The Piano Music Of Billy Mayerl / Eric Parkin

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" There is no pianist better equipped to carry the Billy Mayerl revival forward than Eric Parkin—unless it is Mayerl himself, whose 78s are not as available in transfers as they should be...He employs the strict rhythm arising from dance music which the composer often specifies, he understands the piano style—lyrical but fairly dry, and he plays with real musicianship without apology for music which makes friends through being easy on the ear. ...Parkin's delivery is as polished as a fine Mozart player: every phrase feels just right...these are stylish and ideally satisfying interpretations: Mayerl enthusiasts will need all three volumes"
- Peter Dickinson, GRAMOPHONE

Billy Mayerl was one of the most brilliant figures in British musical life between the two World Wars – a kind of English Scott Joplin of the novelty rag, a King of Syncopation as composer, pianist, educator and celebrity. His compositions include novelties deriving from ragtime as well as more lyrical pieces which place him in the English tradition of Edward German or Eric Coates, but also of Cyril Scott, John Ireland or early Frank Bridge. In the decades after his death, his reputation went into a decline. The 1990s saw a revival of interest in his work. His centenary was marked with a spate of recordings, largely from Eric Parkin, and Mayerl was a Radio 3 Composer of the Week in December 2002.

These immensely popular recordings are available now at mid-price.

Mayerl’s playing reached a vast audience in solo spots during broadcasts by the Savoy Havana Band in the early twenties and it was so popular that there were demands from both amateurs and professionals for instruction in fashionable modern syncopation. In 1926, therefore, Mayerl left the Savoy and opened the Billy Mayerl School of Music which flourished until the Second World War. His recordings are now classics, astonishing as live performances in the days when 78s did not allow for the editing assumed today. But Eric Parkin comes as close as anyone to the style, and his experience as a performer of both classical and popular music goes back to the time when Mayerl was still alive.

Mayerl was swept up in an endless round of touring shows, music halls and broadcasts, which never gave him time to record more than a small proportion of his output which totalled some 300 separate pieces apart from eighteen studies and over 120 transcriptions. Almost half of the latter were done for teaching purposes and appeared in the Billy Mayerl Club Magazine, which clocked up more than 2000 member subscribers between 1934 and 1939. They are ingenious recreations of popular songs in Mayerl’s own personal piano style. Mayerl also wrote scores for several frothy West End musical comedies in the 1930s, including many successful songs. There are also orchestral pieces, not all scored by Mayerl, which confirm his place somewhere between the English pastoral tradition and the Ealing studio film music of the period. During his lifetime there were distinctions between dance music, jazz, light music and the classical scene, which his work confusingly overlapped. Now crossover is legitimate; Mayerl has been taken up by a variety of pianists, usually classical, not all of whom can cope with this technical demands; and at last his delightful music is recognised and accepted on its own terms.

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: CHAN 10324(3) X

  • UPC: 095115132425

  • Label: Chandos

  • Composer: Billy Mayerl

  • Performer: Eric Parkin