These dances are excerpted from a pièce d’occasion written for songwriter-lyricist Adolph Green and actress-comedienne Phyllis Newman upon their marriage. The suite, “in 2 parts with 3 encores,” was intended to be played side by side by the Greens, Bernstein’s friends and theater colleagues. Part I opens with piano secundo playing Bach’s C-Major Prelude from the Well-Tempered Clavier, while piano primo simultaneously plays “Just in Time” from the Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Jule Styne score for Bells Are Ringing. Part II, comprising the three dances, is subtitled Bell, Book, and Rabbi (pace John Van Druten). The three dances comprise The First Waltz (Canon) in which “he leads” and “she follows.” Nine bars later the order is reversed, and then, five bars after that, the theme is marked “Who is this third voice?” No. 2 is a cha-cha-cha, and No. 3 is a hora (the popular Israeli dance) marked “Fast and Jewish.”
Performers: Jean Barr, Piano; Barry Snyder, Piano
Publisher: Universal Polygram International Publishing
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