When your night at the symphony includes a performer leading a number by saying “Something you really should not do, but since tonight is orchestral movements from the hood night, I’m going to leave some of this open if a couple of ladies would like to get up on the stage,” you know you’re in for something much more than Mozart or Wagner.
The Seattle Symphony has a program called Sonic Evolution that has upended classical music. In it’s third year, they use this program to highlight contributions to the music scene that has a connection with Seattle. Their performance this year included songs from Seattle native Sir Mix A Lot.
Here’s a description of what the intent was for these arrangements from the person responsible for putting it together. Gabriel Prokofiev, who is a DJ, producer and composer, explained his works in a Rolling Stone article.
“My aim with this new Sir-Mix-A-Lot inspired Orchestral work was to really get inside the musical mind of Sir Mix-A-Lot; to understand how his rhythms, textures, sounds and harmonies worked, and to create a contemporary orchestral composition that was true to the music of Sir-Mix-A-Lot,” Prokofiev explained on his blog.
Prokofiev went on to describe how he tried to faithfully recreate Sir Mix-a-Lot’s electronic arrangements using an orchestra, which required some unusual techniques as well as customized instruments. These included “an acoustic ‘Scratcher’ (made by scratching a credit card against a metal guiro), a ‘jackdaw’ (a friction drum that creates a frog like noise), bunches of bamboo cracking against the sides of drums, and various drums laden with chains and cymbals to create distorted drum and clap effects.”
Suffice to say, I don’t think there has been any other symphonic performance that can match what you’re about to witness here. The video up top was the arrangement of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s 1988 “Posse on Broadway”. What follows below is what’s probably his most well-known song, his 1992 hit “Baby Got Back”.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. I’m only mad that I didn’t hear about this when it first happened.