Hot Canary for Orchestra (either String or Full)?

Edited: July 18, 2021, 4:10 PM · I am a high school orchestra director and was wondering if anyone knows of a good arrangement of the accompaniment for The Hot Canary for string or full orchestra; I might have both options.

Replies (7)

July 18, 2021, 5:52 PM · I think you will likely need to make your own arrangement from the piano part. There may be copyright issues but that is not my area of expertise.
July 18, 2021, 11:35 PM · Paul Nero came up with the melody and Florian ZaBach popularized it. In addition to playing, ZaBach arranged extensively, including for The Hot Canary. After he died, over 90 boxes of his music, including his arrangements for his TV show, went to the National Archives in Washington, DC. You might try there.

It looks like Hal Leonard might have the rights now.

July 19, 2021, 12:40 AM · Rich - The "melody" is by Ferdinand Poliakin.
The original sheet music can be found here:,_Ferdinand)
July 19, 2021, 8:57 AM · There is at least one orchestral arrangement of it as seen here. I knew about this because my son has worked with Danielle Belen; however, I don't know how to contact the arranger, whose name is listed as Bob Bockholt.

As a side note, your student musicians are super lucky if you figure out a way to make this work! My son would love to play this with his HS orchestra!!

July 20, 2021, 12:48 PM · Yeah Mattias, I performed the original "Canary Polka" during my teens, tutelage by the teacher I had had before (one K.W.Rokos), rather than by my teacher at the time. Probably unaccompanied. It weren't that 'ot in my 'ands!
July 20, 2021, 10:01 PM · I never played the original version of the melody, although I did find out about it after listening to the Hot Canary for years. I think I was listening to a recording and was shocked when the piece came on. I recognized it immediately.

I always wondered if ZaBach knew and chose not to worry about it. He researched music so extensively and had such a vast knowledge of violin repertoire. When he arranged his selections for his TV show, he made a point of acknowledging the sources in his introductions.

July 21, 2021, 10:26 AM · The Hot Canary was produced in 1951. The original Canary Polka was published in 1885, only 66 years previously. Under today's laws, that would be breach of copyright, but I don't know what the legal situation in the USA was in 1951. The number of years between the death of Borodin and the first production of Kismet is also 66.
I'm sure ZaBach knew exactly what he was doing - It's not just the main melody, but at least two of the episodes of the Polka that are jazzed up in Hot Canary.

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