Last night’s Harvard Pops concert, Pops Sells its Soul, was a triumph musically, comically, creatively, and (in classic Pops style) cinematically, over even November’s Pops Risks it All or the ultimate measuring stick, 2006’s Pops Gets Cursed.
In this episode, the Devil (“Err… Mr. Cifer — call me Lou”) buys the Pops’ soul, which turns out to be masestro Allen Feinstein. “Come on. Your kazoo, accordion, bagpipe, and viola orchestra is waiting.”
The concert arced from Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld to Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, with stops at Devil Went Down to Georgia, Danse Macabre, a certain AC/DC song appropriate to the theme, and even a hilarious and unexpected (despite being plainly listed in the program) rendition of Limbo Rock.
Violinists Nora Ali, Anne Michael Langguth, and Martin Ye (collectively portraying the three-headed dog Cerberus guarding the gates of Hades), competed cooperatively over a single challenging solo part in Zigeunerweisen (there in a Vienna Philharmonic Women’s Orchestra performance); Nicholas Ward brought out the electric cello at one point; Tom Compton sang an absolutely hilarious number titled I’m Wearing the Pants; and before the night was over Rebecca Gruskin played a solo on a garden hose with a funnel attached in a composition Mr. Feinstein titled cleverly Hoseanna.
And they somehow managed to conceal until the last moments of the concert what should have been a painfully obvious play on words: the Devil hopes to sneak through the gates of heaven because he knows Faust — you know, Harvard president Dr. Drew G. Faust. Blinding, isn’t it?
The only question, really, is why you haven’t given them money yet.