Classical Music

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

A few weeks ago I was listening to my local classical music station, WOSA: Classical 101, when a really fun, yet extremely familiar piece of music came on. I knew it sounded familiar, because I had a version of it on iTunes, but I just didn’t know what it was called. Gahh!

Via Facebook, I asked the DJ, Mr. Boyce Lancaster, what it was. He told me that it was Songs of the Terpsichore by German composer, Michael Praetorius (1571-1621). I love love love this era of music! With this information, I searched my playlist for Praetorius and found a Bourée which was, in fact, that same tune.

My musical life is so much easier thanks to friendly on-air personalities!

The version I have, “Bourées” off the album, Martha’s Dragon, is by Cantiga, a musical ensemble that makes its rounds at Renaissance Festivals throughout the south and east playing Early music on traditional instruments. They’re very good and research old, often incomplete tunes, and finish them themselves the way they think they were probably finished originally. I got hooked on them a few years back after hearing a song or two of theirs online. Between and iTunes, I’ve now got at least four of their albums. You should just go ahead and buy four of them, too!

I listen to their music fairly often, but have it all in a playlist that I usually put on shuffle. That means I don’t know any of their song titles except perhaps Skillywidden, Harlequin Hornpipe and Valle de Lo Alto, but I love them all, much like this particular tune.

Later that morning, Boyce went on to post a youtube video which made me laugh! It’s a video of a live performance of the song “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” by the 1960s – era band, The Fifth Estate, which includes a break strain in which Praetorius’ Bourrée is played on a what looks to be a tin whistle!

Anyone who says classical music isn’t fun needs to get out more!

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