There is a thing that circulates on Facebook every so often that says, “Every thing I learned about Classical Music, I learned from Looney Tunes.” In a way, that is true for me (and a lot of people). Here is a link to an article from Classic FM:
I bring this up for a silly reason today. I was playing that crazy racing game Forza Horizon 5 the other day. In the game, there are different radio stations you can listen to. I usually have the classical music station on as I play the game. I think there are like 10 songs that rotate. Every time this one song would come on, I’d laugh because I’d think of cartoon trapeze artists. I bet without even hearing it, you know what song I am talking about!
In my 52 years, I never knew the name of it or who composed it. I know know. Forza Horizon 5 is set in Mexico, so it is only appropriate that the song was written by a Mexican composer by the name of Juventino Rosas. The waltz (in 3/4 time) is called Sobre las Olas or “Over the Waves.” It was first published in 1888!
The song has been recorded by Chet Atkins, The Beach Boys, Pete Fountain and Willie Nelson! It appeared in the 1943 Warner Brothers cartoon “An Itch in Time” and the 1950 Warner Brothers cartoon Canary Row. It appears with English lyrics (entitled “The Loveliest Night of the Year”) in the 1951 film “The Great Caruso.” It remains Rosas’ most popular piece of music.
Give it a listen here (the melody you will recognize begins 41 seconds into the song):
Please understand that this song by itself doesn’t make me laugh. I actually enjoy it. The reason it makes me laugh in the game is that it is usually playing while I am driving and crashing into mailboxes, running over gates, rear ending cars in my way, or watching my car go off a cliff or something.
Imagine that song playing while you are casually ripping up the roads at 307 miles per hour!!! Or even passing someone doing 131 miles per hour….
I’m not sure why this makes me chuckle but it does. Now, take Gustov Holst’s piece from The Planets – Mars, The Bringer of War. This piece fits into those scenarios a bit better. There is a sense of urgency and suspense involved. In some racing events, it is a perfect background piece. Even better, there is one race that you are driving up a mountain to where there is a live volcano – talk about a perfect song!
As much of a stress reliever the game is for me, I love the fact that there is some great classical music in it to accompany the various races and tasks.
So let me change what I said earlier … “Every thing I learned about Classical Music, I learned from band class, Looney Tunes … and a video racing game!”