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Re: IMPOSSIBLE piano playing

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  • Todd Robbins
    Willie was considered one of the greatest ragtime pianists of all time. His recording of Maple Leaf was not only the first solo piano recording of the piece,
    Message 1 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
      Willie was considered one of the greatest ragtime pianists of all time. His recording of
      Maple Leaf was not only the first solo piano recording of the piece, but also an amazing
      version. Willie was an inspiration to many other pianists including Vera Guillaroff and
      Oscar Peterson. I love all of his recordings with Putting On The Dog a special favorite.

      --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "rag1916" <rag1916@...> wrote:
      >
      > First, I would like to wish all of you in this group a very Happy New
      > Year in advance.
      >
      > Now, before I go head off to a party, I would like all the piano
      > pundits and wizards in this group (yes, you know who you are!) to
      > please comment, in as much detail as possible, on HOW the following
      > recording is physically possible for one person to play:
      >
      > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovuFFk2jx-4
      >
      > This is NOT a piano roll; this is an actual audio recording of one
      > person playing, or at least that's what it claims on the label.
      > Personally, I find the bit starting at 2:00 very hard to believe.
      >
      > Depending on pitch, he could be playing this in Db, D, or Eb major. I
      > think it's D but not sure.
      >
      > Everybody take a listen and tell me what you think.
      >
      > Personally, I'm
      > glad this guy isn't around to compete at Peoria; if he played 5
      > tunes, they would occupy the top 5 slots for the finalists and crowd
      > everybody else out!
      >
      > Happy New Year!
      > Andrew
      >
    • musicien1953
      To be really precise, Willie Eckstein in 1923 was the first to record a piano solo of Maple Leaf Rag that was issued, but he was not the first to record a
      Message 2 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
        To be really precise, Willie Eckstein in 1923 was the first to record
        a piano solo of Maple Leaf Rag that was issued, but he was not the
        first to record a piano solo of this rag.
        In fact Lionel Belasco recorded a piano solo of Maple Leaf Rag for
        Victor in 1914, but the recording was rejected.
        Apart from that, I am also in the group on the Eckstein fans.
        I love the recordings of Frank Banta, but I love Eckstein even better
        and I think he had a especially spontaneous feeling for ragtime.
        Paul

        --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Robbins"
        <coneyislandtodd@...> wrote:
        >
        > Willie was considered one of the greatest ragtime pianists of all
        time. His recording of
        > Maple Leaf was not only the first solo piano recording of the
        piece, but also an amazing
        > version. Willie was an inspiration to many other pianists
        including Vera Guillaroff and
        > Oscar Peterson. I love all of his recordings with Putting On The
        Dog a special favorite.
        >
        > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "rag1916" <rag1916@>
        wrote:
        > >
        > > First, I would like to wish all of you in this group a very Happy
        New
        > > Year in advance.
        > >
        > > Now, before I go head off to a party, I would like all the piano
        > > pundits and wizards in this group (yes, you know who you are!) to
        > > please comment, in as much detail as possible, on HOW the
        following
        > > recording is physically possible for one person to play:
        > >
        > > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovuFFk2jx-4
        > >
        > > This is NOT a piano roll; this is an actual audio recording of
        one
        > > person playing, or at least that's what it claims on the label.
        > > Personally, I find the bit starting at 2:00 very hard to believe.
        > >
        > > Depending on pitch, he could be playing this in Db, D, or Eb
        major. I
        > > think it's D but not sure.
        > >
        > > Everybody take a listen and tell me what you think.
        > >
        > > Personally, I'm
        > > glad this guy isn't around to compete at Peoria; if he played 5
        > > tunes, they would occupy the top 5 slots for the finalists and
        crowd
        > > everybody else out!
        > >
        > > Happy New Year!
        > > Andrew
        > >
        >
      • Todd Robbins
        Has anyone heard this earlier recording? I would love to know what it sounded like. Did Leo Belasco record anything else? As for Mr. Eckstein, I have posted
        Message 3 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
          Has anyone heard this earlier recording? I would love to know what
          it sounded like. Did Leo Belasco record anything else?

          As for Mr. Eckstein, I have posted a bunch of his recordings in the
          files section. Since that section is almost at capacity, I will only
          leave these files up for a week or so. And I will be taking down
          James P. playing Maple Leaf in order to free up some space.

          Todd

          --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "musicien1953"
          <musicien1953@...> wrote:
          >
          > To be really precise, Willie Eckstein in 1923 was the first to
          record
          > a piano solo of Maple Leaf Rag that was issued, but he was not the
          > first to record a piano solo of this rag.
          > In fact Lionel Belasco recorded a piano solo of Maple Leaf Rag for
          > Victor in 1914, but the recording was rejected.
          > Apart from that, I am also in the group on the Eckstein fans.
          > I love the recordings of Frank Banta, but I love Eckstein even
          better
          > and I think he had a especially spontaneous feeling for ragtime.
          > Paul
          >
          > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Robbins"
          > <coneyislandtodd@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Willie was considered one of the greatest ragtime pianists of all
          > time. His recording of
          > > Maple Leaf was not only the first solo piano recording of the
          > piece, but also an amazing
          > > version. Willie was an inspiration to many other pianists
          > including Vera Guillaroff and
          > > Oscar Peterson. I love all of his recordings with Putting On The
          > Dog a special favorite.
          > >
          > > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "rag1916" <rag1916@>
          > wrote:
          > > >
          > > > First, I would like to wish all of you in this group a very
          Happy
          > New
          > > > Year in advance.
          > > >
          > > > Now, before I go head off to a party, I would like all the
          piano
          > > > pundits and wizards in this group (yes, you know who you are!)
          to
          > > > please comment, in as much detail as possible, on HOW the
          > following
          > > > recording is physically possible for one person to play:
          > > >
          > > > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovuFFk2jx-4
          > > >
          > > > This is NOT a piano roll; this is an actual audio recording of
          > one
          > > > person playing, or at least that's what it claims on the label.
          > > > Personally, I find the bit starting at 2:00 very hard to
          believe.
          > > >
          > > > Depending on pitch, he could be playing this in Db, D, or Eb
          > major. I
          > > > think it's D but not sure.
          > > >
          > > > Everybody take a listen and tell me what you think.
          > > >
          > > > Personally, I'm
          > > > glad this guy isn't around to compete at Peoria; if he played 5
          > > > tunes, they would occupy the top 5 slots for the finalists and
          > crowd
          > > > everybody else out!
          > > >
          > > > Happy New Year!
          > > > Andrew
          > > >
          > >
          >
        • musicien1953
          Thank you for the recordings. Really I had all of them with the exception of I m in the market for you and I like this recording very much. Thank you. Belasco
          Message 4 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
            Thank you for the recordings. Really I had all of them with the
            exception of I'm in the market for you and I like this recording very
            much. Thank you.
            Belasco recorded much and fortunately many of his recordings were
            released, including many recordings he made in that period. Later he
            recorded also with his orchesta.

            --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Robbins"
            <coneyislandtodd@...> wrote:
            >
            > Has anyone heard this earlier recording? I would love to know what
            > it sounded like. Did Leo Belasco record anything else?
            >
            > As for Mr. Eckstein, I have posted a bunch of his recordings in the
            > files section. Since that section is almost at capacity, I will
            only
            > leave these files up for a week or so. And I will be taking down
            > James P. playing Maple Leaf in order to free up some space.
            >
            > Todd
            >
            > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "musicien1953"
            > <musicien1953@> wrote:
            > >
            > > To be really precise, Willie Eckstein in 1923 was the first to
            > record
            > > a piano solo of Maple Leaf Rag that was issued, but he was not
            the
            > > first to record a piano solo of this rag.
            > > In fact Lionel Belasco recorded a piano solo of Maple Leaf Rag
            for
            > > Victor in 1914, but the recording was rejected.
            > > Apart from that, I am also in the group on the Eckstein fans.
            > > I love the recordings of Frank Banta, but I love Eckstein even
            > better
            > > and I think he had a especially spontaneous feeling for ragtime.
            > > Paul
            > >
            > > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Robbins"
            > > <coneyislandtodd@> wrote:
            > > >
            > > > Willie was considered one of the greatest ragtime pianists of
            all
            > > time. His recording of
            > > > Maple Leaf was not only the first solo piano recording of the
            > > piece, but also an amazing
            > > > version. Willie was an inspiration to many other pianists
            > > including Vera Guillaroff and
            > > > Oscar Peterson. I love all of his recordings with Putting On
            The
            > > Dog a special favorite.
            > > >
            > > > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "rag1916" <rag1916@>
            > > wrote:
            > > > >
            > > > > First, I would like to wish all of you in this group a very
            > Happy
            > > New
            > > > > Year in advance.
            > > > >
            > > > > Now, before I go head off to a party, I would like all the
            > piano
            > > > > pundits and wizards in this group (yes, you know who you
            are!)
            > to
            > > > > please comment, in as much detail as possible, on HOW the
            > > following
            > > > > recording is physically possible for one person to play:
            > > > >
            > > > > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovuFFk2jx-4
            > > > >
            > > > > This is NOT a piano roll; this is an actual audio recording
            of
            > > one
            > > > > person playing, or at least that's what it claims on the
            label.
            > > > > Personally, I find the bit starting at 2:00 very hard to
            > believe.
            > > > >
            > > > > Depending on pitch, he could be playing this in Db, D, or Eb
            > > major. I
            > > > > think it's D but not sure.
            > > > >
            > > > > Everybody take a listen and tell me what you think.
            > > > >
            > > > > Personally, I'm
            > > > > glad this guy isn't around to compete at Peoria; if he played
            5
            > > > > tunes, they would occupy the top 5 slots for the finalists
            and
            > > crowd
            > > > > everybody else out!
            > > > >
            > > > > Happy New Year!
            > > > > Andrew
            > > > >
            > > >
            > >
            >
          • Todd Robbins
            And you will want to take in this youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t59IxBWYemk ... only ... the ... for ... all ... The ... are!) ... of ...
            Message 5 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
              And you will want to take in this youtube video:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t59IxBWYemk

              --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Robbins"
              <coneyislandtodd@...> wrote:
              >
              > Has anyone heard this earlier recording? I would love to know what
              > it sounded like. Did Leo Belasco record anything else?
              >
              > As for Mr. Eckstein, I have posted a bunch of his recordings in the
              > files section. Since that section is almost at capacity, I will
              only
              > leave these files up for a week or so. And I will be taking down
              > James P. playing Maple Leaf in order to free up some space.
              >
              > Todd
              >
              > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "musicien1953"
              > <musicien1953@> wrote:
              > >
              > > To be really precise, Willie Eckstein in 1923 was the first to
              > record
              > > a piano solo of Maple Leaf Rag that was issued, but he was not
              the
              > > first to record a piano solo of this rag.
              > > In fact Lionel Belasco recorded a piano solo of Maple Leaf Rag
              for
              > > Victor in 1914, but the recording was rejected.
              > > Apart from that, I am also in the group on the Eckstein fans.
              > > I love the recordings of Frank Banta, but I love Eckstein even
              > better
              > > and I think he had a especially spontaneous feeling for ragtime.
              > > Paul
              > >
              > > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Robbins"
              > > <coneyislandtodd@> wrote:
              > > >
              > > > Willie was considered one of the greatest ragtime pianists of
              all
              > > time. His recording of
              > > > Maple Leaf was not only the first solo piano recording of the
              > > piece, but also an amazing
              > > > version. Willie was an inspiration to many other pianists
              > > including Vera Guillaroff and
              > > > Oscar Peterson. I love all of his recordings with Putting On
              The
              > > Dog a special favorite.
              > > >
              > > > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "rag1916" <rag1916@>
              > > wrote:
              > > > >
              > > > > First, I would like to wish all of you in this group a very
              > Happy
              > > New
              > > > > Year in advance.
              > > > >
              > > > > Now, before I go head off to a party, I would like all the
              > piano
              > > > > pundits and wizards in this group (yes, you know who you
              are!)
              > to
              > > > > please comment, in as much detail as possible, on HOW the
              > > following
              > > > > recording is physically possible for one person to play:
              > > > >
              > > > > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovuFFk2jx-4
              > > > >
              > > > > This is NOT a piano roll; this is an actual audio recording
              of
              > > one
              > > > > person playing, or at least that's what it claims on the
              label.
              > > > > Personally, I find the bit starting at 2:00 very hard to
              > believe.
              > > > >
              > > > > Depending on pitch, he could be playing this in Db, D, or Eb
              > > major. I
              > > > > think it's D but not sure.
              > > > >
              > > > > Everybody take a listen and tell me what you think.
              > > > >
              > > > > Personally, I'm
              > > > > glad this guy isn't around to compete at Peoria; if he played
              5
              > > > > tunes, they would occupy the top 5 slots for the finalists
              and
              > > crowd
              > > > > everybody else out!
              > > > >
              > > > > Happy New Year!
              > > > > Andrew
              > > > >
              > > >
              > >
              >
            • RsH
              While I cannot remember the method, there is a way to open a second files section by creating an associated group so that those interested sign onto the other
              Message 6 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
                While I cannot remember the method, there is a way to open a second
                files section by creating an associated group so that those
                interested sign onto the other group by joining and can then
                download from there. Consider that if EliteSyncopations is indeed
                that close to full. The moderators or owner should be the ones to
                set this up as they should control the membership of both
                yahoogroups.

                FWIW

                RsH
                -----------------------------------------------------------
                On Thu, 01 Jan 2009 23:21:42 -0000, you wrote:
                >--- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Robbins"
                ><coneyislandtodd@...> wrote:
                >>
                >> Has anyone heard this earlier recording? I would love to know what
                >> it sounded like. Did Leo Belasco record anything else?
                >>
                >> As for Mr. Eckstein, I have posted a bunch of his recordings in the
                >> files section. Since that section is almost at capacity, I will
                >only
                >> leave these files up for a week or so. And I will be taking down
                >> James P. playing Maple Leaf in order to free up some space.
                >>
                >> Todd
                >
              • rag1916
                Lionel Belasco recorded quite a lot, actually; mostly either in Port- of-Spain in his home country of Trinidad, or in New York. Here s a bit more about him:
                Message 7 of 16 , Jan 2, 2009
                  Lionel Belasco recorded quite a lot, actually; mostly either in Port-
                  of-Spain in his home country of Trinidad, or in New York.

                  Here's a bit more about him:

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Belasco

                  http://www.calypsoworld.org/noflash/artists-05.htm

                  http://keepswinging.blogspot.com/2008/05/lionel-belasco.html

                  apparently a CD of some of his stuff has been issued by Rounder
                  Records:

                  <http://www.rounder.com/index.php?
                  id=album.php&musicalGroupId=745&catalog_id=5466>

                  or

                  http://www.rounder.com/

                  and do a search

                  (Rounder web site appears to be down)

                  The book "Tantalizing Tingles" lists no less than EIGHTEEN different
                  titles Mr. Belasco recorded between 1914 and 1918, with an additional
                  two solos recorded in 1933, after a long spell of nearly 15 years
                  without apparently recording any solos. [the cut-off date for the
                  book is 1934, so he may have recorded more piano solos after this
                  year]

                  --- Here's basically what he recorded ---

                  [matrix number - title - issued disc label and number (if any)]

                  Recorded in Port-Of-Spain, Sept 16, 1914:

                  G179-1 Anita (Victor 67399)
                  G180-1 Norah (Victor 67399)
                  G181-1 The Junk Man Rag - rejected
                  G182-1 Maple Leaf Rag - rejected (apparently never re-recorded and
                  NEVER ISSUED!)

                  Recorded in New York, August 27, 1915:

                  B16404-1 Terecita
                  B16405-1 Buddy Abraham
                  B16406-1 Bajan Girl
                  B16407-1 Little Brown Boy
                  B16408-1 My Little Man's Gone Down de Main
                  B16409-1 Not a Cent, Not a Cent!
                  B16410-1 Licores de Borges
                  B16411-1 Poncha Crema
                  B16412-1 Belasco Trot
                  B16413-1 Grande Fonde
                  B16414-1 Junk Man Rag (2nd attempt)
                  B16415-1 Chick a Biddy Rag

                  [all the takes from the above session were REJECTED!]

                  Recorded in New York, August 28, 1915:

                  B16404-2 Terecita (2nd attempt; issued as Victor 67675)
                  B16405-2 Buddy Abraham (2nd attempt)
                  B16406-2 Bajan Girl (2nd attempt)
                  B16407-2 Little Brown Boy (2nd attempt)
                  B16408-2 My Little Man's Gone Down de Main (2nd attempt)
                  B16409-2 Not a Cent, Not a Cent! (2nd attempt)
                  B16410-2 Licores de Borges (2nd attempt)
                  B16411-2 Poncha Crema (2nd attempt)
                  B16412-2 Belasco Trot (2nd attempt)
                  B16413-2 Grande Fonde (2nd attempt)
                  B16414-2 Junk Man Rag (3rd attempt)
                  B16415-2 Chick a Biddy Rag (2nd attempt; issued as Victor 67673)

                  note: except for "Terecita" and "Chick a Biddy Rag", all the above
                  takes from this session were rejected.

                  Recorded in New York, September 7, 1915:

                  B16405-3 Buddy Abraham (3rd attempt; Victor 67672)
                  B16406-3 Bajan Girl (3rd attempt; Victor 67674)
                  B16407-3 Little Brown Boy (3rd attempt; Victor 67685)
                  B16408-3 My Little Man's Gone Down de Main (3rd attempt; Victor
                  67674)
                  B16409-3 Not a Cent, Not a Cent! (3rd attempt; Victor 67673)
                  B16410-3 Licores de Borges (3rd attempt; Victor 67675)
                  B16411-3 Poncha Crema (3rd attempt; Victor 67676)
                  B16412-3 Belasco Trot (3rd attempt; Victor 67676)
                  B16414-3 Junk Man Rag (4th attempt; Victor 67685)
                  B16459-1 La Belleza (Victor 67676)
                  B16460-1 Shakes (Victor 67692)

                  Note that not only were ALL the takes from this session issued (a
                  very functional session, I think!) but also that Victor record 67676
                  appears to have THREE tunes on it! (perhaps two versions of the same
                  record, or maybe a discographical error? I see no flip side to 67674
                  listed)

                  Recorded in New York, September 27, 1918:

                  [no matrix number] Grand Fonde (Victor test)

                  Recorded in New York, October 4, 1918:

                  B22322-3 The Caterpillar Walk (3 attempts)
                  B22323-3 Grande Fonde (3rd attempt)

                  note: both these takes were rejected.

                  Recorded in New York, October 11, 1918:

                  B22322-5 The Caterpillar Walk (4th and 5th attempts)
                  B22323-5 Grande Fonde (4th and 5th attempts)

                  note: both these takes were rejected.

                  Recorded in New York, November 8, 1918:

                  B22322-7 The Caterpillar Walk (6th and 7th attempts; Victor 72273)
                  B22323-6 Grande Fonde (6th attempt; Victor 72273)

                  both tunes from this session were issued, finally!

                  and, after a long dry spell of known solo piano recordings:

                  Recorded in New York, July 21, 1933:

                  13614-1 Manzanilla [Brunswick 41582, Melotone M12801, Banner B714,
                  Perfect P714, Romeo R714, Oriole O714]

                  13615-1 Port of Spain Carnival [Brunswick 41582, Melotone M12801,
                  Banner B714, Perfect P714, Romeo R714, Oriole O714]

                  As you can see, many titles were rejected by Victor right away, so
                  Mr. Belasco (apparently never one to give up easily) determinedly
                  booked himself into the studios again, and again, until he got a
                  title issued, and then he would work on anther one, etc. etc. The
                  only one he seems to have given up on prematurely is,
                  bizarrely, "Maple Leaf Rag", while, by contrast, he tried recording
                  his own "Grande Fonde" again and again and AGAIN until he finally got
                  a take issued, of the November 8, 1918 session.

                  Of interest to group members here are four titles: Maple Leaf Rag,
                  Junk Man Rag, "Belasco Trot", and "Chick a biddy Rag", the last two
                  apparently Belasco compositions.

                  As mentioned above, "Maple Leaf Rag" was apparently the only tune
                  Belasco recorded between 1914 and 1933 that was never issued at all,
                  since subsequent takes of "Junk Man Rag", "Belasco Trot" and "Chick a
                  biddy Rag" WERE issued on 78 (as Victor 67685, Victor 67676, and
                  Victor 67673 respectively). Does anyone have any of these records so
                  we can hear them?

                  Of extreme interest to ME is his recording of a tune called "The
                  Caterpillar Walk" (first recorded in October, 1918 and subsequently
                  issued as Victor 72273):

                  Our family friend at Library of Congress, Mr. David Sager, found a
                  copyright card for a tune by this name by Nathan [Nat] Johnson, the
                  ragtime composer [of whom I have done a decent amount of research so
                  far].

                  [by the way, Perf. Bill - due to our computer problems of the last
                  month or so... I do not have all my information 100% in condensed
                  form although I have a slightly rough abbreviated version for my
                  presentation I did at West Coast - luckily the entire Nat Johnson
                  folder, except for a couple last-minute changes, was saved to CD-ROM,
                  so when I have a little time here, I'll see if I can get that
                  transferred back onto this computer and slap together a workable bio
                  and photo for you]

                  Apparently the latter "Caterpillar Walk" was copyrighted in December,
                  1917 while Nat was in New Mexico (this also helps nail down closer to
                  exactly when he "moved in" there). Unfortunately, I have no idea
                  whether this tune (an instrumental fox-trot?) was ever published or
                  even whether a manuscript exists at LOC because I haven't heard back
                  about this yet.

                  Anyway, in the title index in the back of the book [Tantalizing
                  Tingles], discographer Ross Laird credits the composing
                  of "Caterpillar Walk" to Belasco, which it might very well be (it is
                  quite likely this is a totally different tune than Nat's
                  composition). But still, Laird's info is not very accurate (for
                  example he credits "Calico Rag" as a "Charles L. Johnson"
                  composition!), so there is room for error here.

                  I still do not know what Lionel Belasco's playing sounds like.

                  thoughts, comments?
                  -Andrew

                  P.S. one of the websites I link to calls him the "Scott Joplin of
                  Calypso" or something like that, so I guess he warrants at least a
                  mention here.

                  --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Robbins"
                  <coneyislandtodd@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Has anyone heard this earlier recording? I would love to know what
                  > it sounded like. Did Leo Belasco record anything else?
                  >
                  > As for Mr. Eckstein, I have posted a bunch of his recordings in the
                  > files section. Since that section is almost at capacity, I will
                  only
                  > leave these files up for a week or so. And I will be taking down
                  > James P. playing Maple Leaf in order to free up some space.
                  >
                  > Todd
                  >
                  > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "musicien1953"
                  > <musicien1953@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > To be really precise, Willie Eckstein in 1923 was the first to
                  > record
                  > > a piano solo of Maple Leaf Rag that was issued, but he was not
                  the
                  > > first to record a piano solo of this rag.
                  > > In fact Lionel Belasco recorded a piano solo of Maple Leaf Rag
                  for
                  > > Victor in 1914, but the recording was rejected.
                  > > Apart from that, I am also in the group on the Eckstein fans.
                  > > I love the recordings of Frank Banta, but I love Eckstein even
                  > better
                  > > and I think he had a especially spontaneous feeling for ragtime.
                  > > Paul
                  > >
                • Todd Robbins
                  It turns out that I have a recording of Belasco. It is from the That Devlin s Tune CD set. I will post this in the files section. As for the original
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jan 2, 2009
                    It turns out that I have a recording of Belasco. It is from the That
                    Devlin's Tune CD set. I will post this in the files section.

                    As for the original question about how Willie Eckstein did that three
                    hand trick, the melody is played by the left hand either as a single
                    note, top note of an octave or tenth. It was a trick that Mike Bernard
                    used a lot. It can also be heard in Mal Franklin's recording of It's a
                    Peach. And Donald Lambert was fond of doing it too. Listen to his
                    recording of Tea for Two. The most amazing use of this trick, and I am
                    not sure if it is really the same trick, is in Vladimir Horowitz's
                    version of Stars and Stripes Forever.

                    Todd
                  • jeo@aol.com
                    It s the same trick, unless?Horowiz had three hands (I saw him a few times, and if he did, he was exceptionally successful at hiding the third one).? One (now
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jan 2, 2009
                      It's the same trick, unless Horowiz had three hands (I saw him a few times, and if he did, he was exceptionally successful at hiding the third one).  One (now nearly forgotten) pianist (contemporary of Liszt and Chopin), Sigismond Thalberg, made his reputation with his imitation-of-three hands arrangements.  An outstanding example in more modern classical music is the fugue from Brahms' Handel Variations.

                      Jim


                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Todd Robbins <coneyislandtodd@...>
                      To: EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 7:43 am
                      Subject: [EliteSyncopations] Re: Lionel Belasco

                      It turns out that I have a recording of Belasco. It is from the That
                      Devlin's Tune CD set. I will post this in the files section.

                      As for the original question about how Willie Eckstein did that three
                      hand trick, the melody is played by the left hand either as a single
                      note, top note of an octave or tenth. It was a trick that Mike Bernard
                      used a lot. It can also be heard in Mal Franklin's recording of It's a
                      Peach. And Donald Lambert was fond of doing it too. Listen to his
                      recording of Tea for Two. The most amazing use of this trick, and I am
                      not sure if it is really the same trick, is in Vladimir Horowitz's
                      version of Stars and Stripes Forever.

                      Todd

                    • Robert Perry
                      To add to Lionel s discography, a rollography: QRS #2543 (March 1924) Tay Lay Lay (Old Lady, Lay) - West Indies Series Played by Lionel Belasco QRS #2544
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jan 2, 2009
                        To add to Lionel's discography, a rollography:

                        QRS #2543 (March 1924)
                        Tay Lay Lay (Old Lady, Lay) - West Indies Series
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #2544 (March 1924)
                        Sly-Mon-Goose - West Indies Series
                        (Belasco)
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #2656 (June 1924)
                        Bajan Girl - West Indies Series
                        (Belasco)
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #2657 (June 1924)
                        Buddy Abraham - West Indies Series
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #2658 (June 1924)
                        Go 'Way Gal - West Indies Series
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #3151 (June 1925)
                        Katie - West Indies Series
                        (Belasco)
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #3152 (June 1925)
                        The Inter-Colonial Cricket Match - West Indies Series
                        (Belasco)
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #4141 (January 1928)
                        You Run - Why You Run - West Indies Series
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #4142 (January 1928)
                        Woman Sweeter Than Man - West Indies Series
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #4147 (January 1928)
                        Day By Day - West Indies Series
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #4430 (October 1928)
                        Gombo Lai Lai - Trinidad Series
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #4431 (October 1928)
                        Anella - Trinidad Series
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #4432 (October 1928)
                        Teddy - Trinidad Series
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #4433 (October 1928)
                        Big Man, Sweet Man - Trinidad Series
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #4593 (April 1929)
                        Justina - West Indies Series
                        Played by Lionel Belasco

                        QRS #4594 (April 1929)
                        Oh, Rufus, Hold Me Tight - West Indies Series
                        Played by Lionel Belasco


                        In all cases, when Belasco is not given as the composer on the label,
                        the composer is uncredited. As you can see, he returned at different
                        times for recording sessions over a period of five years, so the rolls
                        obviously sold relatively well. I have one of them somewhere (released
                        on the Australian Mastertouch label under licence from QRS) and recall
                        it didn't excite me greatly, but was a nice ballad-style traditional
                        song. Another two artists, Jack Celestin and Walter Merrick, recorded
                        some other titles in QRS's 'West Indies Series'.


                        In the 1960s QRS arranger J. Lawrence Cook was interviewed by Mike
                        Montgomery, and asked about various recording artists.

                        "...Lionel Belasco. He's a West Indies fellow who did a lot of West
                        Indian stuff and I think he went back to West Indies. He's
                        a real person. And he recorded this stuff. It was all simple stuff.
                        But because it was authentic..."


                        Regards,
                        Robert
                      • Bill Edwards
                        ... Establishing him as a real person was not easy through Census records, as he seems to have been skipped in 1910 and 1930. He was in the 1920 Census in
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jan 2, 2009
                          --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Perry" <rbperry@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > "...Lionel Belasco. He's a West Indies fellow who did a lot of West
                          > Indian stuff and I think he went back to West Indies. He's
                          > a real person.

                          Establishing him as a real person was not easy through Census records,
                          as he seems to have been skipped in 1910 and 1930. He was in the 1920
                          Census in Manhattan, listed as an orchestra musician, birthplace
                          British West Indies. Also listed were wife Gladys, daughter Myrtle and
                          son Burt. At that time he was an alien, having come here reportedly in
                          1916. Living next door would be his assumed brother, 3 years younger,
                          John Belasco (not a musician) and his sister Mary (Bain) Belasco.

                          Shipping passenger lists are very clear on Belasco's frequent comings
                          and goings between Port of Spain and the US. His race shows as Black,
                          West African and West Indian variously.

                          Pinpointing a date of birth is also a challenge based on these
                          records, but it seems to average out to 1881, and his SSN record said
                          September 21, 1881, so most of his piano work was recorded in his mid
                          30s through his early 50s.

                          He died in New York City in 1967, but I had trouble in my first pass
                          trying to find a naturalization record for him. However, he did have a
                          Social Security Number, and I have not looked up the rules for SSN and
                          aliens. I believe he may still have been a citizen of his birth
                          country, but honestly could not find information either way.

                          Hope that gives a little more in-depth info.

                          Bill Edwards
                        • Shane White
                          The three-handed trick of playing melodies with alternating thumbs surrounded by swirls of arpeggios was invented by the harpist Parish-Alvars and, as
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jan 2, 2009
                            The "three-handed" trick of playing melodies with alternating thumbs
                            surrounded by swirls of arpeggios was "invented" by the harpist
                            Parish-Alvars and, as mentioned by Jim, became a trademark of
                            Thalberg's opera paraphrases. For an example by Liszt, see the
                            following at 3:51

                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1NHEmDNgYY

                            Cheers,

                            Shane White

                            --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, jeo@... wrote:
                            >
                            > It's the same trick, unless?Horowiz had three hands (I saw him a few
                            times, and if he did, he was exceptionally successful at hiding the
                            third one).? One (now nearly forgotten) pianist (contemporary of Liszt
                            and Chopin), Sigismond Thalberg, made his reputation with his
                            imitation-of-three hands arrangements.? An outstanding example in more
                            modern classical music?is the fugue from Brahms' Handel Variations.
                            >
                            > Jim
                            >
                          • Shane White
                            Those curious to check out how this looks on the page, see: http://imslp.org/wiki/R%C3%A9miniscences_de_Norma_de_Bellini%2C_S.394_(Liszt%2C_Franz) Regards
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jan 2, 2009
                              Those curious to check out how this looks on the page, see:

                              http://imslp.org/wiki/R%C3%A9miniscences_de_Norma_de_Bellini%2C_S.394_(Liszt%2C_Franz)

                              Regards

                              Shane

                              --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Shane White"
                              <whitemusiconline@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > The "three-handed" trick of playing melodies with alternating thumbs
                              > surrounded by swirls of arpeggios was "invented" by the harpist
                              > Parish-Alvars and, as mentioned by Jim, became a trademark of
                              > Thalberg's opera paraphrases. For an example by Liszt, see the
                              > following at 3:51
                              >
                              > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1NHEmDNgYY
                              >
                            • Shane White
                              [ Deleted previous two messages - stuffed them up - sorry ] Let s try again with a link that works (hopefully):
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jan 2, 2009
                                [ Deleted previous two messages - stuffed them up - sorry ]

                                Let's try again with a link that works (hopefully):

                                http://imslp.org/wiki/R%C3%A9miniscences_de_Norma_de_Bellini%2C_S.394_%28Liszt%2C_Franz%29

                                The first link on this page is to the Dover reprint where the 3-hand
                                effect at 3:51 of the YouTube recording starts on page 13.

                                Regards

                                Shane


                                --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Shane White"
                                <whitemusiconline@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Those curious to check out how this looks on the page, see:
                                >
                                >
                                http://imslp.org/wiki/R%C3%A9miniscences_de_Norma_de_Bellini%2C_S.394_(Liszt%2C_Franz)
                                >
                                > Regards
                                >
                                > Shane
                                >
                                > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Shane White"
                                > <whitemusiconline@> wrote:
                                > >
                                > > The "three-handed" trick of playing melodies with alternating thumbs
                                > > surrounded by swirls of arpeggios was "invented" by the harpist
                                > > Parish-Alvars and, as mentioned by Jim, became a trademark of
                                > > Thalberg's opera paraphrases. For an example by Liszt, see the
                                > > following at 3:51
                                > >
                                > > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1NHEmDNgYY
                                > >
                                >
                              • Shane White
                                ... I ve listened to Eckstein s recording a number of times now. Todd is correct - the melody (plus offbeat accompanying chords) is played entirely by the left
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jan 2, 2009
                                  --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Robbins"
                                  <coneyislandtodd@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > As for the original question about how Willie Eckstein did that three
                                  > hand trick, the melody is played by the left hand either as a single
                                  > note, top note of an octave or tenth. It was a trick that Mike Bernard
                                  > used a lot. It can also be heard in Mal Franklin's recording of It's a
                                  > Peach. And Donald Lambert was fond of doing it too. Listen to his
                                  > recording of Tea for Two. The most amazing use of this trick, and I am
                                  > not sure if it is really the same trick, is in Vladimir Horowitz's
                                  > version of Stars and Stripes Forever.
                                  >
                                  > Todd
                                  >
                                  I've listened to Eckstein's recording a number of times now. Todd is
                                  correct - the melody (plus offbeat accompanying chords) is played
                                  entirely by the left hand (see Example 2 - refer to explanation
                                  below). Not a true example of Thalbergian 3-handed pianism where the
                                  melody is usually divided between both hands (see Example 1).

                                  As to Horowitz, yes, it's the same trick. I've posted a PDF in the
                                  files section showing two excerpts from Horowitz's Stars and Stripes
                                  transcription demonstrating the "three"-handed and "two"-handed
                                  versions of this technique.

                                  Best wishes,

                                  Shane White
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