Generally when people think of classical music (should that be Classical Music?) they do not immediately think of it as being funny in any way. Nope, it is a serious matter, to be listened to in an almost religious silence, and unless you happen to live in China, no applause between movements or at the end of solo passages… A serious matter is serious music!
Well, happily, this is not always the case. There have been no end of people who have taken the piss out of serious music in the most enjoyable fashion imaginable. And without in any way showing disrespect to the original piece of music in the case of pastiche performances of other people’s music, or in the case of people such as Hoffnung, the music that is written especially for his concerts, such as the Symphony for Orchestra and Vacuum Cleaner that was written for the first Interplanetary Festival.
Actually, most of the music that was played in those superb and anarchic concerts was rewritten classical stuff, such as the following two videos taken from that wonderful series of concerts.
In the first one, be patient…
or this wonderful bit of silliness.
It is well worth your while to get hold of the recordings of the entire concerts, as they are so wonderfully silly, but affectionate at the same time…
I am not quite sure what to make of this strange video, a Western Clown conducting an orchestra in Shanghai, and playing some Mozart on a bit of hose…. Not sure if it is funny, weird, or good…. But anyhow, here it is for your delectation…
Odd, at least….
And now we have a guy playing what sounds like some sort of Eastern European Folk music on three watering cans… And playing them well too. Sort of gently jazzy. Very reminiscent of the good old Duduk from Moravia I reckon. So, here we go, I hope it gives you pleasure..
Now back to variations on classical music, in this case Pachabel’s Cannon in D… perhaps one of the most hackneyed bits of music in the repertoire, but here taken to heights (or lows) never before attained by real musicians… And then given a number of different treatments…
So stand by for a group called Pagagnini from Spain as they murder that well loved piece…
Now we move on to Bobby McFerrin and a superb group of musicians having fun with Mozarts Eine Kleine Nacht Musik. What can I say about this? Just watch a bunch of totally superb musicians at play…. Superb stuff..
This is musical clowning of the highest possible order, when a group of highly talented musicians decide to play.. this is what you can get. Pure musical pleasure, but funny too….
While we are listening to Bobby McFerrin here he is again, also having fun with music, which is surely one of the most important points about music.
This is very gentle rather than funny, but it shows what fun and pleasure can be got from music if it is approached in the right frame of mind…
Now back to musicians having fun with classical music, the main thrust and purpose of this post.
This time it is one of my favourite groups, Mnozil Brass, a bunch of Austrian brass players who not only make great music, but have fun all around it, as you can see in this video. It is rather long, so bear with it as it gets better as it goes along.
I gather their name comes from the fact that when they were all students at the Conservatoire in Vienna, they used to meet up in a coffee bar called the Mnozil Cafe. However that might be, they are one of the tightest groups of musicians I have ever come across, when you consider their act lasts an hour or so, and they must play no end of music in that time… all from memory. as well as all the silliness stuff as well.
Now to total insanity, a version of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture played by a trumpet, a banjo and car horns…. I can think of nothing to say about this, except watch and enjoy!
And to finish all this off, here is a rather odd English comedian who makes his living by means of musical jokes… Not subtle or even especially good, but nonetheless entertaining I feel.
So here goes with Rainer Hersch and a hodge potch of musical jokes….
So, I hope that some of these offerings have given you pleasure, I had fun hunting for them that is for sure!
And here as an afterthought, something I have just stumbled upon…. Steven Fry and Hugh Laurie demonstrating a piano master class…..