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Jazz Nocturne - The Collected Piano Music Of Dana Suesse


Release Date: 10/27/2009 
Label:  Koch International Classics Catalog #: 7770   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Dana SuessePauline Alpert
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SUESSE Jazz Nocturne. Afternoon of a Black Faun. Scherzette. The Cocktail Suite. Blue Moonlight. Berceuse. Midnight in Gramercy Square. 110th Street Rhumba. Serenade to a Skyscraper. Swamp-Bird. Song Without Words (“In the Hawaiian Manner”). Syncopated Love-Song. You’re the Surest Cure for the Blues. ALPERT Dream of a Doll. Ivory Tips. Piano Poker. Mindin’ the Baby Sara Davis Buechner (pn) E1 7770 (64:35)


I discovered the music of Dana Suesse Read more (pronounced “Swees”) a few years ago when I heard Kevin Cole with the Albany Symphony Orchestra under David Allen Miller perform her lively, jazzy Concerto in Three Rhythms . In a brief lecture from the piano, Cole pointed out that she wrote such pop hits as My Silent Love (a vocal version of Jazz Nocturne ), You Oughta Be in Pictures , and The Night Is Young (and You’re So Beautiful) . Promoted by George Gershwin and Paul Whiteman, she was sometimes labeled “The Girl Gershwin” but, although she was ambitious and talented enough to write concertos and theater music, I think comparisons with, say, Zez Confrey and Billy Mayerl might be more appropriate. They specialized in what the annotator of this CD appropriately refers to as piano pieces in a “sophisticated urban manner” and cites Louis Alter’s Manhattan Serenade as a prime example, which it is. Irving Berlin once differentiated between himself and George Gershwin by saying, “I’m a songwriter; George was a composer.” I think it’s fair to say that, despite her several hits, Suesse was a composer. Some of her music has a charming 1920s or 1930s flavor to it, but it uses the language of the jazz age without necessarily being particularly “jazzy.” It isn’t what later became known as “Third Stream Music.” It will not bring to mind Gunther Schuller or Stan Kenton’s experiments. Her pieces don’t necessarily amount to classical jazz—they use the harmonies of Debussy and Ravel (which even served later pianists like Bill Evans) and sometimes incorporate jazzy rhythms and melodic twists. Almost all of them have the insouciant lilt of their time. Jazz was merely another arrow in her quiver. One piece ( Berceuse ) sounds like a Satie Gymnopédie , another ( Old-Fashioned ), like a Strauss polka. If you can give yourself to it, her music is fun to hear and, if I may judge by these performances (which tend to be a little slower than Suesse’s own recordings), fun to play as well. While I’m on the subject, let me point out that I think later performers (but not Buechner) tend to sentimentalize the pop music of the 1920s and 1930s, much of which is upbeat and was performed that way in its day. Nowadays, songs like I’ve Got a Crush on You and Willow, Weep For Me tend to be performed in a slow, sappy, sentimental way. I hope the fact that the CD concludes with four pieces by Pauline Alpert, a similarly talented contemporary (I think I heard her play on WOR, New York, where she had a show in the 1940s), doesn’t preclude more recordings of music by Suesse or Alpert by Sara Buechner or anyone else, for that matter. Good news: I am informed that a Naxos recording of the Concerto in Three Rhythms is on the way.


FANFARE: James Miller
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Works on This Recording

1.
Jazz Nocturno by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
2.
Afternoon of a Black Faun by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 6 Secs. 
3.
Scherzetto "Whirligig" by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 13 Secs. 
4.
Cocktail Suite: Old-Fashioned by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 1 Minutes 21 Secs. 
5.
Cocktail Suite: Champagne by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
6.
Cocktail Suite: Bacardi by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
7.
Cocktail Suite: Manhattan by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 40 Secs. 
8.
Blue Moonlight by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 31 Secs. 
9.
Berceuse by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 1 Minutes 47 Secs. 
10.
Midnight in Gramercy Square by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 28 Secs. 
11.
110th Street Rumba by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 16 Secs. 
12.
Serenade to a Skyscraper by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 8 Secs. 
13.
Swamp-bird by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 1 Minutes 50 Secs. 
14.
Sing Without Words "In Hawiian Manner" by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 1 Minutes 4 Secs. 
15.
Syncopated Love-Song by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 21 Secs. 
16.
You're the Surest Cure for the Blues by Dana Suesse
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Sara Davis Buechner. 
17.
Four Piano Pieces: Dream of a Doll by Pauline Alpert
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
18.
Four Piano Pieces: Ivory Tips by Pauline Alpert
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 7 Secs. 
19.
Four Piano Pieces: Piano Poker by Pauline Alpert
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 23 Secs. 
20.
Four Piano Pieces: Mindin' the Baby by Pauline Alpert
Performer:  Sara Davis Buechner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 1 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

The Cocktail Suite (Suesse): III. Bacardi
Serenade to a Skyscraper (Suesse)
Blue Moonlight (Suesse)

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