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Billy Goldenberg & Jean​-​Jacques Perrey - Dandelion Wine

from Jean​-​Jacques Perrey et son Ondioline by Jean-Jacques Perrey

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Billy Goldenberg is an Emmy Award-winning composer best known for his work for television and film, notably the themes from Columbo and Kojak, and scores for Stephen Spielberg’s telefilms Duel and Night Gallery. He has also written songs that have been recorded by Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, and Diana Ross among others. But in 1967 he was still a young aspiring composer, relatively unknown and writing for the stage.

That year Goldenberg collaborated with lyricist Larry Alexander to musically adapt Ray Bradbury’s novel of nostalgic reverie Dandelion Wine. Alexander had stumbled on the book in a Grand Central Station paperback store and the pair travelled to the west coast to play Bradbury six demonstration songs they had composed. Bradbury was enthused and helped to develop the show.

Goldenberg recounts that he was looking for an instrument with an “otherwordly feel” to bring colour to a small ensemble of musicians, and he found it through Carroll Musical Instrument Service where his father Morris, a famous percussionist and a friend of Carroll Bratman’s, had heard Perrey’s recording experiments with the Ondioline.

This first musical version of Dandelion Wine was performed just a handful of times in April 1967 as part of the Lincoln Center Workshop in New York. Other adaptations of the novel with new lyrics and score have been performed since but, while some moves have been made to revive it, the original piece remains sadly forgotten.

In Goldenberg’s original music, Perrey’s Ondioline was called on to provide an assortment of orchestral sounds - violin, piccolo flute and a honking bassoon - as well as a wide array of effects, including the chirps of crickets, electronic sparks from a “Happiness Machine” and the cushioned squelch of “Para-Litefoot tennis sneakers”.

In something only slightly longer than a minute, Goldenberg’s theme from Dandelion Wine modulates around an exquisite nostalgic melody. Perrey’s aching Ondioline delivery of it is a reminder that even after extending his own composing/arranging abilities and pioneering tape-edit production techniques on his best-known work for Vanguard Records, he was deeply sensitive to bringing out the emotional resonance of other composers’ work with his signature instrument.

The instrumental theme from Dandelion Wine presented here was transcribed and restored from Perrey’s personal copy of a privately pressed rehearsal recording. It is released here for the first time.


from Jean​-​Jacques Perrey et son Ondioline, track released April 1, 1967
Billy Goldenberg - composer, piano
Jean-Jacques Perrey - Ondioline


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Jean-Jacques Perrey Switzerland

Jean-Jacques Perrey (1929-2016) was an alternative pop visionary, pioneer of rhythmic tape-edit sampling techniques, and virtuoso of the rare French electronic musical instrument, the Ondioline.

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