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CLASSICAL  February 2008

CLASSICAL February 2008

Subject:

Re: Popular Song Arrangements of Chopin's Music

From:

Donald Clarke <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 16 Feb 2008 19:20:13 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (47 lines)

"Mimi Ezust" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I am terribly embarrassed to let everyone know that I know this bit of
> information, but a long time ago, (when I was a young child, of course!)
> I saw a very gawdawful bathetic movie with Liberace playing a pianist
> who goes deaf.  He "wrote" a popular song called "Sincerely Yours" for
> the eponymous movie.  Only years later did I discover that the song was
> based on the Chopin Etude 0p 25#1, "Harp"  ...

Don't be embarrassed, Mimi.  It doesn't matter how you start out on
a lifetime of enjoying music, as long as you get there.  It was Percy
Faith's ten-inch LPs that introduced me to the riotous, colorful sound
of what amounted to a symphony orchestra, and the best of those early
'50s arrangements hold up to this day.  I would blush to tell you about
some of the stuff I listened to nearly 60 years ago...  But I was already
on a quest.  (I always wondered where a song called "Whirlwind" came
from, that Faith recorded for RCA in 1949.  I recently discovered it
was a cowboy song, recorded by Gene Autry!) There was Faith's "Swedish
Rhapsody" (from Alfven's "Midsummer Vigil"), Provost's "Intermezzo",
Richard Hayman, Leroy Anderson, all kinds of stuff that was almost if
not quite classical, and real arrangements played by real musicians.

This month Barnes & Noble is playing in the stores a 3- or 4-CD set of
classical bleeding chunks, two or three minutes each of Romantic, Baroque
etc excerpts from warhorses...and I don't mind a bit.  Somewhere some
kid is going to hear a snatch of Tchaikovsky or Mozart or whatever, and
look for a recording of the whole piece, and be off on a lifetime's
voyage of discovery.

And speaking of a long time ago...In 1950 a pianist and bandleader
in Chicago had a fluke hit (no.  3 in Billboard) with an instrumental
recording of "Bewitched", a song from "Pal Joey" that hadn't made much
of an impression until then, and subsequently became a standard...and
Snyder's next release was something called "Choppin' Up Chopin", but
I'll be darned if I can remember what it sounded like.  An Ebay photo
of the (rare) 45 rpm disc on the Tower label gives a composer credit
for the other side, a pop song called "My Silent Love", but none for
the Chopin rip-off.  I wonder what it was; none of my reference books
mentions it.

Donald Clarke

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