Franz Reizenstein: Variations on 'The Lambeth Walk' for Solo Piano
Reizenstein was a skilled arranger, in his Lambeth Walk Variations, based on the popular song from Noel Gay's 1937 musical, ‘Me and My Girl’, which assigns a different composer to each variation, he does not merely write in the style of the featured masters, but cunningly recomposes one or two of their pieces – Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2, ‘La Donna e Mobile’ from Act Three of Verdi’s Rigoletto, Wagner’s Prelude and Overture to Die Meistersinger, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2, etc. - by morphing them into the ‘Lambeth Walk’ theme. As with all first-rate examples of comedy, the humourist (and executant) must be on absolutely top form for the joke to succeed. Dating from the late 1950s, the Variations were premiered by the composer at the Royal Albert Hall on 17 July 1958 at a concert presented by Anthony Hopkins and Fritz Spiegel.