Saturday, May 28, 2005

Early Lounge--Examples #2

For today, some more easy sounds from the pre-hi-fi era. The first file comes from Meredith (The Music Man) Willson's four-78 Decca set of 1942, Chiffon Swing. The album doesn't boast the quietest pressings, but the following is the least noisy of the bunch and the most musically interesting: a charming (and then-novel) treatment of Chopin's Minute Waltz. No arranger is credited, but can we assume it was Willson himself? The major-7th ending chord is a very nice touch.

From the same 78 RPM set, a Willson-penned instrumental called Thoughts While Strolling (from O.O. McIntyre Suite, notes the label). A graceful and sophisticated pop-Impressionistic miniature very much like the "symphonic jazz" works commissioned by Paul Whiteman in the 1920s and 1930s. Willson had the good taste to keep that tradition going.

And, from 1940, two Stephen Foster selections by Andre Kostelanetz and his orchestra. These originally appeared in the three-78 album set, The Music of Stephen Foster (Masterworks M-442). The "Kostelanetz strings" are in full aural display on this file, which is excerpted from Beautiful Dreamer:

And there's nothing milquetoast about Kostelanetz' treatment of Old Folks at Home and Camptown Races, which are skillfully combined in a terrific arrangement:

The Music of Stephen Foster stayed in print for a number of years in different formats--from the original 78 set to a 10" LP to the 12" Beautiful Dreamer, the latter also featuring Ferde Grofe's Mississippi Suite and Jerome Kern's Mark Twain (Portrait for Orchestra), which had been commissioned by Kostelanetz in 1942.

More vintage lounge sounds to come! Thanks for listening.



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