"I'm Don G. O'Vanni, and I'm proud to represent the Music Surplus Heritage House of Hong Kong," goes one early Firesign Theatre routine. "Wouldn't you like to raise the level of your home?"
Classical music doesn't have to be stuffy, and two very different examples of this will be provided this weekend on the Big Island.
On Friday night at the Kalihu Theatre in Waimea (Kamuela), Iggy Jang and his quartet will join Ben Gutierrez and his ukulele and (borrowed) synth and me for a revised performance of the History of Classical Music.
We throw in a couple comedy bits we didn't do last year in Hilo or Waikoloa or Manoa, and Iggy and the gang upped their game on the quartet excerpts. Iggy, concertmaster of the Hawaii Symphony, proved in this series he is a good arranger (though too self-critical!) and we'll enjoy doing this.
An abbreviated version of the show will be presented Thursday morning at the same theater for students, and then Friday morning I'll speak about the history of composition, and how technology has affected it, at Honakaa High.
The Kamuela Philharmonic, meanwhile, plans a Sunday afternoon presentation of the music of PDQ Bach, the last and least of Bach's 20-odd children, and also the oddest, who was "discovered" by Peter Schickele. Schickele is still with us but he allows performances by others and I just found out I will be playing a small role in the concert.
I once drove from Washington, D.C., to New York, in order to see Schickele perform at Carnegie Hall. If you are familiar with his early recordings - all reissued on CD - check out his newer releases on Telarc. I especially like the one that has the "1712 Overture" and "Einstein on the Fritz." Schickele's music is not just funny, it's like an essay on music, even a form of music criticism. In an interview I once suggested he was influenced by the Hoffnung Festival concerts in England, but he replied that his most important influence was Spike Jones.