Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The 12 Composers of Christmas (2.1)

[UPDATE: now available on YouTube as well]
[UPDATE 2 !: New version, with singing,  available here.]

It was a Christmas miracle. You see, in the previously posted version of The 12 Composers of Christmas, I'd chosen to interpolate a recording of Don Giovanni singing the beginning of "Là ci darem la mano." However, in my arrangement, the tune quotation needs to begin a minor third higher than in Mozart's original; as it happens, I've been playing around with pitch-shifting on some recordings to make some mash-up medleys, so I figured it would be a breeze to get Bryn Terfel to start on C rather than A. Electronic Bryn was more than willing, but he emerged from the procedure sounding much more like a tenor than a baritone. You can compare the two here: bariterfel - tenorterfel.

And then the miracle - a fine baritone walked right into my studio yesterday, quite unexpectedly, and within minutes I'd captured him singing from C in true baritone timbre. He'd never even sung the duet before - from now on he'll find it a breeze, of course, in the easy key of A. By the way, the other odd thing about my quotation is that, though the intervals are exactly the same as in Mozart, they occur on different scale degrees, so the tonal context is a little off-kilter. (Basically, the tune should start on the first scale degree [do], but my context requires it to start on the fifth scale degree [sol].)

It only qualifies as a minor miracle because this very baritone was due to arrive for a coaching 24 hours later, but I still enjoyed the spontaneity of the impromptu recording session. So now, you'll no longer have to be vexed by the wrongness of a tenor singing Giovanni. (I'd still like Stickman Beethoven to get to the downbeat a little sooner. There could be a 2.2 in the future.)

['Works cited' list available here.]

[UPDATE: Google Video is turning out to be unreliable, so I'll put this on YouTube tonight (12/12). [Done!] For the record, I've avoided YouTube, because I hate that they superimpose their name in the bottom corner of embedded videos, but that beats videos that suddenly become unavailable, as has been happening with Google the past few days.]


bibliojo said...

That's hilarious! THANKS!
I love the Beethoven 5 abrupt mode change and the Stravinsky 7/8 -- both made me LOL!

tidesong ♫ said...

I was sent a link to the YouTube posting of this video by a friend, and I can't stop watching it! This is one of the most clever videos I've seen in a long time. It makes the music geek in me happy! Thanks a lot for the laughs! :)

john d said...

omg, this is absolutely brilliant! Agree, the Beethoven major-switch-with-wiggly-arm and Stravinsky 7/8 are a scream! And I love the little embedded bits like Erlkönig. Fantastic!

LaDona said...

Splitting my gut laughing!