- Various Artists
Review: Heigh-Ho! Mozart
2.5 / 5 Stars
Another crossover album featuring Donald Fraser's arrangements is "Heigh-Ho! Mozart". Where "Mozart TV" took television themes and put them in the styles of classical composers, this album takes some well-beloved Disney songs and does the same thing to them. Beginning with the Dvorak version of "Colors of the Wind", inspired by his "New World Symphony", the album picks up speed with a Mozart rendition of "Heigh Ho!", and a sweeping Rachmaninoff version of "Beauty and the Beast", replete with exuberant piano.
An a capella version of "Second Star to the Right" from Peter Pan in the style of Tallis is a soft and interesting adaptation. A ragtime version of "Under The Sea" in Scott Joplin "Entertainer" style works quite well, given the peppiness of the original song. Classical Spanish guitar in "I Wanna Be Like You" (from The Jungle Book) in the style of Villa-Lobos has a nice calming affect and stands out as one of my favorite tracks. The sweeping romanticism of Tchaikovsky takes on "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" from The Lion King, and a Chopin piano version of "With A Smile and a Song" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs lead into a Strauss-inspired version of "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" that is just overflowing with pizzicato.
The Grieg-inspired rendition of "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" and the small ensemble Brahms-inspired "Feed The Birds" stand out as notable cues on this album. But what really threw me was the hard dissonance in the Bartok-inspired "Prince Ali". Pounding timpani and brass fill this cue, and it's quite an interpretation, considering the boistrous original. The album ends with a Richard Strauss-inspired version of "When You Wish Upon A Star". It's a lavish and fresh rendition of the Disney classic tune, and a nice way to end this album.
As with "Mozart TV", this album contains a thick insert with detailed liner notes explaining where the inspirations came from for each cue. It's informative and gives us a new way of hearing these classic Disney tunes. Unfortunately, the novelty of the album wears off after a few listens, and most likely this album will be used to impress your friends. Nonetheless, if it helps get some people interested in classical music, then at least it's accomplished something after all.
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