Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bent Fabric -- "Alley Cat" (1962)

Bent Fabricius-Bjerre -- who became known internationally as Bent Fabric -- was a Danish pianist and composer whose 1961 instrumental, "Omkring et Flygel" ("Around a Piano"), became a big hit in Denmark.

The following year, the record was released internationally under the name "Alley Cat."  It was a #1 hit in Australia and reached the top ten in the United States, where it won the Grammy for best instrumental.

I still have the sheet music for "Alley Cat," which I learned to play when I was 12 or so.  It was a particular favorite of my mother's. 

"Alley Cat" has a simple structure.  It begins with an eight-measure primary theme, which is repeated.  Then comes an eight-measure secondary theme.  The primary theme then returns, followed by an eight-measure variation on that theme (which is also repeated).  The secondary theme comes back for an encore performance, followed by one final iteration of the primary theme.  The piece closes with a four-measure coda.

All that is a little abstract, so here's a short video:

Fabricius-Bjerre, who was born in 1924, began to perform and compose shortly after the end of World War II, and he continued to write music into his eighties.  The title track of his album Jukebox made it to #7 on USA Dance/Club Play charts in 2006 -- 44 years after "Alley Cat" was a hit.

According to Wikipedia, "Alley Cat" is the most common music played by ice cream trucks in Mexico. 

Here's "Alley Cat":

Click below to buy "Alley Cat" from Amazon:

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