Artis Wodehouse/Arndt Operatic Nightmare antique Steinway

Published on Aug 13, 2012

Pianist Artis Wodehouse plays Felix Arndt’s 1916 composition, Operatic Nightmare, aka Desecration No. 2, a Ragtime Classic on 8/3/12 at AC Pianocraft, Queens, NY. The piano is a fully restored 7’2″ 85-note 1881 Steinway Model C. Felix Arndt (1889-1918) was an important pre-1920s composer-arranger, particularly of piano rolls. He was responsible for creating approximately 1,000 commercial piano roll arrangements, and mentored the young George Gershwin in his early years when he, too was a piano roll artist. Operatic Nightmare is an amusing and inventive pastiche of 11 well-known tunes taken primarily from opera. These he placed above a virtuosic/piano roll style ragtime base. Arndt also made a piano roll arrangement of the composition, as well as an acoustic 78 recording. Felix Arndt unfortunately died during the 1918 influenza epidemic.

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Pianist and harmoniumist ARTIS WODEHOUSE has devoted her careeer to preserving and disseminating neglected but valuable music and instruments from the past, with an emphasis on American music. Cited by the NYTimes as “savior of the old and neglected”, she received a National Endowment grant that propelled her into production of CDs and published transcriptions of recorded performances and piano rolls made by George Gershwin, Jelly Roll Morton and Zez Confrey. Her best-seller, “Gershwin Plays Gershwin”, on the Nonesuch label has sold over 500,000 copies. Beginning in 2000, Wodehouse began performing on a representative group of antique reed organs and harmoniums, toy pianos and an 1823 English square piano and an 1860 Steinway square piano that she had painstakingly restored and brought to concert condition. She founded the chamber group MELODEON in 2010 to present little known but valuable music from 19th and early 20th Century America, using her antique instrument collection as the basis for repertoire choice. Wodehouse has a BM from the Manhattan School of Music, an MM from Yale, and a DMA from Stanford.
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