Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Speaking of Carnegie Hall . . .

Though they weren't terribly interested in music per se, my parents tried to instill interest in and respect for the world of classical music in me and my sisters. It's actually a rather interesting case study of nature versus nurture: Out of five girls raised in the same family and environment, only one (me) developed an interest in it. None of the others even listens to the stuff, let alone plays an instrument. One of my sisters went a bit farther with the piano than the others, and even bought a spinet and gave a few lessons to some neighbors' children when she was a newlywed, but that was many years ago, with the piano long gone. I don't believe she listens to much in the way of music, though she does attend some of my concerts in a show of family solidarity. (She doesn't read this blog, though!)

So when I was growing up, we had a small and tattered collection of records in the house, including some albums of Broadway show tunes, a few random classical recordings, and a set of Great Classics purchased one per month at the A&P. We also had some aimed at children, including a set of Singing Science records and one that had a James Thurber story on one side and this on the other:

I do remember that this was the flip side of the other recording, and I do not remember this album cover. In fact, I don't remember that this was the name of the story, so perhaps what we had some sort of reissue of the original 1948 version you see here. In any case, it was played to death in our house and was finally discarded at some point.

This story has it all: unctious, cheerful male narrator; slightly wry and ironic tone; culture and humor; pathos and a happy ending; and piano music! It's a life in music told from the piano's point of view.

For years, I have been wondering if I could find a copy of it, and now I have, thanks to the folks who set up this site:
 Kiddie Records Weekly began in 2005 as a one year project dedicated to celebrating the golden age of children's records. This period roughly spanned from the mid forties through the early fifties and produced a wealth of all-time classics. Many of these recordings were extravagant Hollywood productions and featured big time celebrities and composers. Over time these forgotten treasures slipped off the radar and it has become our mission to give them a new lease on life by sharing them with today's generation of online listeners.

And here it is, in all its crackly glory (but without the big scratch that made it skip near the end on our family's copy):
If you click on the link, you can listen to the mp3 and/or download the file and images. The pianist on the record, Frank Glazer, is still alive, btw, now 96 years old, still playing and teaching.

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