the comic canon for BBC radio 3 Red Nose Day
Radio 3 is combining its current Baroque Spring season with some baroque-related silliness and have asked five presenters to nominate their personal “Top of the Baroques”. In a series of rather wonderfully silly videos and audio extracts, the presenters make their cases and our job is to vote for our favourite and in the process donate to Comic Relief.
Breakfast presenter Sara Mohr-Pietsch has teamed up with a group of musicians to create a Baroque mash up of Pachelbel’s famous Canon and learned how to play its cello part, from scratch, in seven days (to be fair, there are only eight notes). “I’ve always rather fancied the cello,” she says. “It’s such a sexy instrument – it’s earthy, romantic, physical, and gets to play the bassline, which underpins the musical structure. Unfortunately for most cellists, the Pachelbel Canon bassline is unbelievably boring – eight notes, over and over again … I set myself the challenge of learning them in seven days. Zoe Martlew’s a fantastic teacher, but frankly she was working with a great musical talent. Just call me Yo Yo Mohr-Pietsch.” She and her team went on to create a sort of Pachelbel mashup, complete with a beatboxer, kazoo, gargling and, yes, Sara on cello.
“The fact that the Academy of Ancient Music, James Rhodes, a medieval wind band, Mira Calix, poet Luke Wright, kazoos, ukuleles, Oompah Brass, a beatboxer and some garglers can coexist in harmonious splendour just goes to prove that Pachelbel’s Canon is a work of versatile and enduring genius. Now get your wallet out …” adds Sara, who has also promised never to play the cello in public again.