Sunday, 1 January 2012

Tap dancing in the dark 2012 and the stick of dynamite

I stole this from Mick Hartley. Tap dancing in the dark as a form of haunting, as in Gold Diggers of 1935, which I have featured before and have never tired of watching.

I don't know anything about Billy Burt except that he may be the specialty dancer in this film. (See bottom of cast list, IMDb)

Copy from Weird Videos website:
The composer of this piece Lothar Perl was perhaps the best German composer of novelty piano music of all time. Unfortunately, he had to flee the Nazis during World War II and moved to America, where he found steady work as a studio musician and film composer, but unfortunately apparently never composed any more of the delightful, pensive, and masterful piano miniatures that (I think) had helped make his career in Germany, and certainly are his main legacy today.

The pianist Alex Hassan has recorded all 14 or so of his novelty piano solos on CD .

In addition, Alex had previously recorded a few of the best of them, "Hollywood Stars", and the suite "Three Syncopated Romances", on his previous CD "Phantom Fingers."

Of all these recordings, in my opinion, the best performer of Perl's music is Lothar Perl himself, and fortunately, two of the three solo piano 78's he made are known to exist and are heard on the following compilation CD (so, that's two 78's = four tunes).

Most importantly, eight of Perl's solos are available in one folio of sheet music: "Lothar Perl: Syncopated Impressions", edited by Rosilee Walker and available from Schott Music Corporation.

After he moved to America, Lothar Perl settled in Hollywood where he wrote music for movies (which is why he is listed on the IMDB):

...and a few concert pieces. In the 1950's he also became the musical director (or at least one of them) for the Ernie Kovacs TV show, even appearing in-person in at least one episode, having to play Chopin's "Minute Waltz" in under a minute, because of a stick of dynamite under the piano bench!

His widow, Gitta Wallerstein, passed away in the last few years. I believe she was 97. Alex Hassan was a friend of hers and I guess she had some interesting stories about her late husband (who had passed away in 1970). You can ask Alex for more info on Mr. Perl; he might be tickled to see this film short is now on Youtube!

I should mention that there is a nice article on Lothar Perl by Leroi Cortot in his excellent Novelty and Syncopated Piano blog; in fact, he mentions and links to the "Jazz Etude" video you posted, and that's how I found out about it! Mr. Cortot also explains in detailed adjectives why he personally considers Mr. Perl's compositions to be so excellent, making this a must-read.


[caution: blog is entirely in French!]

anyway, I hope this information helps you, and feel free to edit and/or use it on your page as you see fit.

- Andrew Barrett

The generosity of the web.

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