Friday, April 04, 2008

In they came jorking

Back in the 1960s, when Establishment types were denouncing the Beatles as trash, a number of people from more traditional musical genres defended the new muscians. One defense was to play the Fab Four's tunes in classical styles. My favorite is Joshua Rifkin's "The Baroque Beatles Book. Rifkin, with the "Merseyside Kammermusickgessellschaft," released it as a novelty record, but with it he made the point that the Beatles were serious musicians. It's now available on CD. My daughter Anne recently discovered that the Baroque "Help" was on YouTube. It's done in the form of a cantata. The recititive is taken from John Lennon's poetry:

"In they came jorking and labbing shoubing 'Haddy Grimmble" ("Randolf's Party," In His Own Write) 'JACK THE NIPPLE STRIKE AGAIN.' ("The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield," A Spaniard in the Works) Puffing and globbering they drugged theyselves rampling or dancing with wild abdomen, stubbing in wild postumes amongst themselves. (? IHOW) There is a lot to do in Liddypool ("Liddypool," IHOW) She went cold all over ("Singularge Experience," ASITW) Then lifting her face upwarts, she said with a voice full of emulsion... " ("A Spaniard in the Works," ASITW).

Listen to Rifkin's "HELP" here.

8 comments:

bart said...

i've enjoyed this immensely :-)) there's a lot to be gained by cross-generational and perhaps even cross-cultural pollination in this way...

i particularly enjoy the reactions when i can show my daughters that some of the melodies and themes that are popular now, often had their roots in motives developed centuries ago...

keep well...

Charles Gramlich said...

I've been listening lately to Richard Cheeze, who does heavy metal songs in a sort of happy big band sound that is hilarious. HIs band is called "Lounge against the machine."

SzélsőFa said...

I've listened through it, because you recommended it.
I did not really enjoyed it.
Is it because I'm not much of a fan of baroque music in general...? I've had some painful encounters with Bach's pieces...
Or because I kept having the four Beatles in my head while listening to it?

steve said...

Bart--I agree. If you know "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" by the Fifth Estate, yopu're probably aware that it uses a 1612 composition by Michael Praetorius for the interlude.

Charles--My son introduced me to Richard Cheeze. He played me "Down with the Sickness" in both the lounge version and the original by Disturbed.

Szelsofa--Sorry you had to listen to it. This album introduced me to baroque music, so when I listened to Bach and Handel, I liked them.

Tea N. Crumpet said...

It is hard to imagine how seriously many disliked the Beatles. They were like cold water to the sensibilities of the time.

Julie at Virtual Nexus said...

A few years since I've heard this one, Steve....! I keep trawling some pretty amazing stuff on you tube, though there's an awful lot of very mixed stuff to wade through.

Alex S said...

I feel so out of the loop! I listen way too much maybe to Harry Chapin!

steve said...

Tea,

Now that the Beatles have become classics, it is hard. I don't know whether groups like Wilco or the Decembrists will be classics in 40 years, though they aren't subject to such abuse. Hip-hop and heavy metal get most of it, and who knows, there may be some claassics there, though probably not on the level of the Beatles.

Julie--you're right. As an Incredible String Band fan in the Sixties and Seventies, I had to special-order their albums. And their Irish counterpart, Dr. Strangely Strange was simply unavailable. Now both groups are on MySpace and YouTube.

Alex--I'm pretty much out of the loop myself. But I do have an 18-year-old son,who lets me know at least some of what's going on.