Have you seen the 12-tone commercial?

Have you seen the 12-tone commercial?


norman lebrecht

July 03, 2020

You have now.



  • Michael Schlecthriem says:

    Since 1977.

  • Michael Schlechtriem says:

    BTW,Kapustin has died yesterday.

  • E. says:

    This is terrific. You made my day (both the end of Friday night and the beginning of Saturday.) Why do I keep this that NL (could have) created this himself? Hats off!

  • Barry Guerrero1 says:

    That’s hilarious! The only recording I know where the conductor takes those 11 solo bass drum strokes slowly – as it’s presented here (with the gun) – is Lorin Maazel’s earlier Vienna Philharmonic one (Decca). Anyway, I actually like much of that Vienna ‘second school’ music. It’s incredibly unique (if nothing else).

  • The View from America says:

    This is a classic.

  • Rich Patina says:

    Darn…now I have those tunes stuck in my head.

  • patrick G says:

    Hahaha Thank you Mr. Lebrecht!

  • Luke says:

    I always knew all they needed was some good marketing.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    It has been ages! Thanks so much for posting this; I can go to bed laughing. (And I LIKE Schoenberg.)

    By the way, was Martin Bookspan the announcer?

    • Peter says:

      It was Robert Conrad, long-time announcer for the Cleveland Orchestra. Matthias Bamert who was once a Resident Conductor of the CO is mentioned early on.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    Haha “the greatest composers since Joachim Raff”

    Thanks !

  • Minutewaltz says:

    Love it!

  • Ben G. says:

    This is an oldie but goodie.

    Great moments in there, especially the vacuum cleaner and the virtuostic writing of the Berg Violin Concerto.

  • Nick says:

    This IS great!!! Cannot be funnier! Brightened my mood in the COVID gloom!

  • Larry W says:

    Scores of lovely melodies, all in a row.

  • Jason Lewis says:

    And the point is? Anyway, The Rite – included on this – was written well before Stravinsky experimented with Serialism.

    • Philip says:

      It is indeed a bit odd that they would include Stravinsky as a ‘special bonus’ – which makes perfect sense – but not use one of his serial works.

  • Larry says:

    Brilliant! Thanks for sharing Norman.

  • Martin Carpenter says:

    Genius stuff – who put it together ?

    • John Borstlap says:

      Conductor Matthias Bamert. The voice says in the beginning: ‘The Matthias Bamert Society….”

      • Tito Munoz says:

        It was a Cleveland Orchestra assistant conductor collaboration, written by Matthias Bamert and Kenneth Jean… and narrated by Robert Conrad, founder and longtime radio announcer of Cleveland’s classical music radio station WCLV.

        • Nelson says:

          Yes! This is correct. Norman, it would be good (and only fair) if you, unlike the person uploading this video, gave Robert Conrad credit. Also, this version is missing the end of the clip, present in another youtube upload of it.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    Funny, but unfair. As are so many things that are funny.

  • Mayflower says:

    I laughed hysterically! Am still laughing 10 minutes later.

  • John Borstlap says:

    It’s hilarious….. It seems that the conductor Mathias Bamert is behind it, clearly he doesn’t quite believe in the value of atonal dodecaphony (or: dodecacaphony as it is also often called).

    But not everything in the collection is 12-tone, like Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire which should be defended, it is still (just yet) tonal, and tragically expressive, since the music refers to traditional tonal music all the time. The same goes for his Five Orchestral Pieces, which sound like late Mahler in overdrive. But good music survives funny jokes.



  • Carl Grapentine says:

    That’s the work (and narration) of Robert Conrad, longtime program director of WCLV Radio, Cleveland’s classical radio station.

  • Wxerby says:

    In addition, here’s a bluegrass celebration of atonal music!


  • Robert Ryker says:

    And we played all of these works…