One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance



We are currently offering in excess of 51,800 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
[AmazonUK has overpricing error]

Edward Elzear ‘Zez’ CONFREY (1895-1971) Piano Music
Mordecai Shehori (piano)
rec. November 2009, Las Vegas
CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD147 [76:51]

Experience Classicsonline

Kitten on the Keys [3:20]                      
Meandering  [3:14]                                
Dizzy Fingers [2:09]                               
Spring Song (After Mendelssohn) [2:11]           
Mouse’s Hooves [2:56]                         
Lullaby from Mars  [3:06]                     
Anticipation [3:36]                                
Tune for Mademoiselle [3:39]              
Tap Dance of the Chimes [2:34]            
My Pet [3:25]                            
Mighty Lackawanna [2:32]                   
Sparkling Water (Valse Brillante) [1:28]
Greenwich Witch [2:47]            
Grandfather’s Clock [3:08]                   
Coaxing the Piano [2:56]           
Movie Ballet [4:02]                                
Charleston Chuckles [2:02]                    
Wistfulness [3:06]                                 
Nickel in the Slot [3:00]                        
You Tell ‘Em, Ivories [2:56]                  
Humorestless (After Dvorák) [2:36]     
Rag Doll Dimples [2:36]           
Valse Mirage [2:38]                               
Blumenlied (Flower Song after Lange) [1:41]   
Rhythm Venture [2:13]                         
Champagne [2:18]                                  
Stumbling [2:24]                       
Parade of the Jumping Beans [2:02]

Peru, Illinois, isn’t an especially big place – population under 10,000 at the 2000 census - but it has given birth to at least two very different, but highly influential musicians. One was the pioneering violinist Maud Powell, who was a Victor recording stalwart and a proselytiser of unflinching passion. The other was Edward Elzear ‘Zez’ Confrey, born around thirty years after Powell, and whom, for the rest of this review, we shall refer to as Zez Confrey.
Confrey was prolific, and known best as a ‘novelty’ composer and performer (he left behind piano roll recordings and lateral discs) who utilised the Ragtime craze to his considerable advantage. If he’s known for anything in particular it’s Kitten on the Keys but he did perform at the premiere of Rhapsody in Blue in February 1924, where he shared the billing with Paul Whiteman and Gershwin – the actual notice was ‘assisted by Zez Confrey and George Gershwin’.
Yet as this selection demonstrates - and at least ten are apparently first ever recordings - Confrey’s range of influences ranged wider than his reputation might suggest. One of the great virtues of Mordecai Shehori’s disc is to expand our appreciation of these particular lineages, and to allow us to explore more fully the range of Confrey’s own stylistic ambitions.
Kitten on the Keys was part of a sweeping genre that stirred composers as widely divergent as Jaroslav Ježek in Czechoslovakia and Billy Mayerl in Britain, two prominent exponents of the Confrey-influenced muse. But we can also listen to the wistful Meandering, and the ‘Mendelssohn Ragtimed’ Spring Song. Mouse’s Hooves  packs quite a punch in terms of narrative goings-on – from light-hearted to portentous, whereas Anticipation embodies a statelier salon ethos. There is also the rather charming Tune for Mademoiselle, which goes to show that Confrey could write romantically and add some coquettish little flourishes into the bargain. Impressionist hues haunt Tap Dance of the Chimes.
Dizzy Fingers sounds rather like a Tiger Rag paraphrase to me, which wouldn’t be altogether surprising since Confrey inhabited a milieu that would have known the song at first hand. Mighty Lackawanna is dreamy and reflective, to offset the more rumbustious vitality of his writing elsewhere, and Sparkling Water (Valse Brillante) is Chopinesque. Grandfather’s Clock is not the expected song of the same name – but Confrey’s certainly does chime. The to-ing and fro-ing of Coaxing the Piano must have made an impression on Mayerl and many a Rhythm Master, whilst Fauré and Ragtime stalk Wistfulness, though not quite as incongruously as that may sound. The mechanical winding down of Nickel in the Slot was part of a sub-genre that hasn’t lost its appeal, nor too the part-salonised Joplin of You Tell ‘Em, Ivories. The naughty segueing into Swannee River lifts the classical skit of Humorestless (After Dvorák) whilst Valse Mirage opens in grandiloquent quasi-organ fashion. Rhythm Venture reminds one of Gershwin – or maybe Gershwin in this mood reminds one of Confrey? – but surely Ježek must have known Parade of the Jumping Beans, which reminds one of the Czech wit’s drunkenly lurching Three Policeman Step.
With sensitive and authoritative performances Shehori steers us between the eddies of Confrey’s compositions. Brio and charm predominate, and rightly so, but deeper feelings are also on show.
Jonathan Woolf

























Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.