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On W.C. Fields and Cowboy Bebop

Hybrid HighbrowSecond Inversion radio has an interesting interview with pianist Nadia Shpachenko. She has a new album that includes a composition by Peter Yates called “Epitaphs and Youngsters.” The piece requires output from a “singing pianist,” who, among other tasks, meditates on W.C. Fields’ famous comment that “On the whole, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.”

Apparently Fields hoped that this statement would become his epitaph. At least that’s what he said in the magazine Vanity Fair in 1925. He also alluded to this desire in another movie, to wit:

Hangman: Have you any last wish?
WC: Yes, I’d like to see Paris before I die. (pause) Philadelphia will do.

In any event, from the Second Inversion snippet included in the interview, it seems like a nice work, nicely performed.

Meanwhile I love the soundtrack to the TV show Cowboy Beebop and am glad that Austin, Texas classical station KFMA has published a retrospective of sorts on its author, Yoko Kanno. Beebop’s opening track brings back memories of the anthems of TV shows from the 1950s, most notably Henry Mancini’s theme to Peter Gunn:

But Kanno is full of surprises, most notably this Faure-like chorus that morphs into a Chrissy Hynde style tune:

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