1965: "We have music for ironing, for dating, for babysitting, for fishing, for reading, for changing a tire, for skydiving--but what about music for pouring steel??"--Common complaint from the steel casting industry. So, it would seem that in 1965 Rotolok, by way of RITE Record Productions, decided to shape its own answer to this burning need with this LP of stylish cocktail-jazz piano medleys by Richard Nussbaumer, for which this LP is his sole Discogs credit. Richard was a Catholic church organist--in 1975, the associate organist at the Oakland PA St. Paul Cathedral. This much I have able to discover through a Google search. Oakland is three miles from Pittsburgh, where the Vesuvius Crucible Company (Rotolok) originated. Coincidence?
I'm not sure why the Vesuvius Crucible Company went by the name Rotolok, but I've no desire to investigate further--I just know that the back jacket says, "© 1965 Vesuvius Crucible Company." So, I guess VCC approached Mr. Nussbaumer in 1965 and said, "We need music for pouring steel. We're thinking a Continental Interlude, 'Love' and 'Young' medleys, a Manhattan Suite, some popular concert favorites, including Warsaw Concerto, and so on." "This is for pouring steel?"--Richard. "Why not?"--VCC. "Well, we could use the piano arrangement of Ferde Grofe's Symphony in Steel"--Nussbaumer. "No, too obscure. And I didn't know Grofe wrote anything beyond the Grand Canyon. Anyway, we want to stick to familiar pop and Classical stuff. The kind of music people would associate with the casting of steel."--VCC. "They would? Ohhh-kay."--Richard.
And, true story: For this post, instead of looking at the back cover for the year (duhh), I figured out the date of issue through the RITE matrix number inscribed in the dead wax. Only afterwards did I notice the year as printed on the back jacket. Oops. I've only been collecting vinyl for better than 50 years.
My favorite "band" (old term for LP track) has to be the Manhattan Suite, and maybe because I love Louis Alter's Manhattan Serenade to death. And note that Chopin's Etude in E Flat is actually his Nocturne in E Flat Major Op. 9 No. 2. Maybe a nocturne for pouring steel was a bit too out there, even for VCC.
In sum, an intriguing (to say the least) jacket image (though, how could Richard have directed the molten steel AND tinkled song standards at the same time, especially with his left hand raised from the keyboard?), and standard background-music fare. A promise of something unusual--say, the sound of a grand piano combined with steelworks racket--but, instead, highly competent and pleasant stereo-den sounds, with no special effects. Hence, as a novelty item, the LP is a bit of a letdown. But, as superior "Music for..." sonancy, Nussbaumer and his grand piano are perfect casting. (Get it? Casting? Ha, ha!)
Come to think of it, we do have the outer limits of rubato in the gorgeous middle section of Debussy's Clair de Lune, a passage which is supposed to speed up, yes, but not in a way which suggests a horserace. In fact, Nussbaumer zips through the entire piece, which takes impressive technique, but... why? Maybe it was a case of, "We need a little over two minutes of extra sounds. Can you insert Clair de Lune?"--VCC. "I'd have to double the tempo."--Richard. "No problem. Oh, and can you please play the gorgeous opening thirds forte, instead of pianissimo? Thanks."
From the notes: "'Music for Pouring Steel'" is a selection of songs displayed against the most velvety of musical backgrounds...the magnificent sound of the world's finest piano, Mason & Hamlin, whose soaring, singing tone is the essence of unsurpassed beauty." How to better suggest the deafening clamor of a steel factory?
Oh, and Windows 10 dumped the handy Groove app (anything handy must be replaced by something which sucks--first rule of tech) and replaced it with "Media Player" (not to be confused with Windows Media Player). At the moment, I'm able to add the jacket image to the files, such that they show up on Windows Media Player but NOT on "Media Player." Which, you'll recall, is not the same program as WMP. Anyway, the album art should show up on the downloads. Should.
DOWNLOAD--Music for Pouring Steel--Richard Nussbaumer, Pianist, Rotolok 1464; 1965
Continental Interlude--Foggy Day in London Town, The River Seine, Wunderbar, Arrividerci Roma
"Love" Medley--I Wish You Love, When I Fall in Love, Love Is a Simple Thing
"Young" Medley--You Make Me Feel So Young, Young at Heart, When the World Was Young.
Manhattan Suite--Manhattan, Autumn in New York, Manhattan Serenade
Etude in E Flat (Chopin)
Clair de Lune
Themes From the Masters: Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff