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Beethoven's Wig

Lyrics make classics new

October 10, 2011

Lyrics make classics new
It is rumored that Beethoven once said, “If my music had word, it would be a lot more popular.”  I’m not so sure I agree with the master, but I certainly feel he must have had a good sense of humor.  And the same holds true for Richard Perlmutter, the creative mind behind Beethoven’s Wig – a series of CDs where lyrics are added to some of the world’s greatest music.

“Beethoven’s Wig: Sing-Along Piano Classics” is the fifth and latest in the series where Perlmutter decides to add his “brainy, zany lyrics to keyboard classics.”  I am amazed at how clever, funny and entertaining this latest Beethoven’s Wig project is.  I think it is my favorite so far!

Perlmutter, who almost sounds as though he serves as a reluctant lead singer, strays away from only the “classics” on this recording – and I really like that choice.

For instance, he takes the childhood piano tune “Chopsticks” and adds lyrics, and it becomes “My Little Chicken.”  Imagine these lyrics to the Chopsticks melody:  “My little chicken is peck, peck, peck, pecking/Whatever she’s pecking she’s wreck, wreck, wreck, wrecking.”  And it goes on from there to spin a witty little tale about the pecking chicken.  You will soon be singing along, too.

Other standouts for me include Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” reinvented as “A Piano Is Stuck In The Door” and Chopin’s “Funeral March” is brought to life as “Poor Uncle Joe” who has a car that doesn’t go.  And I absolutely love the tongue-in-cheek “Mozart Makes Kids Smart” (Alla Turca) aimed at all the parents who buy into the hype about Mozart’s music.

As a music educator and parent concerned about our children’s musical diet, I support any creative way that we can help our kids open their ears to other forms and styles of music.  With that being said, I highly recommend that parents expose their children to the fabulous efforts of Perlmutter and his Beethoven’s Wig series.

by Fred Koch, Chicago Parent

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updated: 3 years ago