Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rock Me Georg Phillip Telemann

From 1665 -- I'm sorry, 1965 -- please enjoy future Scott Joplin popularizer Joshua Rifkin and the boys in The Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft with their groovy version of the Fab Four's "L'Amour S'en Cachant" (a/k/a "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away.")




The standard critical take on this (which, let's face it, is essentially a novelty record) is that it's one of the few instances of a classical guy actually getting the whole rock thing that was happening at the time. That's true, up to a point, but actually there's very little of the actual Beatles in most of Rifkin's arrangements, which tend to meander off in non-Lennon/McCartney directions. "Hide Your Love," for some reason, is the sole exception, at least for me; something about that descending riff before the chorus seems to work in the faux Baroque context.

10 comments:

geor3ge said...

This is the sort of thing my fellow theory geeks would have plotzed over in college.

Add Leonard Bernstein to the "got it" list. One of the reasons I love him so much is that he had such unabashed love for the pop music of the time.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Jeez, I remember this!

Both Leonard Bernstein and Joshua Rifkin taught at my alma mater (although not at the same time). :-)

But here is something I did not know:

In a related vein, Rifkin sang the countertenor solo in the premiere performance of the spoof cantata Iphigenia in Brooklyn by P. D. Q. Bach (Peter Schickele).

I saw that piece performed live ... my parents were fans and took me to see him one New Year's Eve. I think that was the night that Schickele rushed on stage without his pants. Fall on the floor funny.

Faze said...

Hah, I own the LP and coincidentally just re-listened to the whole thing again last week. I contemplated making CDs of it, and giving it to some of the many young classical musicians I know, without telling them where it was from or what the intention was. Just to get their opinion. Some of the chord progressions, like that from Ticket to Ride, are so far outside the Baroque, that they'd right away something fishy was going on. But I'll be there are a few numbers in there, including the I Want to Hold Your Hand arrangement, that might fool them. (Around the time this album came out, I discovered the vocal music of Handel, in particular his "Acis and Galetea" and realized that in his sensual melodizing, and frequent use of the ABA song structure, Handel was actually more Beatlesque than Rifkin's riffing, clever as it was.)

Brooklyn Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brooklyn Girl said...

So one is Handel and one is J.S. Bach ... who is the third one?

Not Vivaldi, obviously, who, as it turns out, was quite lovely.

TMink said...

I had forgotten about this and not known it very well ever. This is a nice jaunty tune.

Trey

Gummo said...

Ah yes, the Beatles as easy listening for upper Manhattan intellectuals.

As Lou Reed sang, "Those were different times."

Peter said...

Rifkin has quite a resume. In addition to this he was in the Even Dozen Jug Band with John Sebastian, David Grisman, and other vipers; he wrote arrangements for Judy Collins; now he's a leading light of the early-instruments movement; and he has the weirdest speaking voice I've ever heard.

Anonymous said...

I still have this. it's still awesome!

Anonymous said...

I think a reason this works, aside from Rifkin's encyclopedic knowledge of compositional and instrumental style/arranging, is this particular melody's modal character and its main rhythmic figure. It wouldn't be difficult to find similar melodies from Medieval through early Renaissance composition. The melodies associated with L'Homme Arme (1400-ish) bounce around this way. The Rifkin arrangement is a great wonderful wink at that sound, while showing a lot of love for the Beatles' modal side. - AP