John Davis | Halley's Comet: Around the Piano with Mark Twain & John Davis

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Classical: Piano solo Spoken Word: With Music Moods: Solo Instrumental
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Halley's Comet: Around the Piano with Mark Twain & John Davis

by John Davis

On this landmark CD, released in honor of the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain's death, John Davis celebrates Twain's lifelong connection to the piano, African American music, and classical music.
Genre: Classical: Piano solo
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Mark Twain Quotation: On Twain's Disdain for Pianists and the Piano
0:22 $0.99
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2. Mark Twain Mazurka
3:26 $0.99
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3. Mark Twain Quotation: On Louis Moreau Gottschalk and the Banjo
1:18 $0.99
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4. The Banjo: Grotesque Fantasie
4:33 $0.99
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5. Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch Quotation: On Twain's Love for Singing and Playing the Piano
1:17 $0.99
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6. Petite Serenade, Op. 1, No. 1
2:59 $0.99
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7. Mark Twain Quotation: On the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Negro Spirituals, and Minstrel Tunes
1:08 $0.99
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8. Nearer My God to Thee
4:11 $0.99
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9. Mark Twain Quotation: On Classical Music and the Higher Arts
1:03 $0.99
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10. Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13 "Pathetique": I. Grave - Allegro molto e con brio
9:17 $0.99
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11. Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13 "Pathetique": II. Adagio cantabile
5:17 $0.99
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12. Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13 "Pathetique": III. Rondo. Allegro
5:16 $0.99
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13. Henry Holt Quotation: On Twain's Obsession with Blind Tom
0:35 $0.99
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14. The Rain Storm
4:31 $0.99
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15. Mark Twain Quotation: On Blind Tom, Pt. 1
3:19 $0.99
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16. Cyclone Galop
6:11 $0.99
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17. Mark Twain Quotation: On Blind Tom, Pt. 2
5:22 $0.99
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18. Battle of Manassas, Followed by Mark Twain Quotation: On Blind Tom, Pt. 3
8:13 $0.99
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19. Impromptu in A-Flat Major, Op. 142, No. 2
7:09 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
In a multi-faceted career as pianist, recording artist, writer, archivist, and curator John Davis continues to define, excavate, and disseminate a previously-unacknowledged American roots music. To date, Davis is most associated with three seminal CDs on the Newport Classic label. "John Davis Plays Blind Tom," featuring piano works of the Georgia slave pianist, Thomas Wiggins, became a top-ten seller in Classical Music at Tower Records and Amazon.com, and, in the opinion of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “singlehandedly revived the lost legacy of Wiggins.” "Marshfield Tornado: John Davis Plays Blind Boone," highlighting music of John William Boone, a sightless black pianist from Missouri who modeled his career on Blind Tom’s, has been a repeat #1 record on the Ragtime chart at Amazon.com, and was praised by Gramophone, the esteemed British music publication, for “turning the prehistory of jazz and blues into the living history of one remarkable man.” “In John Davis’ hands,” reported Living Blues, the world’s premier blues magazine, Boone’s piano works become “more than artifacts—they live, with an immediacy that cannot be denied.” And on "Halley’s Comet: Around the Piano with Mark Twain & John Davis," the Twain-related compositions, “played powerfully and with a rich palette,” according to The New York Times, are a tribute to the wide-ranging musical interests of an author whose career, like Davis’, lies at the intersection of black and white culture in American society.

Davis’ performances at Carnegie Hall (NYC), Strathmore (MD), Alice Tully Hall (NYC), The Gilmore Keyboard Festival (MI), Wigmore Hall (London), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), The Great Hall at the Moscow Conservatory (Russia), Joe’s Pub (NYC), The Narrows Center for the Arts (MA), Le Poisson Rouge (NYC), The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA), The Symphony Space (NYC), The National Centre for the Performing Arts (India), and other important classical, jazz, and roots music venues and festivals across the United States, marked the listening public’s first exposure to countless piano works not heard since the lifetime of their composers who, both white and black, had been missing links on the continuum of American music. Davis appeared in 2016 on the Lead Belly Fest at Carnegie Hall, during which he shared the main stage with some of the living legends of American roots music, rhythm & blues, and rock ‘n roll, including Buddy Guy, Eric Burdon, Edgar Winter, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dom Flemons, Josh White, Jr., and Tom Chapin. A month later, he gave a solo recital at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on an 1882 Steinway that was the centerpiece of The Met’s exhibition, “Artistic Furniture of the Gilded Age.” In 2018, Davis paid musical tribute to the 19th- and early-20th century African American opera singer, Black Patti, on a concert that was part of the three-day celebration, "America’s First Black Diva: Sissieretta Jones at 150," later highlighted in an “Overlooked No More” obituary for Jones in The New York Times.

At the core of Davis’ grassroots pursuit of forgotten black culture is the pianist’s personal collection of rare 19th-and early 20th century printed African Americana. This archive of rare books, sheet music, and ephemera, widely respected antiquarian world, has been the source for many of the ideas and materials that have filtered into Davis’ recordings; his literary contributions to "African American Lives," the "African American National Biography," and "Stress and Coping in Autism," all published by Oxford University Press; his theatrical concert about Blind Tom entitled "Will the Real Thomas Wiggins Please Stand Up!;" his Chitlin’ Circuit-inspired nightclub show that he calls "The John Davis Caravan: Standing At the Crossroads;" and his concert version of "Halley’s Comet: Around the Piano with Mark Twain & John Davis." In 2017, Davis’ archive became the basis for "Bamboula! Black Music Before the Blues," an exhibition of 19th-century printed musical African Americana he conceived and curated at Brown University’s esteemed John Hay Library.

Mr. Davis’ cutting-edge career has been featured on CNN; CNN-International; ABC Radio National (Australia); the BBC World News; NPR’s All Things Considered, Performance Today, Here & Now, and On Point; PBS’ Life 360; The Today Show on NBC, ABC’s Good Morning America; and in a program-long interview of him on ABC’s Nightline Up-Close. Among the many print publications in which he has been profiled are The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, The Oxford American, The Independent (London), and Scientific American.

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