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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: March 7, 2006 Archive

Pimpin' the Oscars

Posted at 10:08 AM on March 7, 2006 by John Zech
Filed under: The blog

The morning after the Oscars my wife was playing tennis and having trouble with her serve. Her doubles partner, a woman in her 50s, reassured her by saying, "it's hard out here for a pimp."

I doubt this woman had been listening to Three 6 Mafia on the way to the club, but she knew about the song.

As a tangent to John Birge's entry on the decline and fall of the Best Song winners at the Oscars, I've been fantasizing about Itzhak Perlman doing a "classical" arrangement of "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp." I think it would work...at least as well as the medley of film scores he played at the Academy Awards on Sunday night.

The arrangement Perlman played bore no relationship to any of the sounds or textures of the original scores (at least none I could make out). In fact, I think it was worse than nothing at all.

Was the Academy pimping Perlman with this pseudo-classical mishmash?

More laminees

Posted at 5:29 PM on March 7, 2006 by Don Lee

John Zech's March 3 post and Valerie Kahler's follow-up yesterday got me thinking about some of the classical pieces that compel me to hum or whistle along whenever I hear them.

To be honest, I probably couldn't hum much of the final movement of Debussy's Cello Sonata, but its delicate urgency makes me want to. I love bathing in the near-bathos of the Air in Grieg's "Holberg" Suite. The fast, contrapuntal passage in the middle of Copland's "Appalachian Spring" always gets me charged up. I never tire of the tangy angularity in "Stick Dance," the first of Bartok's Six Romanian Dances. And the Scherzo in Ravel's String Quartet features a pithy pizzicato.

This little exercise is not the same as compiling a list of Desert Island Discs. If I expected to be left alone somewhere for a long time, hummability wouldn't the main criterion as I packed my CD case. But I welcome the company of these catchy classical tunes most anytime.

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