Richard Dowling: Music of Old New York
2010 Museum Music, Inc.
Richard Dowling on Piano
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 24, 2013
This solo piano CD by Richard Dowling is a fantastic trip down memory lane with what could be silent film soundtracks, July 4th marching band music, vaudeville flapper girl tunes, and song and dance fun in old New York saloons. Mr. Dowling captures the essence of these iconic, optimistic songs with upbeat tempos and rapid, rolling rhythms.
#1 – Harlem Rag - Composed by T. Turpin, 1897. Richard Dowling plays these pieces with much adoration and respect for their authentic naturalism, never grandstanding or dramatizing the seamless themes and refrains. This opening track brings the listener right into turn of the 20th Century, uptown New York, when Harlem was entering its jazzy heyday, sparkling with sophistication and soul.
#13 – Manhattan Rag - Composed by F. Brownold, 1901. This track is named for its Manhattan roots, and there’s a reason this music is timeless. On listening to Mr. Dowling’s rambunctious rendition, one thinks of Scott Joplin, although only one track on this CD is composed by Joplin. The Joplin genre is joyful, memorable, and dynamic.
#16 - The Streets of New York - Composed by V. Herbert-H. Blossom, 1906. This was one of my favorite tracks, with Mr. Dowling adding treble flourishes half-way through the song, to transport the listener to an old time silent film with live piano. Mr. Dowling’s interpretation of these early New York styled standards is refreshing and captivating.
#24 - New York and Coney Island Cycle March Two-Step - Composed by E. T. Paull, 1896. On the very day that Coney Island has re-opened for the 2013 season, this 1896 marching band tune is just as current and contagious as it was well over a century ago. In fact, this song reminds one of batons, drums, bright red and gold band costumes, tubas, and all that brass.