Alpher & Litt | Two Apples

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Easy Listening: Cabaret Easy Listening: Tin Pan Alley Moods: Mood: Quirky
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Two Apples

by Alpher & Litt

Neo-American Songbook tunes for gym addicts, disaffected progressives, stargazers, dog-lovers, urban families, satire connoisseurs, and grownups with exquisite taste. Dazzling rhymes, moody sax, a tight piano trio, and some pretty terrific belting.
Genre: Easy Listening: Cabaret
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Hot
2:36 $0.99
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2. The Cosmic Perspective
3:52 $0.99
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3. I Want to Be a TV Chef
4:02 $0.99
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4. Two Apples
5:26 $0.99
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5. How I Learned to Ride My Bike
4:34 $0.99
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6. Thong Song
2:18 $0.99
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7. We've All Got to Live in This World . . .
5:10 $0.99
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8. Going Nowhere Fast
4:42 $0.99
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9. Hello in There
2:26 $0.99
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10. Christmas in the Doghouse
4:15 $0.99
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11. A Brooklyn Lullaby
3:07 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Lyricist Jennie Litt traces her influences back to the great satirists of the 1960s, Tom Lehrer and Allan Sherman; cabaret giants Bertolt Brecht, Jacques Brel, Noël Coward, Flanders & Swann, and Dave Frishberg; their contemporary descendants Goldrich & Heisler and Francesca Blumenthal; and pillars of the American musical theater, Lorenz Hart, Cole Porter, and Stephen Sondheim.
Composer David Alpher, who divides his musical life between classical and contemporary chamber music, art song, and cabaret, draws on his rich musical background in these songs, with a particular emphasis on jazz/blues, melody-driven ballads, and lushly imagined pastiche. He is particularly inspired in his cabaret writing by Leonard Bernstein, Vernon Duke, Bill Evans, George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, and the teachings of Lehman Engel.
Working in a variety of genres — children's music, comic novelty, jazz/blues, neo-Tin Pan Alley, pop, protest, and satire — Litt and Alpher have amassed an eclectic oeuvre of tightly-crafted, piano-driven, stand-alone cabaret songs that tickle the funnybone, tell truths, and touch the heart.
This collection of eleven originals from the Alpher/Litt songbook ranges from the urban-tinged sweetness of A Brooklyn Lullaby to Going Nowhere Fast, an Existential treatise set to a techno beat, to the cabaret favorite I Want To Be A TV Chef. The CD's flagship track, The Cosmic Perspective, explores the random miracle of existence through an exquisite confluence of melody, poetry, and recording craft. Thong Song is a mischievous little chanson, and Hot is a jazz catalogue of what to expect when everything's swinging your way. The title track, Two Apples, composed during their time in upstate New York's apple country, has a folk flavor, and Christmas In The Doghouse is their contribution to the great American genre of popular Christmas songs--from a dog's eye-view. Hello In There and How I Learned To Ride My Bike reflect their experience as parents. They wrote Hello In There during Litt's pregnancy to a tune Alpher had composed way back in 1974, which had waited 34 years for the perfect lyric. How I Learned To Ride My Bike captures the richly textured polyglot culture of Brooklyn, where they are raising their elementary-aged daughter.
Recorded in Brooklyn in collaboration with producer Nathan Rosenberg, Two Apples features Litt's vocals and Alpher's piano. Cabaret stalwart (and witty songwriter!) Ritt Henn plays bass, Ed Ornowski plays drums, and Tom Glusac plays sax.
REVIEW
Filled with imagination, non sequturs and joie de vivre, this lively album is uplifting in its originality and intelligent word and music play. The titles alone say the most about the fun husband and wife David Alpher (composer and pianist) and Jennie Litt (lyricist and singer) are having writing and performing their own interesting songs—“Hot,” “I Want to Be a TV Chef,” “Christmas in the Doghouse” and “Thong Song.” Such ditties are clever, witty and timely. Whether they are appealing to everyone is a matter of taste. The duo work well together and it shows. Their songs, like their voices, don’t always compel or jump out at you. Yet, the same may be said of the prolific Dave Frishberg, who seems to be an influence. And, that’s not a bad thing. But it can make it harder to reach a wider audience. Alpher & Litt are committed to their work and obviously have an admirable intellect and flair for fun. This is particularly expressed in their ever-amusing cut, “Two Apples.” It’s a unique metaphor on the good, the bad and the ugly in life told through the earthy, sophisticated and whimsically perceptive tale of two apples (Rosie and Blanche) from the same tree. One is carefully plucked by a respected, selective chef to do great things and is served to an elite client. The other falls to the ground, becoming a pile of mush in a garbage bin and devoured with delight by a wily old rat. This complex use of extended wordplay is masterful on many levels. The poignant moral is subtle amid all the biting innuendos about the fate of the two apples: “... who’s to say what things are great things?/Are they only things that fate brings? “Going Nowhere Fast,” about an obsessed gym guy, begins as a mix of frenetic funny stuff and leads to a trenchant end: “...love each moment of the journey”; and “Hello in There” becomes a moving lullaby with a gentle message to a baby.
It’s eclectic material. And this duo make it work with urbane wit and heartfelt, life-affirming essence, using their soft style that never loses the message. It’s the expressive words and unobtrusive music that permeate this sometimes quirky, sometimes indulgent, sometimes brilliant compilation of story songs from a talented writing team. Cabaret singers looking for new, unusual material should check out Alpher & Litt.
John Hoglund
Cabaret Scenes
June 10, 2014
www.cabaretscenes.org

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