Donald Lambert: Anitra's Dance


Anitra's Dance


Donald Lambert (piano)


Recorded 1959-1961 (Storyville)

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Donald Lambert (piano).

Composed by Edvard Grieg. Arranged by Donald Lambert


Recorded: Warren, New Jersey, 1960


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

I believe this performance is technically impossible. I have heard (and now seen: YouTube! ) it many times but still refuse to accept it!

Lambert's left hand on up-tempo showpieces like "Anitra's Dance" makes me think of an old-time movie projector, flickering from still image to still image but nevertheless creating the impression of smooth motion.

Donald Lambert tombstone

Edvard Grieg's "Anitra's Dance" is a light classical staple always included in various "Best-loved Classics" anthologies found hidden away in most old piano benches. "Ragging the classics" was standard procedure for this era of pianists; Lambert's "Anitra's Dance" is surely the summit of this practice. There is a studio recording from the 1940s which is also amazing (and basically the same arrangement), but I chose this version since it seems to have more limitless fire.

Unfortunately, having a real gig like the one at the Newport Jazz Festival documented on YouTube was a rare triumph in the Lambert saga. At this point, Lambert was mostly an alcoholic barroom pianist forgotten in New Jersey with just a couple years to live. Instead of a conventional epitaph, Lambert's grave in Princeton has the musical phrase "In some secluded rendezvous" (from "Cocktails for Two") carved in granite.

Reviewer: Ethan Iverson

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  • 1 pianistLover // Apr 02, 2009 at 01:01 PM
    It is so great to hear somebody speaking about a forgotten genious... Genious are always put in a lower stack, difficult to find thing about him, the few albums in which he worked are no more edited... I totally agree with you, donald lambert has IMPOSSIBLE execution speed and serious auto-derision about this instrument... it is so funny