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George Antheil - Bad Boy of Music / Marthanne Verbit


Release Date: 10/24/2006 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 146   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Antheil
Performer:  Marthanne Verbit
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The subtitle of this CD is "Bad Boy of Music," which is the title of Antheil's 1945 autobiography. He loved this role, scandalizing Paris and New York in the 1920s; going on tour as a brutal pianist with an armoury of tone-clusters, splashy glissandos and mechanical rhythms; and persuading his patron to support him for 19 years. Antheil's Ballet mecanique was a landmark and before that his solo recitals had convinced the intelligensia of Paris that this brash American was something big. In 1926 Copland felt that Antheil possessed "the greatest gifts of any young American now writing."

This promise wasn't quite fulfilled, at least in terms of the values which maintained in the years up to and after
Read more Antheil's early death in 1959. His bubble seemed to have burst by the later 1920s, but he went on to write operas that got staged in Europe, then he worked for Hollywood and brought a new romanticism into his concert music. Russian influences are strong in Antheil – he approached Stravinsky like a mad kleptomaniac and he overdid his borrowings to the point of crazy extravagance. In the 1990s, with the calculated exaggerations of Schnittke and others, Antheil seems to have been ahead of his time.

So this anthology of piano music is well timed, bringing together percussive classics like Airplane Sonata and Sonata sauvage, which make interesting comparisons with those of Cowell. Marthanne Verbit is immersed in the whole Antheil scene and has painstakingly wrestled with his casual manuscripts, full of missing accidentals and inconsistencies. She has one of her own, I think, in the Sonata sauvage, track 4 at 1'06", and there are passages where a drier piano sound would have been more mechanical in this idiom. But she is overwhelmingly convincing, relishing Antheil's quixotic style-modulations – like the beguiling Chopinesque passage very early in the Fourth Sonata (0'13") – and treating the later Valentine Waltzes with rare pianistic charm. Antheil's jazz phase is represented by a shimmy and a tango with more than a nod to Weill. Verbit has chosen 20 out of 45 concentrated but eloquent miniatures comprising the set called La femme 100 tetes.

Although some of these works have been recorded individually, Antheil deserves the chance of a full CD. This one is excellently presented and includes notes by Linda Whitesitt. Altogether a most enjoyable portrait of yet another American eccentric.

-- Peter Dickinson, Gramophone [11/1995]
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Works on This Recording

1. Airplane Sonata by George Antheil
Performer:  Marthanne Verbit (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; USA 
2. Sonata Sauvage by George Antheil
Performer:  Marthanne Verbit (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; USA 
3. La femme 100 têtes by George Antheil
Performer:  Marthanne Verbit (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932-1933; USA 
4. Transatlantic: Tango by George Antheil
Performer:  Marthanne Verbit (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; USA 
Notes: Transcribed: A. Steinbrecher (1927) 
5. Sonata for Piano no 4 by George Antheil
Performer:  Marthanne Verbit (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; USA 
6. Valentine Waltzes by George Antheil
Performer:  Marthanne Verbit (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
7. Little Shimmy by George Antheil
Performer:  Marthanne Verbit (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; Paris, France 

Sound Samples

Airplane Sonata, "Piano Sonata No. 2": I. As Fast as Possible
Airplane Sonata, "Piano Sonata No. 2": II. Andante
Sonata Sauvage, "Piano Sonata No. 1": I. A la negre: Allegro vivo
Sonata Sauvage, "Piano Sonata No. 1": II. Snakes
Sonata Sauvage, "Piano Sonata No. 1": III. Ivory: Prestissimo
La femme 100 tetes: No. 1. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 2. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 3. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 4. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 5. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 6. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 7. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 8. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 9. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 10. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 11. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 12. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 13. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 24. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 25. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 26. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 40. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 43. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 44. -
La femme 100 tetes: No. 45. -
Little Shimmy
Transatlantic: Tango (arr. for piano)
Jazz Sonata, "Piano Sonata No. 4": I. Allegro giocoso-ironico
Jazz Sonata, "Piano Sonata No. 4": II. Andante cantabile
Jazz Sonata, "Piano Sonata No. 4": III. Allegro
Valentine Waltzes: Waltz No. 1
Valentine Waltzes: Waltz No. 2
Valentine Waltzes: Waltz No. 3
Valentine Waltzes: Waltz No. 4
Valentine Waltzes: Waltz No. 5
Valentine Waltzes: Waltz No. 6
Valentine Waltzes: Waltz No. 7
Valentine Waltzes: Waltz No. 8
Valentine Waltzes: Waltz No. 9
Valentine Waltzes: Waltz No. 10
Valentine Waltzes: Waltz No. 11

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 How can one not be a fan June 6, 2013 By Dr. Mitchell Gurk (Spencer, MA) See All My Reviews "of this inventive, seductive composer. Play him often." Report Abuse
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