Posts Tagged ‘genre mashing’

Dvorak vs Twerking

I can’t tell if they’re serious. I think they might be. I think they really might believe that the only thing that keeps classical music from overtaking Miley Cyrus in the hearts and minds (and other body parts) of today’s listeners is the twerking. If it works for Miley, surely it can work for Antonín. In their 7 minute documentary about the making of this monstrosity, they actually seem to be trying to turn a three minute excerpt of Dvorak’s New World Symphony into an internet sensation by packaging it along with a video of wiggling butts.

Or maybe this is just a ridiculous publicity stunt to drive attention towards the Belgian B-classic festival.

But either way, I hope this never happens again. Ever.

Warning: Not Safe For Anywhere


Edit: It had 500,000 views yesterday and just doubled that number of views in the past 24 hours. Presented without comment.

Edit2: 2 million and counting. Maybe we should just take some porn and dub some Debussy over the whole thing. Voila. We’ve saved classical music.


Apr 2014

Channeling my inner Merman

In the great canon of musical theater and opera roles, there are a few numbers that every actor/actress aspires to perform. Show stopping, scenery chewing, career making moments that put all of your talents on display for the world to see. The finale of Cabaret, Ya Got Trouble from the Music Man, and my personal aspiration, Sweeney Todd’s Epiphany.

This Saturday night, I’m going to be performing the big one.  The great grand daddy of all musical theater show stoppers.

I’m performing Rose’s Turn.

That’s right. Me. In Ethel Merman’s shoes. Belting away, strutting my stuff in that triumphant nervous breakdown of the hopelessly abandoned, desperate, and deluded.

But this isn’t a production of Gypsy.  Oh no. Not at all. What we have here is a genre mash-up of Gypsy and the Exodus. Called, (of course) “Everything’s Coming Up Moses.” That’s right. Moses.  And I’m playing Moses. And it’s pretty damn inspired. It originated from the pen of New York author and playwright Rachel Shukert and had it’s first reading last Passover in NY. It went over well so they’re bringing it out to San Francisco this Saturday as part of the Dawn Festival. It’s a staged reading, so the whole affair will be pretty loose, but still. I can’t wait to sing this music. It’s a welcome relief from rehearsals for an opera about a miserable New England teenaged girl who gets raped before intermission. (And the second act is even sadder.)

So, come on out to the California Academy of Science this Saturday night. The tickets are advance purchase only. Hope to see you there…

Oh…and here’s Bernadette Peters doing Rose’s Turn at the Tony Awards in 2003. (fast forward to 0:51 to skip the intro talking)


May 2010

Radiohead + Bluegrass = Crazy Delicious

Time for another transformative cover.  This time the source material is Radiohead’s Morning Bell  This track isn’t exactly uncoverable.  There’s plenty of harmonic and melodic material in there with room for an artist to interject their own sensibilities.

And now here’s a cover by bluegrass super group, The Punch Brothers.   That’s right, bluegrass.  Chris Thiele is the driving force behind the band and is on the short list of my favorite musicians alive.  Back in 2007 I won tickets to see Nickel Creek in a 100 seat theater and it remains one of the top 5 musical experiences of my life. He recently composed a mandolin concerto (co-commissioned by my alma mater Interlochen Center for the Arts) and I swear I just read this now, but apparently he’s working on a collaboration with Hillary Hahn.  (Not that surprising since they have the same publicist, blogger Amanda Ameer.)

I LOVE this cover. Behind the virtuosic solos and Thiele’s perfectly attuned singing, there’s this percolating murmur of plucked and strummed strings. The harmonic rhythm is pretty static.  Chords don’t change very often, and when they do, it’s sudden and almost completely unprepared.  In the context of prerecorded electronica, that’s not such a big deal, but in a live “jam band” situation it’s exhilarating.  These are some serious musicians.

If you happen to be in San Francisco tonight, The Punch Brothers are playing the Herbst Theater as part of the SF Jazz Festival.  It’s going to be a great show.

Interestingly enough, Radiohead themselves released another version of Morning Bell on their Amnesiac album. They switched the meter from 5 to 4 and removed the drum track. In this version, the plodding duple meter lurches through a haze of reverb. It’s almost relentless.


Apr 2010