THE COW BELL CANTATA – and a Splatterrific Intermezzo

Wild Emperors, Coxcombs and Horny Mountains in Tirol

Plus Heidi-centric Encores!




registrato da maestro Daniello Ashkenasi

1. Movimento – Allegro con Forte Subito



The Kitzbühel Horn mountain

K4Encountered some musical cows on the slopes of the mountains of Kitzbühel, Austria.  And so, with the help of three short video clips, the first just above, I present the Cow Bell Cantata, the first dramatic movement featuring a shockingly loud outburst in the brass section.

The other clips of the three movement cantata follow below, interspersed with pictures of the Tirolian splendors around Kitzbühel.

Plus an Intermezzo of a Splat Concert (I’ll explain).


The Wilde Kaiser (Wild Emperor) Mountain Range rises grandly behind the Lebenberg Hill on the outskirts of Kitzbühel.


On top the Hahnenkamm (Coxcomb) mountain




Second movements in classical music tend to be the slower, quieter sections.  No different here.  That doesn’t mean there will be no sudden (subito) surprises, as in a wasp fly-by:

2. Movimento – Pianissimo con Vespa Sorpresa


The Bischoff mountain, which I fittingly hiked with my erstwhile drama teacher Mr. Bishop years after graduating high school.



A Bergkapelle (mountain chapel) on the Hahnenkamm, with the Horn across the valley.



The Wilde Kaiser as seen from one of the man made lakes on top of the Hahnenkamm. These lakes are recent additions to the landscape, needed to help with artificial snow production, because climate change has made winter snow fall less reliable in a region dependent on ski tourism.



For the Intermezzo let’s insert a clip of the entrance of the band for the Kitzbüheler Platzkonzert, an open air brass band concert in the town square.  Which is indicated by the name: Platzkonzert – Concerto di Piazza – Town Square Concert.  However as a kid I thought the “Platz” in Platzkonzert referred to a splat or a blat or a burst, which the verb “platzen” means.  In my childish reasoning this made sense, since the brass instruments so regularly made explosive sounds, particularly when playing oompah music.  That a less colorful, more utilitarian definition for Platzkonzert was the more obviously likely one didn’t occur to me until deep into adulthood.

Intermezzo – Concerto Scoppiare


Did you note the young boy in the percussion section?  He played for the whole concert.

When I was a kid, the Platzkonzert was all traditional Austrian marches.  This year the program was a little more eclectic, including some American Jazz standards and arrangements of modern pop.  Plus the conductor boasted a hipster beard and pony tail.



Kitzbühel viewed from the Hahnenkamm lift


View from atop the Kitzbüheler Horn



The radio tower atop the Horn



In our final movement of the Cow Bell Cantata, the ringing of faraway bells is almost overpowered by the determined rhythms of mastication.  Yet the lasting impression is the sad but resolute farewell of the bovine diva.  Or is it divine bova?

3. Movimento – Finale Masticazione con Bovino Arrivederci




The Kitzbüheler Horn boasts a mountain top botanic garden of flower varieties from the Alps to the Himalayas.  Below is a flower that particularly caught my fancy, the “Alpen Mannstreu Edeldistel (the “Alps Mann-True Nobel Thistle”).  Which from here on is my husband’s drag persona.  Presenting Alpen Mannstreu Edeldistel!




Ok, since we have just edged from the sublime to the ridiculous (only just…?), let’s go further with our encores.  Starting with none other than that classic figure of alpine pop culture, Heidi!  But not the literary classic, the TV theme song from the 1970s Japanese anime cartoon series every kid who grew up in Germany in the 1970s couldn’t escape.  I still am compelled to sing this tune at full volume, yodeling included, whenever I am on a mountain top, any mountain top, to my husband’s deep chagrin.

Here the lyrics of the chorus, with translation:

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 8.04.53 PM




In the early 1980s German New Wave (Neue Deutsche Welle, not to be mistaken for the New Wave of the late 70s New York music scene) produced this second most popular pop song to all things alpine: “Hohe Berge” (High Mountains) by Frl. Menke (Miss Menke).  Frl. Menke of course can’t resist a shout out to Heidi, the Alps’ most famous, favorite little Miss, giving a kiss to her favorite goat (it only sounds marginally less icky in German).

Hohe Berge – Frl. Menke


Hohe Berge Songtext

Ich sitz’ im Sessellift
und freu’ mich schon.
Nur noch ein Stückchen
bis zur Bergstation.
Dort gibt’s noch sehr viel zu erklimmen.
Ich brauch’ den Auerhahn,
die Gams, das Reh,
und ewigen Schnee,
Natur, ganz pur, ganz nah am Himmel.
Und so brech’ ich mir das Edelweiß,
dann kauf ich mir ein Eis.
Oh-oh, hohe Berge,
La Montanara für das Objektiv
Oh-oh, hohe Berge,
denk’ ich an Trenker, werde ich aktiv.
Oh-oh, Gipfelstürmer
in Trachtenjacke und mit Wanderstab.
Oh-oh, wo ist Heidi,
die hier der Lieblings-Geiß
ein Küßchen gab.
Dann auf der Hütten
isst man Hirsch-Ragout.
geben niemals Ruh’.
Den nächsten Gipfel zwingt man morgen.
Jetzt noch den Stempel
in den Wanderpass.
Ja, das macht Freude,
ja, das macht mir Spaß,
und so vergess’ ich alle Sorgen.
Und ich kauf noch schnell ein Bergkristall
und steig’ hinab ins Tal.
Oh-oh, hohe Berge…


High mountains (English Translation)

I sit in a chairlift
And I’m already delighted
Only a small way
Up to the top station
But there’s still much to climb
Ich need the mountain cock
The chamois, the deer
Alpine world idyll
And eternal snow
Nature, entirely pure, close to the sky
So I pluck the edelweiss
And then buy myself an ice
Oh-oh, high mountains
La Montanara for the lens
Oh-oh, high mountains
When I think of Trenker, I’m getting active
Oh-oh, summiteer
In a traditional jacket with a walking staff
Oh-oh, where’s Heidi
Who gave a kiss here
To her favorite goat
Then in the cottage
One eats deer ragout
Mountain vagabonds
Keep going on and on
Because I’ll conquer the next peak by tomorrow
Now get a stamp
In your mountain pass
Yes, that’s enjoyable
Yes, that’s fun
And I forget about all my sorrows
And I buy myself a mountain crystal
And then descend to the valley




About dannyashkenasi

I'm a composer with over 40 years experience creating music theater. I'm also an actor, writer, director, producer, teacher and general enthusiast for the arts.
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1 Response to THE COW BELL CANTATA – and a Splatterrific Intermezzo

  1. Pingback: The Map Room of Madison, Wisconsin | Notes from a Composer

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