• U.S.

Music: Silent Music

2 minute read

On the stage of a raffish Broadway movie house in Manhattan last week, the antics of a 13-piece orchestra made audiences fidget and giggle. The band was going through all the motions: the swart, longish-haired leader led away; the brasses, the saxophones, the clarinets made a great show of fingering and blowing, but the only sound from the stage was a rhythmic swish-swish from the trap-drummer, a froggy slap-slap from the bull-fiddler, a soft plunk-plunk from the pianist. This, explained Leader Raymond Scott, was silent music.

His explanation fell on almost deaf ears. This “silent” music was not altogether silent, and it was just provocative enough to make listeners wonder whether the silence of other bands might sound better than Scott’s. But the stunt showed that Mr. Scott still had his bid in as the most elfin of U. S. bandsters.

Raymond Scott—brother of Hit Parader Mark Warnow—began his career with a “Quintet” which contained six players, wrote brittle, sophisticated jazz pieces with titles like Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals. In the past year Leader Scott has had a dance band, has toured up & down the land, is proud that he knows how to pronounce names like Manitowoc, Wis. His tour has also taught him how to drive an automobile blind: to take one look at a parking space, back into it without taking another; to memorize a turn the first time, drive it shut-eyed thereafter. Raymond Scott still drives his band open-eyed—with results which, when audible, sound neat and crisp.

The Chicago Symphony romped through a piano concerto by Rudolph Ganz, Chicago musician. Its scherzo had themes whose notes correspond to numbers on Composer Ganz’s 1940 and 1941 license tags.

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