Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops With Allan Sherman|
Peter & The Commissar
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks, Classical
With Allan Sherman?s Warner Bros. albums currently off limits, we were combing the vaults looking for something else by Allan to license when we stumbled across this gem. Deemed by Sherman himself as "the most exciting nig... more »
With Allan Sherman?s Warner Bros. albums currently off limits, we were combing the vaults looking for something else by Allan to license when we stumbled across this gem. Deemed by Sherman himself as "the most exciting night of my life," this 1964 performance at Tanglewood with the Boston Pops indeed may have represented the zenith of his career, as Sherman, with the help of orchestrator Jerry Fielding, entertained 13,000 fans with dead-on skewerings of sacred cows, musical and otherwise. 'Peter and the Commissar', for example, rewrites 'Peter and the Wolf' to depict the travails of a young songwriter whose work is rejected by authorities who think they know what the public wants, a theme that had resonance (and still does!) on both sides of the Iron Curtain. 'Variations on "How Dry I Am"', meanwhile, twists that familiar, four-note theme into endless permutations, and 'The End of a Symphony' beats P.D.Q. Bach to the punch by sending up the repetitious codas used by Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart and other great composers. This album has never been reissued on LP or CD, and for Allan Sherman fans fixated on his more famous work, it?s likely to be a revelation. A 'Collectors? Choice Music' exclusive!
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Parodies of Music as well as Lyrics
John A Lee III | San Antonio, TX | 07/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Allan Sherman was known for making great parodies of songs. Sometimes he even added lyrics to tunes that never had lyrics to begin with. Much of his work is dated now due to changing cultural reference but many of the gags can be understood by anyone. Unfortunately, most of his work is no longer available. There is a "Greatest Hits" album that is well worth the money and now there is this album, an album very different from his other works.
This was recorded with the Boston Pops Symphony during its heyday under the baton of Arthur Fiedler. The longest single piece is PETER AND THE COMMISSAR which runs for over 20 minutes. Instead of adding his own lyrics to the tune from the classic PETER AND THE WOLF, he substitutes his own narration for the original. The orchestra does its own part by parodying famous works from great composers. Beethoven's 5th Symphony done as a blues piece is but one example.
Another example of this type of parody is the VARIATIONS ON A THEME FROM "HOW DRY I AM". Again, different music is taken from out of context and played in counterintuitive styles. All the while, the tune from "How Dry I am" keeps appearing. In this respect this work is a direct ancestor of Peter Shickle and his PDQ Bach albums.
The final piece is called END OF A SYMPHONY. It is a parody of the bombastic and grandiose endings that symphonies tend to have. Sherman narrates and the Pops plays...and plays...and plays.
A great piece for lovers of classical music!
Arthur R. Krieck | New York, NY USA | 12/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I owned a mono LP of this at its first release, and I'm pleased to finally have it on CD. I'm happy to find the laughs still intact! The huge Tanglewood audience is clearly having a great time (I have a friend who was in the audience in the Shed that night and he said it was even more hilarious in person) and Sherman's brilliant parodies seem even funnier after more than 40 years. Did Peter Schikele get his inspiration for PDQ Bach from this album?
This by the way is just about the best "live" recording I've ever heard. Produced by Peter Dellheim and engineered by Edwin Begley, two stars in the Victor recording firmament, they capture the "live" sound of the Pops well, keep the audience response low enough so the orchestra can be heard (though the more than 13,000 people in the Shed are still most definately in the room!), and hearing it in stereo for the first time, on a "surround" system, is quite an experience.
The reproduction of the notes on the back of the original Red Seal album IS hard to read, though under a lens it's possible. The essay on the inside, though also difficult to read, explains much about this album and its place in Sherman's life.
I met Sherman in late 1967 in a deli on East 60th Street here in Manhattan, introduced myself as a music student, told him how much I loved this album, and thanked him for it. HIs surly and curt response shocked me at the time, but, reading the essay in this CD, now I understand it. This night, 22 July 1964, was indeed, sadly, the "most exciting night" of his life."
Uncle Joe Carson | Front Porch of the Shady Rest Hotel | 12/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Comedy and Classical Music don't always go well together. PDQ Bach misses as often as he hits, but this album by Allan Sherman and the Boston Pops is just perfect. The jokes are a bit dated -- it's from the 1960s -- but this is a must-own for any Classical Music fan with a sense of humor."