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Shep's Favorite Music
Ballet Mecanique

by George Antheil Carlos Surinach conducting

Modern American Music Series


Album Title: Modern American Music Series
Group: New York Percussion Group
Publisher: Colombia Masterworks
Date Released:
Album / Record#: ML4956
As Used by Shep
Original Recording
Shep used this piece quite often as an expression of 'horror' during one of the stories he would tell. In 1959 Shep did an eulogy to George Antheil on one of his shows
On Sunday, April 2, 2000 at 3 PM, Dennis Russel Davies and the American Composers Orchestra presented Paul Lehrman's realization of George Antheil's historic "Ballet Mecanique", in its original 1924 version, at Carnegie Hall. This piece calls for 8-16 player pianos, a 7-person percussion ensemble, two pianists, a siren, 7 electric bells, and 3 airplane propellers. It was never performable during Antheil's lifetime -- through the use of computers and MIDI, it is finally performable today. The publisher G. Schirmer commissioned Paul to do all the programming and sampling to make this piece performable, and the concert at Carnegie Hall is the result of that effort.
Additional Comments:
Follow up note from Paul Lehrman 11/6/2003 Our first production run of the Ballet mcanique CD sold out, but we have now done a second batch, and they're flying out the door (well, power walking, anyway). Best of all, you can now order CDs directly online from my Ballet mcanique Web site,, using secure credit card payment through those clever folks at Paypal. Get the CD that the Boston Globe called, "a party record for technophiles, but just about everyone else will have fun too!"...that CD Review called , "A hell of a racket, exciting and brutal at the same time!"..and which The Wire called "This awesome blast from the past"! It also includes groundbreaking pieces for percussion and electronics by John Cage & Lou Harrison, Richard Grayson, Amadeo Roldn, and that "delerious" (the Globe again) arrangement for 16 player pianos of the finale from Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony. Order the CD direct at The price is $16, plus $2 per order for first-class mailing. (US and Canada only -- overseas orders please inquire). Or you can get it through EMF media,,, or your favorite record store (if it's still in business). All best, Paul
Audio Links:
• Shep's 1959 eulogy to Antheil -
Links to Further Information:
• George Antheil Website