Sunday January 16, 2022
Emerson Avenue Salonlines Proudly Presents
a Live YouTube Broadcast
– A “hybrid” concert –
1930s/40s VIRTUOSO PIANO SYNCOPATION
BOTH SIDES OF THE POND
Emerson Avenue regular, Alex Hassan, journeys up from Richmond, to treat us to another panoply of popular piano pyrotechnics (Phew!). As Alex has explained/demonstrated in past salons, the pianists/composers in the novelty genre, 20s/30s (pre-swing/post-ragtime), more often than not had the kind of virtuoso training and ability to keep up with their best classical counterparts. In this program, expect some of the more dazzling arrangements and original compositions of the era (and a tad later), presented with period flair by a fellow who’s been playing this way for nearly 50 years (longer than the original era itself!!). You’ll hear Alex’s elaborations of 2 show music medleys by the great Britisher, Billy Mayerl, whose compositions in the novelty piano solo idiom are unsurpassed. Few are aware of Mayerl’s melodic gifts in songwriting. There’ll be two knuckle-buster arrangements by the preeminent society pianist, Cy Walter. Also, 4 incredibly elegant, romantic paraphrases by the somewhat mysterious, Maurice Whitney. And a few extras, if time permits.
Join Alex and you’ll be transported to the late romantic era, with a syncopated beat!
Alex Hassan has been in total immersion 1920s/30s Tin Pan Alley Popular Piano Styles therapy for over 40 years. A pupil of a pupil of a pupil of a pupil of Franz Liszt (well…it SOUNDS impressive?!), he has been a torchbearer for the melodies of between-the-wars Broadway and Hollywood (and European equivalents), devoting himself more specifically to collecting and resurrecting the great “late Romantic with a beat” popular songs that really never had a chance.
His archival collection of [mostly] popular piano solo and vocal sheet music numbers around 45,000 titles, entirely 1920s/30s. It is a tribute to those heady musical times that there is still so much left to find.
Alex has performed internationally at such venues as England’s Aldeburgh Festival, Husum (2007 & 2015–“Piano Rarities Festival”), Washington DC’s Kennedy Center, the Coolidge Auditorium (Library of Congress), various Manhattan/Baltimore/Washington night spots, and national ragtime festivals. He has recorded prolifically for England’s SHELLWOOD PRODUCTIONS, Los Angeleno label OPERETTA ARCHIVES, and Pennsylvania’s STOMP OFF, and has produced/annotated several reissues of the virtuoso popular pianists of the 78RPM period, for both Shellwood and the Pittsburgh company, RIVERMONT (for which he has also recorded, along with two brilliant singing friends).
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