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Beethoven's Wig - Beethoven's Wig 4: Dance Along Symphonies

Beethoven's Wig 4:
Dance Along Symphonies

Beethoven's Wig

Rounder Records - 11661 8127 2

Available from Rounder Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Rounder appears to be embarked on a large anthologization project on many fronts. This is one of several such discs, purported to be for kids though it's equally entertaining for adults…and I'm not sure how many kids they expect to be dancing a ballet, minuet, habanera, and the many other exotic styles gathered here. In fact, I'm dubious many adults would know more than two or three at most. Still, the point is the music, not the marketing, eh?

Dance Along bases itself in classical recordings licensed from the Naxos and Altissimo labels, over which Richard Perlmutter and several others sing, with sessioneers plying instruments atop the orchestras. No credits are given for the lyrics but they're clever. One must, however, suspect someone in the family of Perlmutters wrote 'em, as this whole thing is a Perlmutter enterprise: Richard singing and producing, Sammy (amateurly) cartooning, Judy advising.

Some of the dubs are a bit clumsy, staged too far forward in the sonic field but that's a small matter, as humorous enterprises are always welcome, and the lion's share of this disc is well executed. Listening to it, I'm reminded first, of course, of PDQ Bach and Dr. Demento, but also The Capitol Steps and other historied musical comedians. My favorite cut is the "bonus track" (anyone falling for that bonus nonsense any more?) is Beep Beep Beep, the Moonlight Sonata homaged en comedia, its basso human beeper hilarious.

Along the way, you'll hear Tchaikovsky, Joplin, Beethoven and the usual suspects as well as the not-so-known (Fucik and etc.). The first half of the disc is a short 22 minutes, composed of the lyrical send-ups, so the second half re-presents just the backing tracks, the symphonies themselves, very good renditions indeed, well chosen, filling up the rest of the CD's 44 minutes. In all, a quite pleasant affair.

Track List:

  • Forever We're Marching ("The Washington Post", Sousa)
  • Oh No! ("Maple Leaf Rag", Joplin)
  • A Masterpiece ("Rondeau" from "Suite of Symphonies", Mouret)
  • Midnight Snack ("Habanera" from "Carmen", Bizet)
  • Give Me a 10 ("Les Patineurs", Waldteufel)
  • Blow Blow Blow ("Neapolitan Dance" from "Swan Lake", Tchaikovsky)
  • I Want My Diploma ("Pomp and Circumstance March No.1", Elgar)
  • Joyful Waldteufel ("Estudianta", Waldteufel)
  • Minuet Duet ("Minuet in G" from "Notebook of Anna Magdalena Bach", J.S. Bach)
  • Rover Roll Over ("Annen Polka", Strauss)
  • Please Mr. Ringmaster ("Entry of the Gladiators", Fucik)
  • Bonus cut: Beep Beep Beep ("Moonlight Sonata", Beethoven)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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