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Mock Mozart

Red Ingle and his Natural Seven, Frank "The Terrible Turk" Leithner - 'Town House' piano
Wiegenlied – Flies ("Mozart’s Lullaby" " Schlafe, mein Prinzchen") [3:08]
The Comedy Harmonists
Rec. 1912-1954

LIVING ERA CD AJA 5649 [75:31]

Crotchet Budget price

In an Eighteenth-Century Drawing Room [2:38]
Raymond Scott and his Quintet
Mock Mozart [3:18]
The voices and noises of Peter Ustinov and Antony Hopkins (harpsichord)
Turkish March [2:03]
Hazel Scott
Turkish March [2:42]
Martha Eggerth and Jan Kiepura
Minuet – Divertimento No.17 [2:59]
Mantovani and his Orchestra
Se vuol ballare – The Marriage of Figaro [3:22]
Nelson Eddy - baritone; Robert Armbruster & orchestra
Barber’s Hitch [3:00]
The New Friends Of Rhythm: Laura Newell - harp; Sylvan Shulman, Zelly Smirnoff - violins; Louis Kievman - viola; Alan Shulman - cello; Tony Colucci - guitar; Harry Patent - double-bass
The Blacksmith – Non piu andrai – The Marriage of Figaro [1:58]
Reinald Werrenrath - baritone; with orchestra
Mozart Matriculates [2:37]
Alec Templeton
Mozart Matriculates [2:01]
Benny Goodman - clarinet, & his Orchestra: Ziggy Elman, Jimmy Maxwell, Johnny Martell - trumpets; Red Ballard, Vernon Brown, Ted Vesely - trombones; Toots Mondello, Buff Estes - alto saxophones; Jerry Jerome, Bus Bassey - tenor saxophones; Fletcher Hender
Queen of the Night Aria – Magic Flute [3:37]
Florence Foster Jenkins and Cosme McMoon
In an Eighteenth-Century Drawing Room [2:59]
Ken Griffin
Alleluja – Exsultate Jubilate [1:51]
Deanna Durbin - soprano; Charles Previn and orchestra
Menuetto – Symphony No.39 [1:52]
Albert Sandler and his Orchestra
Leporello’s Catalogue Aria "Madamina, il catalogo" – Don Giovanni [6:34]
Dennis King, Ezio Pinza, Alfred Wallenstein and The RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Allegro – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik [3:11]
Yoichi Hiraoka and Vladimir Brenner
Air de la letter – Hahn/Mozart [3:08]
Yvonne Printemps
Turkish Delight – Rondo alla turca [2:47]
Henri René & his Musette Orchestra
Coraline’s Variations on Mozart’s Ah, vous dirai-je, maman (Adam – Le Toreador)
Miliza Korjus, Berlin Radio Orchestra and Johannes Muller
The Café Mozart Waltz [1:58]
Anton Karas
A Mozart Opera by Borge [9:10]
Victor Borge
Moe Zart’s Turkey Trot [3:01]


Would you trust a disc that claims that it "puts the mad into Amadeus"? Or that says that it’s the most unusual Mozart record you’ll ever hear? One appreciates that this anniversary year has poured forth a veritable oil slick of Mozartiana but I suppose that’s no reason why the Living Era team shouldn’t compile a disc on the same sort of theme.

The theme obviously is comedy. But it’s not all "mock" and the title is a slight misnomer. There’s nothing mock about Pinza’s aria from Don Giovanni. The only thing that sets it apart is that the record company prefaced it with a reading of the translated text, made on another occasion entirely, by fruitily voiced British actor Dennis King. And despite her cinematic stardom Deanna Durbin’s Alleluja from the Exsultate Jubilate isn’t remotely silly or funny; actually as an agnostic when it comes to Durbin I was rather impressed. In the same way Nelson Eddy’s Se vuol ballare from The Marriage of Figaro is not, alas, mock. It’s all too serious and very square indeed, phrased with wooden trepidation.

Then there are things such as Adam’s Coraline’s Variations on Mozart’s Ah, vous dirai-je, maman happily despatched by Miliza Korjus, but again hardly rib tickling stuff and "mock" doesn’t really cover it either.

These examples of non-mock we shall have to pass by. Some of the rest is simply Light Music or salon arrangements; the arrangement for salon forces of the Minuet from Symphony No.39 played by Albert Sandler for instance. And so is the lushly suave Mantovani arrangement of the Divertimento No.17.

The mad business centres around the oft-reissued Florence Foster Jenkins item – a camp classic – and such things as the Ustinov and Borge skits, both delicious. Raymond Scott burlesques on-the-beat (non) jazzers in one of the versions here of In an Eighteenth-Century Drawing Room. There are inevitably several versions of Rondo alla turca. Eggerth and Kiepura turn in an aggressive Italian version in which Kiepura’s voice sounds strangely covered in softer passages. The earliest number is the brass bandy accompaniment accorded baritone Reinald Werrenrath in his reworking of Non piu andrai.

Other pleasures include hearing Alec Templeton, the blind Welsh pianist-composer, introduce his own piece, a touch of Western Swing from Red Ingle and his Natural Seven and hearing the adorable Yvonne Printemps in Reynaldo Hahn’s Mozartian biographical salute.

Fine transfers and very helpful notes complete a compilation package that doesn’t quite stick to Trade Descriptions but still offers plenty of enjoyable moments.

Jonathan Woolf

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