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MMD > Archives > March 2001 > 2001.03.06 > 05Prev  Next


Radio and the Player Piano
By Terry Smythe

Within the recent discussion about the contribution radio may have
made to the demise of the player piano, the following news item may be
of interest.  It suggests that the player piano industry was trying to
use the radio itself to promote their product, instead of standing by
watching the industry decay because of the radio.

Regards,

Terry Smythe

 - - -

Musical America (New York, NY, USA) 7 January 1928

  Broadcasting Across the Country

[snip]

Josef Lhevinne and Many Others -- (Ampico Hour, WJZ and Blue Network,
Jan. 1).  No sooner did one manufacturer of reproducing pianos complete
his broadcasting labors than a rival concern took up the burden.  Of
course the Ampico Hour, like all other commercial features, is intended
mainly to stimulate interest in as many as possible for its particular
product.  But it might follow the example of the recent Duo-Art
recitals and set aside certain evenings for certain types of music.  In
this manner those who care for the vacuous tinklings of the piano-teams
now the fad in musical comedies will not be forced to wait through a
real pianist's program, and vice versa.  For never the twain shall
meet.

Mr. Lhevinne, or those responsible for his share in the proceedings,
might have been more generous.  The two numbers played by this
outstanding artist (excluding the two recordings) merely whetted the
interest of lovers of piano music who were forced to sit through the
early banality of the program until the pianist was presented.  Liszt's
"Liebestraum" and arrangement of Paganini's "La Campanella" were Mr.
Lhevinne's "personal" offerings.  The artist's well known powers and
musicianship were not lacking in these works.  "La Campanella," though
hardly of much musical interest, nevertheless served as a "show piece"
for the pianist's remarkable technical accomplishments.

Vincent Lopez conducted his orchestra in excerpts from Faust set to
dance rhythms.  Although there ought to be a law, the rendition had
its intriguing moments.  In addition an orchestra played three times,
a tenor sang popular songs' and recordings were heard from current
Broadway attractions.  One received his money's worth in quantity
at least.

[snip]

Ignaz Friedman, Philadelphia String Simfonietta.  (Duo-Art Recital WEAF
and Rex Network, Dec. 28).  This broadcast marked the last of the
current series of exceptional programs offered by the Duo-Art Company,
comprising thirteen presentations in all.  Many great artists have been
heard during the course of this feature, the last being the eminent
pianist and composer Ignaz Friedman.  In this program he performed with
his accustomed musicianship, perfected technique and polished tone.
Chopin's Nocturne, Op. No. 62, No. 1, was enhanced by a poetic and
moody interpretation, with an excellent singing tone permeating the
work throughout ... but suffered somewhat by a too deliberate tempo in
certain passages.  Lending his deft fingers to the same composer's
Polonaise, Op. 71, No. 2, the artist negotiated difficult passages with
a clean cut fluency.  He further endowed this work with considerable
musical quality.

The Simfonietta, an organization composed of eighteen strings of the
Philadelphia Orchestra, under the baton of Fabian Sevitzky, proved to
be a well balanced and rich toned ensemble.  The Allegro from Mozart's
"Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" was given with finesse and much charm.  Later
in the program the orchestra accompanied a recording of Harold Bauer's
of the Scherzo from Saint-Saen's humorous Concerto in G Minor.  Alois
Havrila competently "announced" and "program noted" this broadcast,
which for the occasion doubled its usual half-hour's possession of the
Red Network's carrier wave.  A return of this feature is looked for
next season.


(Message sent Tue 6 Mar 2001, 14:16:28 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Piano, Player, Radio

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