Monthly Archives: March 2008

Continuing your musical education

Today’s excursion starts with Dave Apollon (1897-1972), arguably one of the most adventurous mandolinists of the 20th century and an inspiration to this day. Here he is with with Victor Borge, playing a Chestnut (Hora Staccato, written by Grigoras Dinicu in 1906):

(might be worthwhile to watch Jascha Heifetz playing it too).

Dave Apollon mostly made his living playing vaudeville in the 1920s, and then as a night club performer. One of his signature pieces was Russian Rag, George Cobb’s 1918 take on Rachmaninoff’s C# minor Prelude. Alas, there’s no YouTube of Dave Apollon playing it, but these three versions are in the same spirit, and each has its own charm:

Russian Rag by Velvet Sun (Japanese ensembles are often enlightening, and sometimes have great hats):

Modern Mandolin Quartet:

The Old 78s:

Sunday cabaret

It’s too much to hope that YouTube would have footage of Elsa Lanchester (1902-1986) singing any of her Songs for a Shuttered Parlour or Songs for a Smoke-Filled Room (both longtime favorites of mine in vinyl), but this one is aaaaalmost as good, since it has Elsa’s voice, lipsunked by Princess PoodlePoo (who may, for all I know, already be a Household Word…):

…and that put me in mind of another favorite of mine, Agnes Bernelle (1923-1999), whose Father’s Lying Dead on the Ironing Board is staple fare out our way (some lyrics transcribed here, and a CD version seems to be available via Amazon). Here’s a tribute, with a not-untypical song:

If that appeals, this may also:

All Reet

Upstaging Cab Calloway… be sure to be watching at 4:00:

and mashedup (“cut cropped & crafted”)

and from Hellzapoppin’ (1941):

Hydrocoptic marsel vanes

Two versions, via McGee’s Musings: N.B. we’re dealing with “prefamulated amulite… hydrocoptic marsel vanes are properly fitted to the ambifacient lunar wane shaft… successfully used for operating nofer trunnions… whenever a barescent skor motion is required, it may be employed in conjunction with a drawn reciprocating dingle arm to reduce sinusoidal depleneration…”