JWQ Showcase 2017

Sunday, November 20, 2016

USA: Alessandro Simonetto- Laurel & Hardy: The Original Piano Music (Aevea 2016)

This album recreates the atmosphere and feeling of the 1930s comedies from the Hal Roach Studios, the 'Lot of Fun' where Laurel & Hardy, Our Gang, Charley Chase, The Boy Friends and Thelma Todd created their biggest successes. These short films were usually enlivened by the catchy background tunes composed by LeRoy Shield (1893-1962). Although the titles of these tunes remained known only to insiders, the music is all too familiar to anyone who ever saw Stan and Ollie embark on one of their doomed journeys.

Trained as a classical pianist, Shield eased into the new medium of film music with apparent ease and knocked off dozens of short, catchy background tunes in record time. It is not funny "comedy music" in itself; rather, it ranges from slow, sentimental ballads to uptempo dance numbers. Sometimes, there are echoes of Stravinsky, Satie and Casella!

Tracking down original sheet music took years of detective work. For the first time in history, this cd contains renditions of original piano music and original piano transcriptions made by Shield himself - written before the orchestral versions were recorded - of tunes such as 'All Together', 'Little Dancing Girl', 'Gangway Charlie', 'Riding Along', and 'The Moon and You'. It also contains piano transcriptions of Shield's background tunes from 1930-31 as originally published as loose-leaf sheet music: 'Bells', 'You Are The One I Love', 'In My Canoe', 'On to the Show', 'Riding Along' and 'Good Old Days'.

Originally published in 1931 but impossible to find today, the "LeRoy Shield Song Album" is a collection of ten popular film background tunes transcribed for piano: 'Prelude', 'Bride's Song', 'Here We Go', 'Look at Him Now', 'Cascadia', 'Dash and Dot', 'Let's Go', 'Antics', 'Give Us a Hand' and 'It Is to Laugh'.

The CD also contains in first world release the reconstruction of the piece 'Snowing', written appositely for the film Laughing Gravy; and the complete set of effects and short melodies named as 'Goofs', including some unheard and not known pieces.

The CD will be accompanied with liner notes written by the historian Piet Schreuders, well known among the Laurel & Hardy fans!