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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 20, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta a The Pearson music Memorable theme scored for documentary Few Canadian TV series have triggered such enthusiasm as CBC's First Person Singular (Hie Pearson Memoirs) series, telecast Sundays at 10 pm.; even fewer have generated such favorable response (or the musical score. Press reviewers have de- scribed the music in superla- tive 'beautiful, Inspiring, catchy, appealing' and the CBC has received letters and phone colls praising the music and enquiring whether it's available on record. (For the present, at least, it isn't) The memorable music for the Pearson series is the work of talented German-born pianist' comuoser Herbert Helbig, a prolific, personable, classically' trained but jazz-oriented musi- cian who lies lived in Toronto since 1952 CHARMING "The Pearson memoirs were hard to soys HeJWgt, "The man himself was charm- Int, but so self-effacing. In one scene he recalls his boyhood and the 'combination of happi- ness and Itoliness in the home' find there was considerable re- ligious influence in his youth; hb father was a Methodist preacher." With this background in mind Helbig turned for Inspiration to an old copy of The Methodist Hymn and Tune Book and found a composition entitled The Home published in the 1880s nnd perhaps song in church by Lester Pearson him- on which lie based the opening and main theme. He also arranged variations en Polish once No. 1 by Xaver Soharwenfca, a number that the youthful Lester Pearson played during a piano test, to comple- ment appropriate sequences throughout the 13-week televi- sion autobiography. With the exception of the Methodist hymn ami Polish Dance, the rest of the score is original "A matter of crafts- The ktoa for OM particular sub theme came mm at 4 a.m., so he got out of bed and struggled downstairs to his stu- dio to go over tt on the piano and get the music on paper. Prior to actually creating the score, llelbig discussed the con- cept of the series with producer Cameron Graham and writer- director Munroe Scott, then screened the Pearson films. The music wan recorded in Toronto with Helbig conduct- big a 36-plece orchestra of top musicians in four sessions, and a smaller group in two addi- tional recording dates. He personally arranged the musicians "along the lines of a small symphony orchestra." The piano parts were played by Leo Borkin. who Helbig calls "one of the finest pianists around for this type of music. There was one sound cue I wrote that posed extreme tech- nical difficulties." Helbig re- calls, "but Leo just sat down and whipped it right off." EMIGRANT Helbig. 40, studied classical music in his native Germany and played pop music at var- ious American clubs there. The first pop piece he learned was Body and Soul; it remains his favorite. He emigrated to Canada In 19% and made his home m To- ronto where he studied at the Royal Conservatory of Musk and began a now-flourishing ca- reer as pianist, composer, ar- ranger, director. Although First Person Singu- lar Is the first documentary lei Helbig scored, has composed music for numerous films and radio and television programs. He has worked musical di- rector of eight musical revues Including 'Hey now be- ing staged at Niagara-on-the- Lake. He has performed at var- ious Toronto clubs and has played solo piano in an early evening set at Toronto's Club 22 for the past 10 years. Last January, he doubled on the late night set as well, with his wife, singer Marion 'Barton. "A heavy chuckles Hel- big. JAZZ PERFORMER During the 1960s Helbig per- formed with some of the top jazz musicians on the such greats as Jack Teagarden, Jimmy Rushing, Carmen Mc- Rae and Zoot Sims. He to ntu- sidal director and performer for the educational TV series Polka Dot Door, has arranged and recorded an LP entitled Classical Gas, and has done the musk for a number of TV com- mercials. Herbert and Marion Helbig live with their son and two daughters in a 63-year-old for- mer farm bouse in what is now a fashionable residential area in North Toronto. Marion, who he calls by her childhood nickname is the main source of his inspra- tion, he says, and he relies heavily on her opinions of mu- sic lie's composed, Helbig recently scored a dra- ma titled That Devil's Petition, by First Person Singular writ- er Munroe Scott for broadcast tMs fall on CBC radio. He says he'd like to score Wu-feng, published but yet unproduesd MID-CITY... MEANS MONEY AT REASONABLE RATES Honioowiwr loons from to or IOANS MADE QUrCKLY AND CONFIDENTIALLY IN TMf fttVACY Of YOUR HOMI FAST SAME DAY SIRVICt Also to NOftMAN J. GtfSMECHT FIRST MORTGAGE FUNDS Available for Commercial, etc. crt Call 329-0556 for full particulars Evenings and 328-0005 MID-CITY MORTGAGE CO. LTD. 1265 3rd Ave. S. Lethbridge, Alberta play by Scott, as "almost an opera." Now that he's completed the Pearson memoirs series for CBC-TV, Helbig expresses in- terest in scoring a series based on John Dtefenbaker, should opportunity arise. write something entirely different (from the Pearson score) for Mr. says Helbig. "He's a very flam- boyant personality very in- teresting, but entirely dif- ferent" Pearson composer, Herbert Helbig German-born pianist-composer Herbert Helbig, 40, the man for the memorable musical score of CBC-TV's current First Person Singular (The Pearson Me- moirs) series, telecast Sundays at 10 p.m. The series has been .enthusiastically received and Helbig's evocative score has been singled out for special praise by press and the viewing public. Helbig came to Canada in 1952 and enjoyed a flourishing music career, working out of Toronto, since then. R.W.Y. UPHOLSTERING PHONE 328-5257 ANYTIME ;