Mashups have been the province of DJs and teenage electronic music enthusiasts, but recently have been given a new and different sort of life in the a cappella resurgence. The fictional Barden Bellas (of Pitch Perfect fame) win all their competitions with vocal mashups of popular songs, while the Pentatonix and other skilled a cappella groups are winning in real life by creatively combining melodies into energetic and often beautiful new arrangements. Long before either of these phenomena took the vocal world by storm, composers and intrepid choral arrangers made ‘mashups’ for their novelty and as an exercise in ingenuity. Our friend, Eric Banks, whose compositions are chockablock with the stuff, made his own fiery mashup of the Great American Songbook classics, Fever and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. It takes a few measures of bell-like tolling in the bass parts, before we even realize what we’re hearing. Then, as the saucy alto (of course!) begins to solo, and the soprano countermelody soars, we know we’re in the middle of one hot mashup.
Listen to the quintessential version of Fever and a tongue-in-cheek one of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes below. If you’d like to do a little homework and know exactly what you’re listening for before our concerts this weekend, Eric helpfully posts scores for all his compositions on his website.