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June 24, 2010

That annoying vuvuzela thing goes classical, with help of some German musicians

Just when you thought you'd heard all you could stand of that infernal vuvuzela thing that has become the soundtrack of the World Cup, three disarming German musicians with delicious deadpan delivery have demonstrated the vast potential of this darn instrument.

Here's a video clip from Die Zeit Online (complete with a short ad at the beginning) of these intrepid Berliners performing the chorale from the last movement of Brahms' Symphony No. 1 and a bit of Ravel's "Bolero." You may never be able to hear these two pieces the same way again:

Posted by Tim Smith at 10:32 AM | | Comments (4)


Wherever did you get the idea to blog about this?

Gee, could it have been Keith Olberman's show last night? Quite possibly. TIM

It's a shame about what's happening the to the Vuvuzela Philharmonic in South Africa now.,17625/

When I first heard the buzz of the vuvuzelas in the US game against England, what immediately popped into my head was Corigliano's Circus Maximus, which I attended at the BSO last March (and which you blogged about, I remember). The world cup's soundtrack of horns really does resemble the louder and more raucous parts of that piece.

Very cool association. Thanks. TIM

It sounds like an early music consort - you know, those awful cornettos. :)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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