Yodelling the Classics: The Complete Collection

by: Mary Schneider

This collection brings together two previously released volumes of Mary Schneider's inimitable rendition of popular classical selections. For the yodeling aficionado, Schneider's virtuosity and expressive range offer much to savor, and for the skeptic willing to apply somewhat less rigorous standards to Schneider than to, say, Mitsuko Uchida or Marilyn Horne, there is plenty of evidence here that yodeling can be done with taste and musicality. The purist who may be appalled at the thought of a yodeled version of Largo al Factotum or Mozart's Symphony No. 40 should be appeased knowing that Schneider performs much of this repertoire with tongue planted firmly in cheek, when it's not otherwise employed in producing the unearthly sounds of which she's capable. Her Gilbert and Sullivan medley-parody, while it contains more straight singing than yodeling, is a hoot, full of self-effacing absurdity. Schneider has a fine, secure singing voice with a remarkably wide range and excellent intonation, so there's no need to worry about cringing over an embarrassing overreach. Schneider's virtuosic performance should astound anyone willing to drop prejudice and give themselves over to yodeling's considerable charms. Schneider is above all an entertaining personality, and her enthusiasm and humor are disarming. Most of the selections are zestily accompanied by the Sydney International Orchestra, led by Tommy Tycho, and Schneider's daughter Melinda joins in several yodeling duets. The sound quality is variable -- the balance is mostly fine, but some tracks mike Schneider too closely.

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