Thursday, October 4, 2007

In Crowd of the month: Karl Swoboda's Dancing Zither (1966)

One of several eclectic instrumental arrangements of this tune recorded back in the day.

Excerpted from the back cover liner notes:

"The ever changing concepts of modern living have given rise to new ideas in many areas of creative endeavor, including the artistic field of music making.

"The Zither, although a very ancient and revered instrument, has had to wait for a major talent, with a flair for popular music and a modern mind, to bring it out of its traditional use as an atmospheric background in European cafes, or a twangy accompaniment for old world 'folk' ballads.

"This talent has arrived! He is Viennese born (1937) Karl Swoboda.

"Karl, who now appears regularly on European Radio and TV, began zithering when only nine years old. He received his most valuable legitimate training from 1953 to 1956 at the Conservatory of Vienna. The door to fame was opened for him as a result of his winning an amateur contest which led directly to an American TV appearance on the Ted Mack Hour. When he returned home, his still continuing appearances began.

"His previous album for Philips, 'Pop Goes The Zither' is a hit on both continents, thereby making him an artist of international stature.

"Karl uses the delicate instrument more like a guitar, in that he has freed the zither from its usual traditional use in a chordal mode with his conception of a free flowing single note melodic line.

"The zither has many tone qualities which can remind one of the plano, harpsichord, harp or guitar. In the hands of Karl Swoboda it takes on a very warm and personal sound with a timbre on certain numbers not unlike that of the great Gypsy guitarist, Django Reinhardt."

Post-pop music endeavors, Karl Swoboda has made dozens of classical recordings in Europe, presumably playing the zither in a more traditional manner.

From the LP 'Dancing Zither' (Phillips Records, 1966),
listen to: Karl Swoboda - The "In" Crowd
(click for audio)

1 comment:

Johnny C said...

It's funny...I just transferred this album to MP3 last week. Your assessment of this album is spot on. It's got a fantastic cover too. I'm assuming you the great zither artist Ruth Welcome. Her zither takes me to another world...

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