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Music: 15 Cents a Song

2 minute read

15¢ a Song

A good way for sons of musicians to occupy their time and bring the family kudos is to be prodigious. Little Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a harpsichordist at three, a composer at four. Ludwig van Beethoven fiddled at five; Johann Sebastian Bach permitted himself, a small moppet, to be discovered poring over music at night in the garret. But Bob and Ted Maier, five-and six-year-old sons of Guy Maier, who was Lee Pattison’s two-piano partner until last March (TIME, March 2), are no altruistic prodigies. They compose and write lyrics only when bribed to do so by their father. Last week was published their first songbook: Sons; Cargo (G. Schirmer. Inc.. $1).

For each & every lyric, tune and illustration approved by Pianist Maier, Sons Bob & Ted received 5¢. Pianist Maier rejected many, accepted and harmonized 20 for four-hand piano performance. Unpretentious, graphically illustrated with squiggly pen & ink drawings by the two prodigies, the songs are short, pointed:

“I won’t eat my spinach!” said Kitty


“You shall eat your spinach!” said Mister McGow.

Or jovial:

Here we go sliding down the street.

It’s better to slide than walk on your feet!

Musicritics found the tunes pleasant, guessed that no small credit would redound to proud Father Maier. But there was a discomforting thought: how to muzzle large, coy sopranos who would inevitably seize upon these roguish songs as encore numbers?

*Other noteworthy 1931 births: to onetime President Plutarco Elias Calles of Mexico (son, premature); Golfer Robert Tyre Jones Jr. (daughter); William Henry Vanderbilt (twins, forecast by X-ray); Emperor Hirohito of Japan (daughter); Sir Hari Singh, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir (son, winning him a large wager).

†Such as last year’s deficit of $1,079,473, largest in history (TIME, July 13). Some $400,000 of this was paid last week by Samuel Insull, the rest having already been promised by himself and other guarantors.

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