- Various Artists
Review: Mozart TV
2.5 / 5 Stars
Crossover albums are a real blast to listen to. There are albums that take your favorite pop songs and play them in the style of famous classical composers - so why wouldn't they do the same for television theme songs? Well, they did! A few years back, Donald Fraser took fifteen beloved television themes - and reinterpreted them in the style of various classical composers resulting in the compilation, "Mozart TV".
A rendition of the theme from "Friends" in the style of Antonio Vivaldi kicks off the album, followed by Mozart versions of "Hill Street Blues", "M.A.S.H." and "The Brady Bunch". It's not always easy to hear the themes in there - they've been bent just a little bit to fit the musical style. But it was a great hoot to hear "Green Acres" in the ragtime style of Scott Joplin. The Villa-Lobos Spanish guitar rendition of "Angela's Theme" from "Taxi" is a new classic (literally), and "The Jetsons" in the string-heavy orchestral style of Britten is fun to listen to as well. After a piano rendition in the style of John Ireland of "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" (from "Cheers"), it's on to a more regal Purcell-ian rendition of the "I Love Lucy Theme". This one is interesting just because of the complete dichotomy considering the original Cuban bongo orchestra version, and this one - which sounds like something from "Masterpiece Theater"!
Ending the album is a cue that recently caused a bit of stir on an internet bulletin board. "Star Trek: Voyager" in the style of Richard Strauss had film music fans scratching their heads and wondering if Jerry Goldsmith had indeed ripped off the classical composer when working on his theme for the television show. In the end, however, it was revealed that it was indeed quite the opposite, and this "classical" piece was inspired by Goldsmith's original work.
The album also comes with a thick set of liner notes where Fraser explains the challenges of adapting these themes. Running a healthy hour in length, "Mozart TV" is more of a novelty than something to constantly listen to. But if you're having a party, or just a group of friends over, definitely pop this one in the CD player, and see if they can figure out exactly what they're listening to.
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