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Continental Holiday

  1. The Continental (You Kiss While You're Dancing)
  2. A Foggy Day
  3. Little Dutch Mill
  4. Wonderful Copenhagen
  5. Vienna Life
  6. Neapolitan Nights
  7. Tango España
  8. The Last Time I Saw Paris
Ferrante & Teicher: Continental Holiday  (Columbia)
About this album: 

Lp released in 1954.

Liner notes: 

In this light-hearted collection, those irrepressible pianos, Art Ferrante and Lou Teicher, conduct a skimming tour of Europe as represented by eight delightful melodies. Although swift, the tour is as graceful and charming as anyone could wish, and provides a pleasant incitement for those who have never made the grand tour, or a happy souvenir for those lucky ones who have.

Beginning with The Continental, Ferrante and Teicher set up the mood with a bright, lithe selection from an early Rogers-Astaire film. Few songs written to introduce a new dance have the lift and merriment that this one does, and its excitement transports the listener abroad in a matter of moments. London is the first stop, evoked in a George and Ira Gershwin tune that conjures up A Foggy Day, wherein even the British Museum has lost its charm. This song, too, was introduced by Fred Astaire, and has since become a favorite standard. Moving cross-channel, The Netherlands is symbolized by an outstanding architectural feature, the Little Dutch Mill. The engaging tunefulness and simplicity of this song give way to a jolly salute to Wonderful Copenhagen, Denmark’s fascinating capital. Written by Frank Loesser for “Hans Christian Andersen,” the cheerful sweep of the waltz reflects the gaiety of one of the world’s most delightful cities.

Skipping southward, Ferrante and Teicher next transport the listener to Austria, and Vienna Life, one of the most enduring of Strauss waltzes, and fill it with the magic implied in its title. A familiar Italian melody turns up next on the musical journey, to arouse vivid pictures of lights and music shimmering across the lovely Bay of Naples. Neapolitan Nights is the title, less familiar perhaps than the song itself. Next the dramatic colors and contrasts of the Iberian peninsula come to mind with Tango España, utilizing one of Spain’s most characteristic rhythms in an exciting piano-picture. As no trip to Europe could possibly be complete without a trip to Paris, Ferrante and Teicher conclude their tour in that magnificent city, with Jerome Kern’s The Last Time I Saw Paris, a tender and nostalgic souvenir of that endlessly enchanting spot.

These charming piano settings, with their unexpected and felicitous ideas, are the rewarding products of one of the most inventive partnerships in music. Art Ferrante and Lou Teicher have brought some notable new sounds into two-piano renditions through decidedly unorthodox treatment of the keyboard, strings and the piano frame itself. In this collection, as in their other work, all the music—with the exception of those tones produced by the celesta—stems from the two pianos and those alone. Although here they have abstained from the hilarious madness that characterizes their brilliant single records, echoes of the technique can be heard in several of the numbers, used to point up and color the essential quality of the songs.

Long familiar to radio listeners, Ferrante and Teicher are also favorites of concert fans, whom they have delighted with recitals ranging from Bach to the composers of the present day in an annual series of cross-country tours. They have been playing together since they were six, and were two of the youngest students ever accepted at the Juilliard School of Music. Upon graduating, they joined the faculty of the school, and began their experiments in pianistic sound, coupled with the possibilities offered by magnetic tape recording. In Continental Holiday, they provide enlightening glimpses of both their classical background and their experimentation, together with a group of deftly-sketched musical pictures of Europe that reflect that continent’s charm and fascination.