Once upon a time, there was a play written by Annette Merkur Schwartz called ‘The Passionate Saxophone Player’. In the tale, a very talented young man plays the saxophone with such ability that villagers dance, squirrels stop gathering nuts and flowers lean forward to hear the lovely notes. (I promise, no more spoilers!)
The play is absolutely delightful, witty and sweet. Yet, in my opinion, the best part of the play is the backstory. Originally, “Annette herself made an initial start at putting all of the songs to music. She worked with her sister, Barbara Lind. Annette would sing the melody to Barbara, and then Barbara would play it back on the piano and get Annette’s approval. Finally, Barbara would decide on the key and write out the music and the notes.” –From my correspondence with Leslie Schwartz
Mysteriously, we have no idea how Allan Blank became involved in writing music for the play. However, Allan and Annette were cousins, so a partnership may have grown from there. Suffice it to say, the Blank family and extensions were gifted musically.
According to Annette’s daughter Leslie, she is unsure if the play was ever performed. However, both Allan and Annette kept their records showing that the play was actively being worked upon.
To add to this already fascinating find, Annette’s daughters have decided to donate their mother’s work on ‘The Passionate Saxophone Player’ to the Old Dominion University Special Collections! I would like to thank Leslie and Melissa for their generosity and will share an update when the papers have been processed.