Billy Mayerl piano music recording project

30th January 2012 | Concerts, Daily Life, Inspirations | 6 comments

Billy Mayerl on a sheet music coverSome years ago I recorded ‘Loose Elbows’, a CD of Billy Mayerl’s piano music. It features some of the sparkling, good-humoured pieces Billy wrote when he was the celebrated pianist at the Savoy Hotel in London in the 1920s and 30s.

My disc has been in and out of print for some time now, but people never stop asking where they can get hold of it. It sometimes pops up, for an astonishing variety of prices, on collectors’ websites, and Amazon has recently made individual tracks available as mp3 files. But no record company has shown interest in a new disc of Mayerl’s music.

Recently, at a series of London concerts, several people asked me if I had a new Mayerl recording in the pipeline. I realised I was fed up with saying no. Instead, I’m wondering about recording some new tracks played by me in my own home. In these days of recordings being manicured to within an inch of their lives, I think there could be something special about hearing what a musician sounds like by their own fireside.

My plan is to record some new Mayerl pieces, and sell them track by track as downloads on my website. If it goes well, maybe I’ll move on to other composers.

But first I’d like to get some idea of whether people out there would buy my new Billy Mayerl tracks – pieces that don’t appear on the ‘Loose Elbows’ disc. Feedback would be welcome – either as a ‘comment’ on this post (which will be visible to everyone), or by writing to me privately at susan@susantomes.com. An easy way to do that is to click on the ‘send her an e-mail’ link under my tiny photo, in the left hand column of this page.

6 Comments

  1. Jeremy Hill

    This feels somewhat spooky. We had a copy of your Loose Elbows album in the family some years ago and my wife and I listened to it many times. It is music that my father and uncle used to play (sadly beyond my own pianistic capabilities) and therefore very familiar.

    Having recently read your books and started following your blog, only a couple of weeks ago I found Loose Elbows to download and have been listening with great pleasure once again. Your idea of extending your Billy Mayerl recordings through releasing further tracks is therefore very attractive. I wonder whether you could even arrange to “subscribe” to releases through iTunes, as one can with podcasts.

    Yes please!

    Reply
  2. Susan Tomes

    Thank you, Jeremy, for this encouraging first response. I know nothing about subscribing to releases through iTunes, but will try to get some expert advice on this point.

    Reply
  3. Stephen Dickinson

    I’d be really pleased if you did record some more Billy Mayerl pieces – I have very much enjoyed your Loose Elbows CD (which I must say was quite difficult to track down, although I see you have now added a link ArkivMusic) – they are such great fun to listen to, enough to brighten the greyest of days.

    Up to now I’ve never got into downloading music – however this could change!

    So yes please from me to.

    Reply
  4. James B

    That sounds very nice! People in certain countries can’t actually buy things from itunes so you might get some people purchasing from your website.

    Reply
  5. Steve L

    Yes please I would certainly be interested in hearing more of your very musical interpretations of his pieces and transcriptions. It was your original disc that made me resolve to try to learn to play a few of them myself. I’ve heard other talented pianists play Mayerl, but you just seem to find something extra to say!

    Reply
  6. Gareth

    I’d be delighted to hear some new Mayerl recordings. I’ve loved his music since my early teens. Philip Fowke came to give a masterclass at my school (quite a coup for a bog-standard comprehensive) and played a Mayerl piece at the end for our entertainment. It may have been Marigold, I don’t quite remember, but Mayerl’s name stuck in my memory.

    Reply

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