I have listened to portions of this disc hundreds of time on the drives to and from work. It's a marvelous audio-engineering feat, bringing to life the spirited and brilliant artistry of one of the greatest novelty pianists of all time. Dead in 1934 at the age of 29, Raie da Costa's recordings were preserved only on disc pressings, but the audio engineers have eliminated the surface noise as if there never had been any; as if death and 80+ years have not removed us from this remarkably able and engaging performer. Long live Raie!!! Raie da Costa was a fabulous pianist. What a pity she died so young.
This has to be one of the most brilliant piano collections ever. The whole Keyboard Wizards series is wonderful, but some of the tracks on this disc - notably the duet "Dizzy Fingers" - are jaw-droppingly stunning. As a longtime pianist myself, I can't imagine playing some of these works, and the remastered recordings are a national treasure. I hope the creating company keeps finding and releasing more! Another great audio-engineering feat by this label. Another disc that I have listened to dozens of time. My only suggestion would have been giving Constance Mering billing over Vee Lawnhurst as Constance's playing displays greater technique and artistic range.
Keyboard Wizards Of The Gershwin Era Vol V - by Arndt / Banta / Bargy / Bernard / Bloom was released Jul 28, 1998 on the Pearl label.
This fourth volume in Pearl's series Keyboard Wizards of the Gershwin Era includes 26 tracks of piano-roll recordings by Zez Confrey, a gifted pianist with nimble fingers and a light touch. Barring the four versions of "Kitten on the Keys," the selections here – "Coaxin' the Piano," "Poor Buttermilk," "You Tell 'Em Ivories," "Mississippi Shivers," and "Charleston Chuckles" – will be unfamiliar to most. It's an enjoyable collection nevertheless, and a fascinating document from nearly a century ago.
Keyboard Wizards III- Arden and Ohman is my favorite disc so far. The other two I own are vols. I and V which are also good but lack the variety Arden and Ohman possess. Vol. III's salient quality is the diversity of ensembles. Piano alone, big band and vocals all are featured which give it an edge over the other great discs. The music and piano work is certainly dated, reflecting the whimsical and seemingly care-free times of the late 1920s. If you are a musicologist or simply a fan of American music history, this album may be for you, too.
It is a crime that these pieces are not better known. They are extraordinary, of great depth, truly beautiful, and highly addictive. That's all I have to say. Great music performed with gusto. Classical training and virtuosity is self evident. I enjoyed this CD very much. Composer and lyricist Dana Suesse was a child prodigy, giving her first concert, a Rachmaninoff prelude, at the age of nine. At 16 she moved to New York and began composing songs.
Pauline Alpert was known as a "whirlwind pianist" during the novelty era. She played within orchestras and as a solo artist. She also appeared in movies and videos, and was a contributing artist to many musical releases. Here is a wonderful variety of selections recorded by the phenomenal Pauline Alpert taken from her 1940's 78's. They are very finely remastered, and the overall quality is outstanding. A highly recommended CD by this artist.