Tallman Tracker Organ Recital to bring out the humor in classical music

Humor is usually not immediately associated with classical music, but it is there upon close inspection.

Jared Jacobsen will hold a magnifying glass to the humor of classical music at 12:15 p.m. Monday in the Hall of Christ during the Tallman Tracker Organ Recital. The Tallman recital has been moved to Monday from Tuesday due to Old First Night activities. Jacobsen, organist and coordinator of worship and sacred music, said there is actually a good amount of comedic music for the organ; it’s just rarely played.

“There are amazing combinations of words and music, very sly and very wry,” Jacobsen said.

Some of the pieces Jacobsen will play were funny from the beginning. He said he has an arrangement of “Pop! Goes the Weasel” — also the title of the program — that is “pure fun” and “Birthday Suit(e)” by Robert Jones.

Other pieces in the program are remixes of more conventional works. “Eine Kleine Lift Musik” is a rendition of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Eine kleine Nachtmusik,” Jacobsen said, and is composed as if Mozart was commissioned to make elevator music.

“He was never too snooty to accept money to pay the rent or to pay his bar tab,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen said he tries to use humor as much as he can in his daily life and when he works with the choirs at Chautauqua Institution. He said he could be a “dictator,” but instead focuses on having fun with the music and the vocalists. One of his favorite things, he said, is hearing the Amphitheater erupt with laughter.

“Without humor, we would be in a pretty sorry state of affairs, it seems to me,” Jacobsen said.

Tags : HumorJared JacobsenRecitalTallman Tracker OrganWeek six

The author Delaney Van Wey

Delaney Van Wey is reporting on the Interfaith Lecture Series this summer. Although she is from Gowanda, this is her first time at Chautauqua Institution. She is studying journalism and international relations at Syracuse University, where she previously worked as assistant news editor at The Daily Orange. Contact her at or on Twitter, @DelaneyVanWey.