To Robert Elmore from CDJ

To Robert Elmore from CDJ

Today, I just have to tell you about a piece I’m working on. If you remember James Burke’s great series called “Connections,” my memories of it and meeting the author is what brought this one to the top, so to say. It’s not a ‘perfect storm,’ but it’s really interesting to me. So, here are the facts.

Two Italians emigrated to the United States in New York City. They were named Casimiro and Antoinette DeGioio. Notice that the piece shown above was written by Casimiro, an organist, pianist, and vocal coach.

Belle of Mexico, one of Casimiro’s pieces published by Carl Fischer

In 1913, a son named Nicodemo was born. His godfather was Pietro Yon, then organist at St Francis Xavier. Nicodemo, whose name was later changed to Norman, studied with Pietro Yon.

Casimiro, being from Italy, had no greater way to show respect than to write a piece that related to his home country, so he wrote “Neopolitan Night” for organ and dedicated it to the organist he greatly admired, Robert Elmore. (See the dedication above.) Remember, Casimiro was an organist and teacher, just like Elmore.

Robert Elmore

Both father and son later changed the spelling of their names, as did so many immigrants: Casimiro Dello Joio and his famous son, Norman. Look for the restoration of “Notturno Napoletano” later this year.

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2 Responses to To Robert Elmore from CDJ

  1. HERBERT A TAYLOR says:

    RE: Dello Joio, father and son…fascinating! Given the connection between Casimiro and Pietro Yon, it’s not surprising that C. would dedicate a piece to one of Yon’s favorite pupils:

    Biography of Robert Elmore
    Robert Hall Elmore was born on January 2, 1913 in Ramaputnam, India, where his parents, Dr. Wilber Elmore and Maude Elmore, served as American Baptist missionaries. The family, including an older sister Rachel, returned to the United States in 1915. They settled in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1918, where young Bob Elmore began piano study at age 6 and organ study at age 9. He wrote his first composition “Ozma Waltz” at age eleven.

    In 1925 the family moved to Wayne, Pennsylvania, as Dr. Wilber Elmore had accepted the invitation to teach church history and missions at the newly formed Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Young Bob Elmore studied organ, piano and music theory with the famed Pietro Yon, organist of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. He commuted to twice weekly to New York from age 13 to 20, and studied with Yon again in his mid-twenties. He lived in the family home at 130 Walnut Avenue, Wayne until his death in 1985.

    While in his teens, Robert Elmore was organist at Central Baptist Church, Wayne, PA (1925-1933) and also played for the Lincoln, Bryn Mawr Seville and Anthony Wayne theaters. Thus in his early years his musical persona was shaped by influences he exhibited throughout his life: church music, classical traditions, virtuoso organ playing, lighter popular music, and a dramatic theatricality. He was a great lover of opera, attending the performances of the Metropolitan Opera in Philadelphia. His favorite composers were Verdi, Puccini and Wagner, whose influence is clearly heard in his choral works. His first large organ recital was on August 17, 1929 in the Auditorium at Ocean Grove NJ. He was introduced by his teacher, Mr. Yon, who said: “I consider Bob Elmore the foremost American organist of the day.”

    Thanks, Michael!

    Herb Taylor

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