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MMD > Archives > April 2009 > 2009.04.21 > 02Prev  Next

"The Cat and the Mouse" by Aaron Copeland
By Craig Williams

I just ran onto a YouTube video of the Ampico roll of Aaron Copeland
playing his composition, "The Cat and Mouse" ("Le Chat et Souris"): 

This brings up an old question of mine.  I thought I heard an organ
roll of this played at the Jacklin house in Woodside, California,
about 30 years ago.  The organ had both an Aeolian Duo-Art player and
a Roesler-Hunholtz player.  I have a list of those R-H rolls and (what
I think) is a pretty complete list of all Aeolian Duo-Art organ rolls.
No "Cat and Mouse".  Perhaps I am mistaken and heard it on an Ampico
roll somewhere.

Does anyone know the Ampico roll number for this, and whether there was
an organ roll of it?

Craig Williams
Scotts Valley, Calif.

 [ In the Ampico rollography by Elaine Obenchain:
 [   68153H Le Chat et la Souris (The Cat and the Mouse)
 [   Scherzo Humoristique  Copland  Copland  10/27
 [ Several YouTube viewers were amazed at how fast the composer plays
 [ the piece in his Ampico performance -- the elapsed time is 3:18.
 [ Compare with this live performance by American pianist Tammy Wu:
 [ Found at 
 [   Aaron Copland: the life and work of an uncommon man
 [   By Howard Pollack, University of Illinois Press, 2000; page 43
 [   In March 1920 he completed "Humoristic Scherzo" (better known by
 [ its subtitle, "The Cat and the Mouse"), a solo piano piece based on
 [ yet another poem, this one, however, old and humorous: Jean de la
 [ Fontaine's "Le Vieux Chat et la Jeune Souris", ("The Old Cat and
 [ the Young Mouse").  Upon hearing him play this work in a recital
 [ in Fontainebleau on 21 September 1921, the publisher Jacques Durand
 [ bought it outright for five hundred francs.  Published as "Scherzo
 [ Humoristique" (subtitled "Le Chat et la Souris"), this debut
 [ publication became Copland's first recognized work, one still widely
 [ known and played.
 [   The La Fontaine fable tells of a young mouse captured by an old cat;
 [ the mouse appeals to the cat with various arguments, but the cat,
 [ unmoved, eats him just the same.  The fable concludes, "Youth deludes
 [ itself into believing it can obtain everything; Old age is merciless.")
 [   The opposition of youth and old age, of hope and disillusionment,
 [ apparently spoke forcibly to the young Copland.
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Tue 21 Apr 2009, 20:04:54 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Aaron, Cat, Copeland, Mouse

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