By Ricky O’Bannon
robannon@bsomusic.org

Violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman is a man of many talents, but he probably surprised a few fans recently when he posted a Facebook video showing off his skills with a blender.

The melody — for the still befuddled — is from the Civil War era “Aura Lea,” which is better known as the tune for Elvis’ “Love Me Tender.”

Perlman is far from the first talented musician to find instruments in surprising places. YouTube is a treasure trove of unusual classical covers done with everything from rollerblades to shop equipment. They might not all be great art, but it’s hard to deny the creativity and hard work that went into many of these reimagined classical covers.

1. Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 on wine bottles and roller blades

Michel Lauzière is a Canadian comic who bills himself as “master of the unusual.” His roller blade performances might have helped inspire the band OK Go’s Needing/Getting music video.

2. Bizet’s Carmen on shop tools and various percussion

Zic Zazou is a French street band of nine multi-instrumentalists. Some of those instruments are traditional and some of those can be found at your local hardware store.

3. Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D Minor on giant piano

FAO Schwartz in New York sells a version of this giant piano mat should you want to try this yourself. Learning the actual piano might be easier.

4. Mozart’s Adagio in C Major on glass on water glasses

The glass harp or glass harmonica has become something of a novelty, but in the late 1700s the instrument was performed across Europe by musicians and composers such as Christoph Williband Gluck. Benjamin Franklin actually tinkered with the design after hearing it on a trip to London.

5. Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5 on the bellowphone

You can be forgiven for not having heard of the “majestic bellowphone” as only one man plays it. Leonard Solomon is a classically trained musician and inventor who plays shows as a one-man-band using his varied creations. It’s also worth checking out his cover of the Light Cavalry Overture by Franz von Suppé.