Monday, July 13, 2009

The Plate Spinning Song -- Part 3

In a continuing series, this being Part 3, I report on the song "Sabre Dance" by Khachaturian.

In Part 1 I said I had it on a CD called "Caravan," songs of the Silk Road, something like that. And in Part 2 that is is on an LP by a group called Ekseption.

Today, Part 3, I got an LP by Ferrante and Teicher called "Popular Classics" and it's the first track. "Sabre Dance," it says, "from the Gayne Ballet." That's the first I've heard of the Gayne Ballet. But I'm assuming that in amongst the ballet dancers there's another guy spinning plates.

For this song is the universal theme song for plate spinners everywhere! You can't be out there spinning plates to some of the other tracks on this album, like "Jamaican Rhumba" and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." Is that "Jesus" without the "S," or some other person, like "Jesu and the Pussycats"?

I have probably owned Ferrante and Teicher albums before, like when you buy a box of albums somewhere for five bucks or everything on the table for 10 bucks. But I believe this is the first time I ever bought one on purpose. I guess I just associate it with old fogey music. But now that I'm an old fogey, it's time to go back and catch up on what I've been missing.

Ferrante and Teicher each play a separate piano, and their recordings are of the blend of the two, both appearing to be speed demons when it comes to the ivories. I never knew or thought about their first names until today, but it says here they're Arthur Ferrante and Louis Teicher, and they're lifelong friends. Since getting this album I looked at their website, and it says they recorded 148 original record albums. That explains why I've seen a million over them over the years.

The weird thing about their discography is that I don't see this album listed. It says in the small print that "Popular Classics" was formerly released on Westminster Records as "Ferrante and Teicher." And on their discography there's mentions of Westminster but not of an album with that name.

This particular issue is the mono release, ABC-Paramount Records, ABC-437. The "stereo" version of the album is a "Technically Augmented Stereo" record, which just means electronically simulated stereo. At least I didn't get that. The number for the fake stereo issue is T.A. Stereo-ABCS-437.

The tracks are 13. 1) Sabre Dance (from the Gayne Ballet), Khachaturian; 2) Habanera, Ravel; 3) Ritual First Dance (from El Amor Brujo), Falla; 4) Reverie, Debussy; 5) Jamaican Rhumba, A. Benjamin; 6) Tango in D Major, Op. 165, No. 2, Albeniz; 7) American Fantasy (Ferrante & Teicher). Then side 2: 1) Waltz in C Sharp Minor, Op. 64, No. 2; 2) Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (from Cantata No. 147), Bach; 3) Toccata (from Sonata No. 6 in A Major), Paradies; 4) Liebestraum No. 3, Liszt; 5) Valse (from Suite for Two Pianos, Op. 15), Arensky; 6) Slavonic Dance in C Major, Op. 46, No. 1, Dvorak.

Huh? Do I get any points for typing all that?

Unfortunately for my enjoyment of this record, even though it looks like it's in great shape, there's some kind of vinyl anomaly when you get toward the end of Side 1. So it's playing fine but you can hear a kind of Wow or Wump when the needle hits that patch each time around. I will probably copy off my plate spinning song and let it go at that.

NOTE: If anyone can tell me how to take a picture of a record cover or CD cover so it comes out looking FLAT, please let me know.