99
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  • 17.
    The World Of The Oboe
    Label: Oboe Classics   Catalog: 2026 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Napoléon Coste,  Robert Schumann,  Pam Wedgewood,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Dimitris Dekavallas,  Marios Argiros,  Jeremy Polmear,  Diana Ambache  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (Membe
    On sale! $21.98
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  • 18.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: Three Great American Light Orchestras
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5199 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Rudi Revil,  Percy Faith,  Xavier Cugat  ... 
    Performer:  Ray Turner
    Conductor:  Percy Faith,  David Rose,  Paul Weston
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  • 19.
    Falling In Love With Glenn Miller
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63618 Release Date: 01/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hoagy Carmichael,  James Van Heusen,  Jack Lawrence,  Ziggy Elman  ... 
    Conductor:  Glenn Miller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Glenn Miller Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 51051 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Cole Porter,  Mitchell Leigh,  Harold Arlen,  Jule Styne  ... 
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  • 21.
    Music From The Movies / Katherine Jenkins
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001790802 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alan Silvestri,  Bryan Adams,  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Katherine Jenkins
    CD: $12.99
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  • 22.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: Nature's Realm
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5194 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Harold Arlen,  Peter Yorke,  Lothar Olias  ... 
    Performer:  The Wayfarers
    Conductor:  Sidney Torch,  Morton Gould,  Frank Chacksfield,  Ray Martin  ... 
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  • 23.
    Bloomer Girl / Barbara Cook, Keith Andes
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4555 Release Date: 12/04/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Harold Arlen
    Performer:  Edward Hunt,  Brock Peters,  Frank Overton,  Patricia Hammerlee  ... 
    On sale! $29.97
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  • 24.
    A Time For Us / Dubeau, La Pieta
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 28736 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nino Rota,  John T. Williams,  Ennio Morricone,  John Barry  ... 
    Performer:  Angčle Dubeau
    Conductor:  Angčle Dubeau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Pieta
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  • 25.
    Label: Usm Media   Catalog: 1205878 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Claude-Michel Schoenberg,  Lionel Bart,  John Kander  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Crawford,  Clinton Derricks-Carroll,  Michael Ball,  Barbara Dickson  ... 
    Conductor:  Martin Yates,  John Owen Edwards,  Craig Barna,  Callum McLeod  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NSO Ensemble
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