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Donald Ashwander: Sunshine And Shadow


Release Date: 01/10/2012 
Label:  New World Records   Catalog #: 80724-2  
Composer:  Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald AshwanderSharon MooreCharlie ChadwickCatherine Styron,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



ASHWANDER Sunshine and Shadow Donald Ashwander (pn) NEW WORLD 80724-2 (2 CDs: 148:08)


Here is a healthy dollop of delightful Americana from the late Donald Ashwander, a prolific composer and performer best known as the ebullient music director for the children’s theater troupe Paper Bag Players, where he was still working, after 28 years, at the time of his death in 1994. Ashwander was an academically trained musician (Manhattan School of Music) who, early in his career, struggled to find an identity, Read more knowing, at least, that he was completely uninterested in the atonal modernism that dominated the new-music scene in the 1950s. He left New York, returning for a time to his native Alabama, doing a hitch as a merchant marine and playing honky-tonk piano in Gulf Coast cocktail lounges.


The chief musical influence on Ashwander was ragtime, and no less an authority than Max Morath, a venerable godfather of the ragtime revival, counts him as a kindred spirit, and has contributed the program notes for this production. His output also includes lovely Stephen Foster-like ballads, some tilts toward a mildly jazzy style, and various other manners of nostalgia. On several cuts, he is joined by his niece, Sharon Moore, a well-regarded jazz vocalist in her own right.


This is a lot of music (there are 43 tracks), and as a collection, the release serves as a lovely tribute to a true-born musician. A real personality emerges, replete with charming and honest quirks, as a cumulative effect of all of this material. And that is the best way to appreciate this set, as opposed to approaching it as a generalized collection of ragtime. The recordings come from a variety of sources, of variable sound quality (but never less than adequate), and Ashwander’s essentially agile playing at times betrays the occasional stumble that one might encounter in a live music setting. This is a unique release, and those attracted to this kind of populist, even historical material, not to mention the oversized personality of a truly attractive character, should find much to relish here.


FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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Works on This Recording

1.
Request by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979 
2.
Saratoga Rag by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1974 
3.
Sunday Night, Manhattan by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975; USA 
4.
October by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1974 
5.
Old Streets by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; USA 
6.
Summer Garden by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976 
7.
The Garden at Night by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977 
8.
Dove in the Window by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1970 
9.
Crow Tracks by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971 
10.
Road to California by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971 
11.
Drunkard's Path by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1970 
12.
Sunshine and Shadow by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979 
13.
Pine Tree by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1970 
14.
Goose in the Pond by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971 
15.
The Moonflower Vine by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971 
16.
Nocturne in E major by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959/1979 
17.
She Laughed at Him by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano), Sharon Moore (Voice)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950 
18.
Betty, The Belle of Baytown by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano), Sharon Moore (Voice)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1958 
19.
Thelma by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano), Sharon Moore (Voice)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956 
20.
Peggy, The Pearl of Pensacola by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano), Sharon Moore (Voice)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958 
21.
Chili Billy by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano), Sharon Moore (Voice)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965 
22.
Bar by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano), Sharon Moore (Voice)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1951 
23.
The Sinatra Line by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano), Sharon Moore (Voice)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1981 
24.
Pedro at Baseball by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano), Sharon Moore (Voice)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980 
25.
Street Corner Pierrot by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980 
26.
The Locust by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano), Sharon Moore (Voice)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953 
27.
On the Highwire by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; USA 
28.
Forgotten Ballrooms by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983; USA 
29.
Moving Man by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988 
30.
Perdido Bay Moon Rag by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988; USA 
31.
Waterloo Rag by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; USA 
32.
Here and Gone by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977 
33.
Mobile Carnival Rag Tango by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; USA 
34.
Empty Porches by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969; USA 
35.
Friday Night by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; USA 
36.
Astor Place Rag Waltz by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; USA 
37.
The Brooklyn Stop and Start by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; USA 
38.
Wax Paper Dance by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967 
39.
Business in Town by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; USA 
40.
Peacock Colors by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967; USA 
41.
Evanescence by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979 
42.
Yard Sale Rag by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Donald Ashwander (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992 
43.
Daybreak in Alabama by Donald Ashwander
Performer:  Charlie Chadwick (Double Bass), Sharon Moore (Voice), Catherine Styron (Piano),
Peter Hyrdak (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991 

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