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-- Liner notes to The Arpaia Sound --

A note about the composer:

On October 3, 1969, his 61st birthday, by accident and purely as a lark he composed his first song -- a ballad: "Love Me -- Hate Me". This apparently tapped a hidden source which had been dormant in him, for within the following five years he wrote 2,500 ballads, 162 marches, 100 polkas, 50 instrumentals and 5 concert overtures.

The amazing, and to many the incomprehensible fact is, that in his entire life he has had only eight music lessons -- four on the E-flat alto saxophone and four on the B-flat clarinet. The fact of the matter is that he never held a clarinet in his hand before he arrived at the age of 51. The four lessons on the saxophone he had had at the age of 21.

He cannot play by ear. In fact, he cannot play one of his own compositions by memory. When he composes, he must write the notes down as they flow from the clarinet as otherwise he may never recapture them. All of his composing is done on the clarinet, and he can write in any key and in any rhythm.

All of his music is personal. It reflects his life, his philosophy, his past experiences and the many mental pictures he has gathered from his varied, painful and reflective existence.

He was the U.S. Naval Gunnery officer aboard the ill-fated Dorchester, which was torpedoed and sunk on February 3, 1943, at 12:55 a.m., in the cold, bitter North Atlantic. He has written many songs about this experience which dramatically describe the sinking and the fate of the 694 soldiers, sailors and civilians who went down with the ship, including the four Army chaplains. He is positive he is the only and last living person today who saw the four chaplains alive just before they heroically went down, in a semi-circle on their knees and in prayer.

He is the youngest of eleven children. His mother died when he was eight months old. He was labeled as the black sheep of the family by his older brothers. He was a sixth-grade dropout. After having worked for five years as a dishwasher and at other menial jobs available to him, he decided to go back to school.

He earned two graduate degrees and has been a practicing trial lawyer for the past 37 years. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois, New York and Michigan, but as to his profession, he will say, "The law I carry around in my head -- the music -- in my heart."

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Discography ©2004 Phil Milstein