Jazz Music

Paul Whiteman, Henry Busse "WHEN DAY IS DONE" (1927)

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Paul Whiteman and His Concert Orchestra
Henry Busse, cornet
Music: Robert Katscher
Lyrics: Buddy De Sylva
Recorded June 8, 1927

--Notes by James T Maher---

"Everywhere we went there were guys with songs they wanted us to play," Paul Whiteman later remembered. He was referring specifically to his European tour in 1926. In Vienna he listened to Robert Katscher, whose music for "The Wonder Bar" was heard on Broadway in 1931, play some of his compositions. "The one I really liked was 'Madonna,'" Whiteman says. "It was a big European hit that year. I said we'd play it in our Berlin concert at the Grosses Schauspielhaus. Then, we laid off because of a strike and I forgot all about it until Henry Busse said, 'Don't forget; you promised Katscher.' But I just couldn't fit it on the program. At the intermission, Katscher came to see me. So we made a place for 'Madonna' ['Madonna, du bist schöner als der Sonnenschein'] in the second part of the program. I think we played from a vocal accompaniment Katscher had made. I remember that Busse played his cornet solo just about the way he did on the record. We got a tremendous ovation."

Whiteman suggested to Buddy DeSylva that he write English lyrics for the song. Thus "When Day is Done." Katscher later lived in the United States. When he died, Whiteman and his concert strings played the lovely melody at his funeral, a tribute Whiteman also paid later to DeSylva. When the recording was released it caused a sensation. Busse's muted cornet became one of the most talked-about performances of the 1920's, ranking with his classic "Hot Lips" (1922).

The pizzicato string bass accompaniment behind Busse is still a wonder to hear for its great beat (in astonishing contrast to what has preceded it), the charm of its counter melodyfiguration, and for the remarkable beauty of its perfect intonation and resonant sound.

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