In this delightful collection, I Salonisti has gathered together a variety of pieces from the White Star Line Songbook, a compilation of overtures, waltzes, marches and even sacred music used for the shipping company's "Olympic Class Liners," the most famous being the ill-fated Titanic. Not simply a document of the music played on the Titanic (as well as the company's other two ships of the day, the Olympic and the Britannic), AND THE BAND PLAYED ON also has historical value in that it serves as an excellent sampling of what was considered pop music of the time in addition to offering a selection of arrangements from Schubert, Dvorák and Tchaikovsky.
But there are no "heavy classics" or "serious" concert selections here. The revelers on the Titanic were out for a good time on the ship's maiden voyage and the musicians provided upbeat fare--even during the fateful sinking which claimed the lives of 1500 people. The musicians on the ship (who were listed as second-class passengers on the Titanic's logbook) worked hard by beginning their set at lunchtime and playing late into the evening. The arrangements provided here for two violins, cello, doublebass and piano include the ever-popular rag of the day, Scott Joplin's "Elite Syncopations," and the famous Intermezzo from Mascagni's opera, 'Cavalleria Rusticana.' I Salonisti has also provided a few arrangements of its own, the standout of their six contributions being "Ständchen" from Schubert's song cycle, "Schwanengesang." Fittingly, the CD closes on the tune, "Nearer, my God, to Thee."