Yesterday, as I was driving to work, I turned on the radio and flipped stations until I found some nice-sounding chamber music on WGBH.
Wait, they’re quoting Auld Lang Syne! Not my favorite tune, but it’s interesting to hear it quoted in chamber music. I wonder what piece this is.
Then I some heard ascending split octaves, a soaring melody…
What?! Isn’t that part of a violin concerto? Brahms or Bruch or something? It’s lifted entirely, note-for-note!
Then the violin concerto and Auld Lang Syne were played on top of each other, the melodies fitted together in counterpoint, and I started laughing. A short while later…
The Chaconne! It’s Auld Lang Syne as if Bach had written it for solo violin!
By then I was cracking up. Good thing I was alone in my car - if I was driving with some non-classical-music-lover, they would have thought I was crazy.
It was so funny and clever and cute - I couldn’t wait to hear what it was. They stopped in the middle of it, I think, because they were doing fund-raising (and therefore just playing excerpts of pieces), and after some of the usual boring fund-raising banter, I heard that it was a CD of Gidon Kremer and his group playing Happy Birthday variations, Auld Lang Syne variations, and some other pieces.
I’m definitely buying this CD. I’ll have to find ways to play it to unsuspecting fellow musicians, to see their reactions.
Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica
They have samples of the tracks to listen to - listen to the Ragtime version of Happy Birthday! And the Brahms variation is so Brahmsian!