From out of the Sixties’ fascination with The Twenties comes Warner Bros.’ TV musical-drama, “The Roaring 20’s.” Starring Dorothy Provine, Rex Reason, Donald May, and Gary Vinson, the show mixes equal parts of hurley-burley and melody. In this album, the accent is on melody, with just a dash of hurley.
The major part of the melody-making in “The Roaring 20’s” is performed by Miss Provine. Her voice slithers down through the decades with such clarity on these numbers that the listener is left with the appetizing sensation that any moment now she’ll come busting through the beaded drape, drop an eyelid with the subtlety of a fire curtain, and let fly with a voice that fairly booms off the baldies out front. Not that Pinky (the character Dorothy portrays) lives alone in this vivid world.
On this album you’ll be hearing Pinky’s Playboys (the cabaret band that accompanies Dorothy on the show, together with the six squeaky-voiced chorus girls who go under the name of “And the Girls,” a trio of young chorines. reminiscent of the limp-harmony groups of the era, a recreated “syncopation dance orchestra,” a New York Dixieland group, and various combinations thereof. Put them all together, they spell the music of the Twenties with all the Roar still in them. If you want to think of this album as a documentary, you won’t be far wrong ; the music is as authentic as it can be. Much of it is played directly from “stocks,” the mass-produced musical arrangements of the time. These have been used because of Warner Bros.’ desire to produce a documented collection of the styles and moods of the era’s popular music. To this end, thirty (instead of the customary dozen) tunes have been included. Each of them, as you can note from the long list above, shares equally in the flavor of The Twenties. They are surrounded with all the sentiment and sass of the Prohibition Era. And as one listens through this cavalcade of the musical Twenties, it is almost impossible to turn one’s mind’s eye away from the greatest visions of that period : Lindy coming home, Al Smith, Jimmy Walker, Jolson on one knee, and the Bambino swatting one out there ; the aerial dare devils, raccoon-coated collegians, flashing hip flasks, and six-day bicycle races. And, of course, the music of Pinky and her Playboy, The latter item is included in this listing because it fits in so neatly. The air of utter authenticity that surrounds each TV episode of “The Roaring 20’s,” from the city room of The New York Record to the shuttered clubs along Broadway, all the areas and artifacts of Manhattan in The Twenties are there.
Much of the credit for this extraordinary realism can be given to the large storehouse of early Warner Bros. newsreel and feature film that captures this era simply because it is of this era. Through such specialized film-making processes as rear projection and intercutting, it is actually possible to create the illusion of the show’s 1960 actors taking part in a chase sequence through an authentic, contemporary ticker tape parade of the era that is the real stuff. It is this same devotion to authenticity that creates this album. With all its breadth of repertoire and performers, it presents a true panorama of America’s wackiest age — The Roaring 20’s.
SIDE ONE ACT I Band 1 – Prelude The orchestral prelude is built on three themes from the opera. First comes the march that in the last act accompanies the procession to the bullring. It is succeeded by the refrain from Escamillo’s couplets in Act II (Toreador, en garde) after which the march returns. Then there is a sudden change of pace and mood.
To the accompaniment of string tremolandi the lower instruments of the orchestra play a sombre theme with chromatic intervals, which represents the powerful, fateful fascination exercised by Carmen over men. Then the curtain rises to reveal a busy square in Seville, a tobacco factory on one side, a military guard-house on the other. In the commentary that follows, passages in square brackets [thus] summarise the action not covered by this record.
Band 2 – Avec la garde montante After a while, we hear in the distance the relief guard approaching. They enter, preceded by two buglers and two fifers; then come Lieutenant Zuniga and Corporal Jose, then a group of excited urchins who burlesque their movements and sing a chorus in shrill tones (Avec la garde montante, nous arrivons). [The officers confer and the sentries are relieved. Before the old guard has marched off with the urchins still in attendance, we hear the other Corporal, Morales, telling Jose of a pretty girl who has been enquiring for him. Jose guesses that it must be Micaela, the village sweetheart he had left behind at home.]
Band 3 – Mais nous ne voyons pas la Carmencita! La voila! (Entrance of Carmen) .. . L’amour est un oiseau rebelle (Habanera) A crowd of young men have gathered in the square to see the girls from the cigarette factory come out for their morning break ; especially they are eager to see the most famous of them all, La Carmencita, the gypsy. At last the girls come out, parading about smoking their little cigars and flirting with the men. Only Jose is not interested : as a Basque he prefers the fair girls from his native province, and he sits down to make a little chain for his priming pin. Presently Carmen herself appears, a bouquet of Cassia flowers in her corsage and a flower in the corner of her mouth. The men press round her but her eye is upon the one man who is paying no attention to her – Don Jose. Carmen sings, directly `at’ him, the Habanera which Bizet modelled on a Spanish song by Sebastien Yradier. The refrain sums up Carmen’s philosophy – “The god of love is gypsy born and knows no law. If you don’t love me, though I love you, then take care 1”
Band 4 – Pres des remparts de Seville .. . Tais-toi! (Seguidilla and Duet) [Towards the end of the first act Carmen is hauled out of the cigarette factory by Don Jose and two troopers and brought to the military guardroom nearby to answer a charge of stabbing one of her workmates. Her attitude is defiant and on the order of Zuniga, the guard commander, her wrists have been bound while he goes off to write an order for her detention. Carmen then proceeds to exercise her wit and feminine appeal, of which he has already had a taste earlier in the day, upon Don Jose. Told to stop talking,] Carmen proceeds to sing of how she proposes to spend the evening at Lillas Pastia’s tavern on the outskirts of the town, and how she is looking for a new lover to amuse her over the week-end (Seguidilla). Her invitation is perfectly forthright : “who wishes to love me, 1 will love him ! . . . 1 have hardly time to wait for my new lover !” – but she goes on to make it quite clear that it is Jose she has in mind. [Against her fascination he is quite helpless : his resistance soon breaks down before her promises and he loosens her bonds and – as the act ends – allows her to escape.]
ACT II Band 5 – Les tringles des sistres tintaient (Gypsy Song) Two months elapse before the second act, which takes place in the courtyard of Lillas Pastia’s tavern. The scene opens with a gypsy song and dance. Carmen and two other gypsies, Frasquita and Mercedes, are sitting at a table with some officers, Zuniga among them, drinking and smoking. Carmen, watching two dancers, suddenly springs up and begins a vivid commentary, her two friends joining in the refrain (Gypsy Song). The music grows ever faster, ever wilder, reaching a climax of frenzy as all give themselves up to dancing.
SIDE TWO Band 1 – Votre toast (Toreador’s Song) [The proprietor is about to close for the night when a crowd outside is heard acclaiming the matador Escamillo, who enters with his admirers and is toasted by Zuniga.] He responds in the well known couplets, “Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre” (“I wish to return your toast, Senors, for soldiers and bullfighters have an understanding. Fighting is their game”) and goes on with a colourful description of the excitements of the bull-ring. The refrain, already heard in the Prelude to Act I, is marked to be sung avec fatuite, for Bizet is at pains to depict, at Escamillo’s very first entrance, the naïve conceit of this reigning popular idol.
Band 2 – La fleur que to m’avais jetee (Flower Song) [Carmen has remained behind in the tavern alone. She is expecting Jose, of whose release from prison she has heard, and when he arrives greets him rapturously. But almost at once the bugles sounding Retreat are heard and Jose’s anxiety to get back to barracks arouses her contempt. She laughs at his protestations of love.] Then, as this excerpt begins, the theme of Carmen’s fateful fascination is heard in the orchestra, and Jose takes from inside his tunic the faded flower she had so provocatively tossed at him on the occasion of their first meeting. He goes on to tell her what it meant to him in his imprisonment. Though it withered and dried up it always kept its perfume, and sometimes during the long nights brought back memories so painful that he took to cursing her, detesting her for her hold over him. But there always returned the one desire, the one hope, to see her again. “For you had only to appear, 0 my Carmen, to make me yours alone !”
ACT III Band 3 – Carreau! Pique! (Card Scene) [linable to resist Carmen’s fascination, Jose has deserted from his regiment and followed her with the smugglers into the mountains, where they have a cache for their contraband goods. It is evident that Carmen is already tiring of him and she suggests that he should leave them ; obviousiy he has no heart for a smuggler’s life. The thought of separation from her maddens Jose and Carmen divines that he is capable of murder. This she accepts philosophic-ally : “well, after all, Fate is our master,” she says. Meanwhile Mercedes and Frasquita have settled down to tell their fortunes with a pack of cards.] Carmen joins them and moves the cards to her side of the table and turns up first a diamond, then a spade – Death ! “It is useless,” she sings, “to shuffle the cards in the hope of avoiding unpleasant answers – the cards do not lie !” and again she turns up the cards of death. This sombre air in F minor is the supreme moment in Bizet’s portrayal of Carmen’s character, revealing the smouldering depths in her nature underlying her irresponsibility and lack of any moral sense.
Band 4 – C’est des contrabandlers le refuge ordinaire . . . Je dis que den ne neepouvante (Micaela’s Air) [Presently Micaela appears, guided to this remote place by a peasant from the valley.] When he has gone, we learn from her air, Je dis que rlen ne m’epouvante, that the intrepid girl has come to try to rescue Jose from the wiles of “that woman” who has turned him into a criminal. She prays to God for strength.
ACT IV Band 5 – Les void! [The curtain rises on Act IV to reveal the crowds streaming into the bullring, while the sellers of fruit and fans, wine, water and tobacco hawking their wares lend colour and animation to the scene.] Presently (as this excerpt begins) the march of the Prelude is heard, while the children cry out “Here they come !” (Les void !) The procession of the bull-fighters in their picturesque costumes passes by to the accompaniment of excited comments from the crowd ; first the Toreros with their lances, then authority represented by the Alguazil who is greeted with derision, then the Chulos (assistants to the Toreros) and the Bandilleros. Last come the Picadors followed – to the tune of the Toreador’s Song – by the matador Escamillo himself with Carmen, radiant in a sumptuous dress, leaning on his arm. [From here, after Escamillo’s entry into the ring, it is not far to the final climax of the tragedy, with Jose, who has been lurking in the crowd, confronting Carmen and in an uncontrollable fit of jealousy stabbing her to death.]
The story of “La Traviata” is based on the younger Dumas’ famous play ” La Dame aux Camelias,” which had its premiere in Paris in 1852. Verdi saw the play in the French capital that same year and instantly recognised the possibilities of transforming it into an opera.
With the help of his librettist, Francesco Piave, he accomplished this feat in an amazingly short time, making minor alterations and simplifications in Dumas’ story. One of the changes concerns the name of the heroine. In the opera she is called Violetta. It is an immense credit to the composer’s genius that he extracted all possible character nuances from the original play and brought them into even sharper focus through his music. Again we have an example of the opera outliving the play as the basic story, its characters having become ageless through the power of the music. When the opera had its premiere at the Teatro Fenice in Venice in 1853 it proved a resounding fiasco. It seems that the audience objected to so realistic and immoral a subject in modern dress. Not wail Verdi had changed the period of the action did the opera become an instantaneous success. ” Time will tell,” Verdi wrote after the disastrous Venice premiere and time certainly has made ” La Traviata” one of the most popular operas.
ACT I.—The prelude contains the tragic melody that is descriptive of Violetta’s fatal illness, which is later fully developed into the hauntingly beautiful introduction to the last act. After the opening bars of the overture this theme is replaced by the motif symbolising her capacity for sincere love. Yet even while it is coming into full prominence it is combined with another theme of arabesque ornamentations, characterising the glittering Parisian salons that are the back-ground for the heroine’s life. After the prelude the curtain rises on the magnificent banquet hall in Violetta’s home. The luxury of her surroundings bespeak the wealth which she enjoys as the most famous Parisian courtesan of the day. The arriving guests inquire whether Violetta is well enough to give this party to which she replies, in complete defiance of her recent illness, ” It is for joy alone that I live! ” Presently she is introduced to a young man, Alfredo Germont, and is told that he had passed the days of her illness in the vicinity of her house, in order to be near her. When the gathering demands a toast, it is Alfredo who sings of wine, wit and beauty, to which Violetta soon replies with a toast to lightheartedness and gaiety. Everyone joins in the toast, but now Alfredo’s words
are taking on a new meaning, a new urgency. They are unmistakably words of love for Violetta. As the guests proceed into the ballroom led on by Violetta, she is overcome by one of her spells of fainting and coughing. Her worried friends gather around her but she assures them that it is nothing and bids them to start dancing. They leave her and return to their revelry and only Alfredo remains behind with Violetta who wishes to rest for a while. Alfredo’s concern and love for her are obvious and she is almost taken aback by his sincerity. The evening draws to a close and the guests depart. Violetta, now alone, is aroused by a strange sensation. ” Ah, fors’è lui ” she wonders, recalling Alfredo’s words. But realising that a life of love and devotion for one man is no longer possible for her she dispels any introspective thoughts with a toast to pleasure, ” Sempre libera ” (Always free). It grows increasingly wilder as Alfredo, outside, sings again of his love for her.
ACT II.—Several months have passed. Violetta and Alfredo are ecstatically happy while living together now in a charming country place near Paris. By accident Alfredo dis-covers that Violetta has been selling her jewellery to pay the bills. In shame and remorse he sings the aria ” O mio rimorso “, an aria which is customarily cut in the opera (in favour of the more popular ” De’miei bollenti spiriti “) and which Andre Kostelanetz herewith restores to the score. When Alfredo has left for Paris, in an effort to raise some money himself, Violetta is confronted by a visitor. It is Alfredo’s father, the elder Germont, who asks her to leave his son, because her tarnished reputation is standing in the way of his son’s career. Worse still, Alfredo’s affair with Violetta is harming the lives of other members of the Germont family. Heartbroken, Violetta finally agrees to make the sacrifice and leave Alfredo. Because he must never know the real reason, she tells him in a letter that she is weary of his love and has returned to her former life in Paris. On his return Alfredo finds the letter and is consoled in his despair by his father who sings the famous aria ” Di Provenza it mar.” The second scene of the act takes place at a ball given by one of Violetta’s friends. Alfredo has gate-crashed the party, hoping to find Violetta. But when she makes her entrance on the arm of an old admirer, Baron Douphol, Alfredo ignores her and makes for the gambling table. Nervously Violetta watches him, as he is winning round after round. Finally he takes his winnings and hurls them at her feet, exclaiming sarcastically that thus he is repaying the money she had spent on him. The crowd is horrified at his outrageous behaviour and the Baron challenges him to a duel. Mustering her last ounce of strength, Violetta tells Alfredo that her actions were prompted solely by her love for him. She falls to the floor in a faint.
ACT III.—After the moving orchestral prelude to this act, the curtain rises on Violetta’s bedroom. Her grief on having been forced to leave Alfredo and the subsequent shock at the party have left her health completely undermined. The doctor now holds little hope for his consumptive patient. With difficulty Violetta manages to leave her bed. In her hand is a crumpled letter which she has read continually. It is from the elder Germont in which he tells her that after the duel Alfredo had fled to a foreign country, and that he, the father, finally told him of her sacrifice. The letter ends with the assurance that Alfredo will soon return to Paris to ask Violetta’s forgiveness. Looking into her dressing-table mirror she is horrified to see her face drawn and haggard and in a most pathetic aria, ” Addio del passato “, she bids farewell to the world. A few moments later Alfredo rushes in begging her to forgive him and assuring her of his undying love. In his arms she once more dreams of a life with him, knowing that now his father will no longer stand in their way. To the orchestral strains of Alfredo’s love theme from Act I she feels renewed strength. Rapturously she exclaims: ” It’s strange—but the terrible pains have ceased. New strength is born in me. Yes, yes, will live! ” and with a last joyous outcry she falls dead in Alfredo’s arms.
A rare 7 inch E.P. (Extended Play) record from 1960. During the sixties E.P.s were a common release format and artists like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones released several during their early careers. They were always accompanied by a picture sleeve, usually glossy which made them a collectible item. This Ray Conniff E.P. features four tracks: An Improvisation On “Liebestraum”, You Are My Heart`s Delight, An Improvisation On “None But The Lonely Heart” and I`ll See You Again
Artists include: Orquesta Sinfónica, Orquesta Florida, Enrique “El Culata”, Los 3 Macarenos, José Luis Campoy, Banda De La General Academia Militar, Orquesta Florida, Los 3 Macarenos, Paquito Simón Y Juan García
The celebrated composer Manuel de Falla found —scattered and formless, without rhyme or reason—an Andalusian folk art, ancient and graceful like the sea, with its qualities not yet organised, and he raised to the level of Art, to the level of culture and conscience, those values inherent in the racial intuition, giving them the stamp of perfection. By Manuel de Falla, this record contains the «Danza del terror» (The dance of the Terror) from t El amor brujo» and the «Dan za del molinero» (The Miller’s dance) from «El sombre-ro de los tres picos», which have been given prestige by the masterful interpretation of the London Phil-harmonic Orchestra.
Pinned by this golden brooch, the other compositions contained in Music of Spain have been chosen with a view to tracing a panorama as complete as possible of the dances and songs of Spain, principally of Andalusia. In this way, from the fandangos, a dance completely rooted in Spain, known in the 17th Century, if not earlier and extended throughout the whole of Spain, to the zambra, the ritual dance vitalised by the gipsies, passing by way of the solea, by bulerias, the tientos and the serranas, examples especially «jondos» which keep in their bosom a deep emotional content expressed in heart beats, all these dances and songs keep in this record the flavour and purity which have lasted from the remote time of their creation.
Together with these, Music of Spain enfolds some compositions belonging to the type know as fla-menco, a more or less accidental derivation of the «jondo» which sometimes leaves one to guess, beneath its gay and playful aspect, those brilliant and sudden scintillations which are like reminders of its noble origin : «El gitano seriorito», «Aires de Cadiz», «Bajo mi cielo andaluz», «Espana carli» and «Paresito faraon».
The rich diversity of this record is increased by three «pasodobleso «La novia de Espana», «El pica-dor» and «Madrid de mis amores». The pasodoble is a dance common to various Spanish regions, airy and mettlesome, and which within its own peculiar adornments, always full of vivacity and elegance, undergoes innumerable variations and innovations.
All the spices of the exotic lands east of Suez are wrapped in the warm rich tones of 101 Strings in this magnificently scored album. From the brilliant and scintillating percussive effects that depict the busy bazaars in Baghdad to the sensuous woodwinds that take us to the forbidden halls of the Temple Dancers— these are the moods and sounds that portray the fascinating ports and places of our sojourn in music. From the tent harems of Arab Dance to the nostalgic loveliness of Song of India, this brilliant high fidelity programme is your passport to adventure and romance East of Suez.
HOLLYWOOD, a land of fabulous success stories, can point to none more fabulous than that of Andre Previn. Young in years, a preponderance of experience has gained him recognition as one of America’s outstanding concert pianists, an established ding artist and one of the screen’s foremost musical composers and conductors at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where he has been employed since 1945. He is currently musical director for two of M-G-M’s most important pictures — Bells Are Ringing and The Subterraneans, both produced by Arthur Freed.
Previn’s talent has been channelled into all facets of the musical world from arranger to composer-conductor and music director. In fourteen years, he has composed and scored thirty pictures. He has been nominated for an Academy Award five times, and won the Oscar for Gigi. In 1958, he also received the Screen Composers’ Association Award for his original ballet in Invitation To The Dance. Truly a year of achievement, he received the Berlin Film Festival Award for the best original score in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Bad Day At Black Rock, and the Downbeat Poll in two categories: Best Motion Picture Composer and Best Motion Picture Arranger in 1958. In 1959, Samuel Goldwyn chose Previn to score Porgy And Bess.
Previn’s composing encompasses both jazz and classical music. He has written piano solo works, chamber music and in 1958 completed his first symphony. He has also originated a great deal of material in the popular field. He began his recording career in 1945 and has many records to his credit. These run the gamut from jazz versions of Broadway shows, such as My Fair Lady, Pal Joey, etc., to the classics. In 1959, with David Rose, he won a Grammy Award for their recording of LIKE YOUNG. Previn has presented concerts, as pianist and conductor, in New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and for seven years in succession with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in the Hollywood Bowl. He has appeared for recitals or presented chamber music in most of the major cities in the United States and Europe, and is famous for his jazz concerts throughout the United States.
Previn was born in Berlin, where his father was a piano teacher. The elder Previn discovered that his young son, at the age of four, had rare musical abilities. When he was six, Andre began to study music with his father extensively. In the 1930’s, just in time to miss the horror that followed, the family left Berlin. Andre’s older brother, Steve, had preceded the family to the United States, and taken a job in the motion picture studios of Hollywood. As a result, the rest of the Previns followed him there. The father resumed his teaching of the piano, and Andre was enrolled in Beverly Hills High School.
In May, 1950, he was inducted into the Armed Services. Two years later, upon being honourably discharged, he returned immediately to his film work, his recordings and his concert tours.
King-size in talent and heart is a brief but apt description of conductor-composer-arranger David Rose — one of the top-ranking music personalities in the world today. His name is synonymous with the finest in both classical and popular music presentation in the recording, film, radio, television and concert fields. His versatility and high standards in musical achievements have made him world-renowned.
In any given month, David Rose will compose and direct an outstanding score for an important screen musical, fly to some major city throughout the world to guest-conduct a famed symphony orchestra or compose and record a new and delightful musical number to bring pleasure to the public.
He started with M-G-M Records when it was organised in 1946. During this time, he has consistently been on the top list of record sellers for the company. His records are a must for the record collections of all music lovers. His popular compositions include Holiday For Strings, Our Waltz, Dance Of The Spanish Onion and One Love — now rated as standards.
On U.S. television, he has achieved recognition for his outstanding music direction of the Red Skelton Show, Fred Astaire Show, Bob Hope Show, Jack Benny Show, Dean Martin Show, Ziv-TV Productions and ” Bonanza “. Rose won an Emmy Award for his outstanding music direction of the Astaire Show. He also won the Grammy Award in 1959 for his recording of LIKE YOUNG which he did with Andre Previn. Also in 1959, he scored the UI motion picture, Operation Petticoat; and in 1960, M-G-M’s Please Don’t Eat The Daisies.
As a guest conductor, Rose has led symphony orchestras in major cities throughout the world. He has appeared with the Chicago, Milwaukee, Portland, San Francisco and Hollywood Bowl orchestras among many in America. He has also conducted orchestras in Copenhagen, London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and other metropolitan centres. He has been honoured by the BBC by a special David Rose Tribute Show featuring many of his compositions.
Unlikely though it seems, Rose would have really preferred to have become a railway engineer. He has turned his early desire into a rather large hobby, having one of the most complete and detailed collections of miniature live steam engines. His miniature track encircles his one-acre Sherman Oaks estate. He has built or bought three engines, and has a complete shop for repairs and construction of parts.
Though born in London, he was brought to Chicago by his parents while still a small child. Rose’s musical talent at the piano brought him acclaim when in high school. His remarkable keyboard dexterity opened doors at NBC, Chicago. He became network pianist and arranger there. Then, he joined the Ted Fio Rito Orchestra. In 1938 he came to Hollywood and was associated with the Mutual Broadcasting System. He started to compose, conduct and write scores for motion pictures. During World War II, he served four years with the U.S. Air Force, and when honourably discharged he returned to Hollywood to resume his professional career.
Part of a 10 LP box set from 1961 courtesy of the Reader’s Digest/RCA. This one features The Hill Bowen Concert Orchestra. Other LPs in this collection included “Music For Relaxation”, “Latin Rhythms For Dancing”, and “Songs That Will Live Forever (Sing Along)”