recess radio program

05/19/06
Beethoven's Wig
    by John Cech

Brief Sound Clip:

That's part of Haydn's "Surprise Symphony" set to words on a CD called Beethoven's Wig," which features such other favorites as Bach's "Bouree" for guitar, Delibes' "Pizzicato from Sylvia," and a most astonishing version of Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" that begins:

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These wiggy versions of the classics remind one of Peter Schickele's P.D.Q. Bach, and of Gilbert and Sullivan's operatic patter songs. But, in the end, some would argue, it's a very clever and fun way to introduce children to the all-too-human dimensions of classical music. Something we often forget in our somber reverence for it. That is, that it was the popular music of its day. But if you're a purist, as I tend to be, Beethoven's Wig also includes orchestral performances, without words, of all of the pieces on the recording -- just in case you'd like your youngsters to hear the originals, without tongue-in-cheek pyrotechnics like these:

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Copyright 2006 John Cech

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"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."