ELLSWORTH — Eighty years ago, a young Judy Garland donned ruby slippers and mesmerized generations of movie-goers as a lost young farm girl named Dorothy singing her way through “The Wizard of Oz.”
But, that film was just a tiny piece of Garland’s career. The Minnesota native started performing vaudeville in 1924 at age 2. She stopped singing in 1969 when she died of an overdose at age 47.
“Despite the fact that she had a short life, she had a long career,” said award-winning music producer, critic and translator Lawrence Schulman, who lives in Mount Desert.
Schulman will give a talk on Garland titled “Moments of Magic” at the Ellsworth Public Library on Thursday, March 28, at 6 p.m. Admission is free.
Incidentally, The Grand is performing a stage adaption of “The Wizard of Oz” for three weekends in April, starting Friday, April 5.
There will be a drawing at Schulman’s talk for a pair of tickets to the musical.
Back to Garland.
“For me, it’s always been about the music,” Schulman said. “My goal has always been to show her as a serious artist.”
“She had a beautiful voice,” Schulman said. “Her voice was very natural. She sang the way she talked.”
“I discovered Garland when I was 12 years old,” said Schulman, who remembers buying the 1961 album “Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall.”
That live performance was the “greatest thing she ever did,” Schulman said. Garland was 39 and won a Grammy Award for the album. She was the first woman to win the Grammy for Album of the Year.
“This year marks the 50th year of her death,” the critic said. “It’s amazing to think so many years after her death there are new things coming to CD.”
Schulman himself has been responsible for numerous CD sets devoted to Garland over the past 26 years and written the liner notes for most of them.
To that end, on Feb. 22, Schulman released a compilation of rare and never released recordings in a two-CD set, “Judy Garland: Lost Tracks 2 1936 to 1967.”
Of the 50 tracks, 40 are new to CD. The CD is available on Amazon.
Schulman’s 2010 CD set, “Judy Garland: Lost Tracks” (JSP Records) was featured in the Wall Street Journal.
Another Garland marvel is that there are recordings of her voice from every stage of her life.
“We can listen to her entire life,” Schulman said. “We have documents of her voice from her whole life, which is pretty remarkable. It’s interesting for a curator like me.”
Schulman noted that Garland’s voice changed around 1964. Her larynx was damaged when her stomach was pumped.
“It didn’t have the suppleness and the velvetiness of the 1940s and ’50s. She was at her peak in the 1950s, I would say.”
The last 10 years of her life she didn’t do any studio recordings but she did “record live a lot.”
Schulman said this will be the 15th time he’s given the talk and the first time he’s given the Garland talk in Ellsworth.
That will be it.
“I think 15 is a nice round number,” he said.
Schulman includes nine audio-visual clips during the hour and quarter lecture.
Schulman has been interviewed by Maine Public Radio and French Public Radio — France Culture. France Musique, another French public radio station, devoted an hour to Schulman in February 2016.
Schulman translates for the French music website, OpusHD.net, which is devoted to high-resolution classical sound recordings.