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Happy Birthday

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 28, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

For a tune that is performed by, give to take, about a billion people a day throughout the world, it would be pretty tough to come up with a unique cover version. Yet the indefatigable Gidon Kremer has done just that. In fact, he gives us 11 of them, by way of the title track on this collection, Peter Heidrich's "Happy Birthday" Variations. The world's faniliar theme is given many new sets of stylistic clothes: Haydnesque, Mozartian, Beethovenian, Brahmsian, Schumannesque, Dvorak-ular (so to speak), and the form of a polka, a film theme, a rag, a tango, and a gypsy dance.

Amazon.com

To celebrate its sixth anniversary as an ensemble, Kremerata Baltica presents a light, loving, and musically interesting confection. After an opening polka by Schnittke (who knew he could be so frothy?), we get 11 variations on the song "Happy Birthday" by Peter Heidrich, à la Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, and some dance movements. Delightful. Elsewhere, Franz Waxman's Variations on "Auld lang syne" are as clever as they are unexpected and charming. More variations--this time on "God save the King" by the 19th century composers Ghys and Servais--afford Kremer and cellist Marta Sudraba a fine time, and Teddy Bor's brief riff on Mozart's omnipresent "Eine kleine nachtmusik" is a hoot. There's more, but the point is made: Classical music can be fun and sophisticated, and Kremer and his group remain virtuosi, one and all. --Robert Levine
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 28, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B00006JP2B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,313 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Slow and timid to start like the sun beginning to brighten a long summer day, do not take this CD frivolously. The music captured here melts across the speakers. Never have I been so mystified, lost and utterly annoyed all at once by all the different interpretations of Happy Birthday music. In some ways the art here is brilliant in supplying intriguing Mozartesque, Beethoveny and Brahmsesque renderings of such a banal tune. On the other hand, I can also imagine the equivalent of a musician's Adobe Photoshop that at a press of a button reconfigures the tune to fit the style: tango, ragtime, adagio, presto!
Thankfully, the second half of this collection entertains with superbly done variations of `God Save the King' and `Moonlight' tunes.
Make jest of this compilation if you like. However, it is fundamentally sound and top notch. I highly recommend this CD for classical music DJs that can mix in a quirky tune with the conservative - your listeners may consciously never notice. In addition, it is also perfect for those with a sense of humor as well as serious aficionados that have a 100+CD changer and can slip this one in for levity.
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Format: Audio CD
If you enjoy parodies, this will be the perfect album for you. The jokes played on the various composers are amusing and refreshing, especially for music students who bore their brains out analysing these composers. Take a fresh view and enjoy! Even though they may seem meaningless initially, they grow onto you soon enough; and you will start asking - why not?
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Format: Audio CD
I bought it out of my own devotion to Gidon Kremer and another one for a food friend's birthday. Kremer never let me down. This is another outstanding CD and a perfect birthday gift, even for non-classical lovers. However, to be very honest, I am not totally satisfied with all the tracks but still it's highly recommended. I would say it is an almost-must-have for your CD shelf. The variation of the traditional 'Happy Birthday' is fantastic if not too commercial.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a nice "classic" touch for any birthday celebration--great musical treatment of a most familiar tune!
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