Classical Music

Bugs, Sports, Napalm, Schroeder and a Few Pigs

It’s amazing where we hear some of our classical music, don’t you think? Monday’s post gave us a start to think about some classical music that we know, but don’t know we know. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – Mozart.  Lone Ranger – Rossini. Bruce Willis – Beethoven. Stanley Kubrick – Strauss. Today we’re a little all over the place – napalm and Bugs Bunny – yeah. Thankfully, they’re not actually together, but they both showcase some fantastic music.

Which of these do you already know?

Be vewy vewy qwiet! (Rossini’s The Barber of Seville)

Here’s some more Rossini – made famous for my generation (and hopefully also the next few generations) thanks to Warner Brother’s favorite character, Bugs Bunny. Rossini’s opera is based on a play by a French playwright that was set in Spain. Very multi-cultural. It was part of a set of three plays of which one was originally banned (The Marriage of Figaro – think Mozart) for being overly licentious. Scandal!

Rossini’s opera was deemed the Opera Buffa of all Opera Buffes. Not a language buff? Just refer to it as the epitome of comedic operas and you’ll be fine. I’ve never seen it myself, but that’s OK. I love the opening overture, the melody of which is what you’ll recognize. Remember, it’s very versatile as it helped to feed Rossini’s laziness. How can you call a guy who wrote 39 different operas by his 30s lazy? Well – he recycled the opening overture to the Barber of Seville for two other operas. I can see it now – “Meh – Queen Elizabeth is nice and all, but I don’t feel like writing another overture, so I’ll just reuse this overture again. It went over well the first time.” Rossini actually used a comedic overture for two serious operas. Come on – that’s a little lazy, don’t you think?

CBS Sports (Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man)

A fantastic, powerful brass piece, Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man was originally written in 1942 for the Cincinnati orchestra, but became more popular (dare I say…popular with the common man) in the 1970s/80s when CBS picked it up for their theme song for sports broadcasts.

OK fine – that’s quite an influx of 70s, isn’t it? Here’s the real version!

I love it! This is at the Dublin Airport and like other flash mob or impromptu concerts, I love it when people just stop what they’re doing to watch. At first, they’re always a little confused because seeing symphony musicians at an airport is seeing symphony musicians a little bit out of context. But given a moment, they then break out into big, goofy grins – and then they pull out their cameras for a quick picture. Inevitably, they stay and listen to the entire performance because they like it. So whether you originally heard this tune when watching sports back in the 70s or early 80s or heard this in Dublin, you’ve heard it. It’s a wonderful piece of music.

Napalm in the morning (Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries)

Fair to say I’ve never smelled napalm before and I prefer Martin Sheen in his role of President Bartlet on the West Wing TV series, (he looks so young in this movie!) but you can’t deny the effect the music has on this scene. Apocalypse Now is a movie that my dad pretty much never wants to see again, but he had no problem answering when I asked him what classical music was featured in this movie: Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner.

Perhaps we should lighten things up a bit after that. Wagner does seem rather heavy, don’t you think?

Peanuts (Beethoven’s Für Elise)

Who doesn’t recognize a little of Beethoven’s piano music thanks to Schroeder on the Peanuts cartoons?

Better known as “Für Elise,” the Bagatelle No. 25 in A Minor is probably one of the first pieces anyone taking lessons learns to play on the piano. I played it. Did you?

He huffed and he puffed and he… (Brahms’ Hungarian Dance)

Brahms’ Hungarian Dances – I heard these last January at a Columbus Symphony concert just after New Year’s last year and didn’t know a single one of these – or so I originally thought. Once they were played, I recognized them all, but just hadn’t known what they were called. Take a listen…and heck- watch the whole thing. You may want to remodel your own brick home after seeing this!

Wow – that is one amazing house pig #3 built, don’t you think?

We’ve learned so much from our cartoons growing up, didn’t we?! So which ones did you recognize?

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