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CD Review

Yodeling the Classics

Mary Schneider, yodeler
Sydney International Orchestra/Tommy Tycho
Innerworks D2-24935
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Executive Summary: The perfect gift for the classical music lover on your Christmas list. Also serves as an excellent introduction to the classics. Stop whatever you are doing, and call your local record store and reserve your copy now!

Mary Schneider has provided us with a disc that has the potential of becoming a classic right up there with the likes of Florence Foster Jenkins. While I consider myself to be something of a devotee of the absurd, when I first heard this disc yesterday I found myself speechless.

The first track offers a medley of overtures including William Tell, Carmen and the "Can Can" by Offenbach. The program notes say it best, "Maestro Tommy Tycho raises his baton-the orchestra begins-and you are taken on an exciting musical journey where the fascinating art of Yodeling meets the beauty of the Classics." The arrangements were done by the conductor. He also provided words for some of the other selections. You will hear such classics as the Skaters' Waltz Yodel, music of Waldteufel, Hungarian Dance Yodel and other favorites. Mary and Tommy and the Sydney International Orchestra join forces with a chorus for Ketèlbey's immortal, In a Monastery Garden. Other featured artists include Melinda Schneider, Mary's daughter. Together they turn their talents to the Clarinet Polka Yodel. Again, from the program notes, "To yodel the Clarinet Polka must be heard to be believed as it requires a yodeling technique almost impossible to achieve." Believe me, this is not just the empty rhetoric of advertising copy!

Rossini's "Largo Al Factotum" from Barber of Seville becomes "Largo Al Yodel," with "tongue-twisting lyrics especially written for this occasion by Mary and Rita Schneider." Mary's rendition of the Strauss "Trisch Tratsch Polka Yodel," is likely to serve as a model for yodeling students for years to come. The grand finale of the disc is a collection of marches, "Yodeling Marchtime." You will hear the Washington Post, Sempre Fidelis, Liberty Bell and Blaze Away done like you have never heard them before.

What really makes this whole production so incredibly absurd is that Mary Schneider has pretty damn good voice and is one hell of a yodeler.

If you have any appreciation of the absurd, don't miss this one!

Copyright © 1998, Karl Miller