Toolbox Classics - Liner Notes

The music (and tool) world is still buzzing from Woody Phillips? cutting-edge recording, A Toolbox Christmas. Music fans around the world have been thrilled and inspired by the maestro's seasonal masterpiece. Woody has recently emerged from his musical workshop hidden away deep in the Jigsaw Mountains, which stand majestically above the Anvil Planes of Abram, where he has completed yet another hand- and power-tool musical milestone.

Toolbox Classics is Maestro Woody's latest offering to his legion of faithful fans. Bach, Mozart, Strauss, Wagner and other, ahem, fortunate composers of the 18th and 19th centuries have been immortalized once more by Woody Phillips. Marvel as the maestro explores the full range of the workbench?s symphonic palette to create dazzling new versions of long-beloved classics. So put on your safety goggles, light the acetylene torch, sit back and enjoy your favorite classical music skillfully crafted on hand and power tools.

Maestro Richard Strauss once said, "I look forward to the day I can describe a teaspoon accurately in music." Had he just lived 50 years longer, Mr. Strauss could have marveled at his composition Thus Spake Zarathustra redefined by a table saw, drill press, pipes and a fifty gallon drum.

Many a little finger has learned to master the piano with the aid of Ellmenreich's Spinning Song. Recently Maestro Woody has been told by some of his fans that this piece brings back painful memories: visions of forced piano lessons and a domineering teacher with bad breath. Please, sit back and let the maestro help you relive this composition through the magic of a table saw, pneumatic nailer and 2x4s.

One can almost smell the rose on her lips and feel the gypsy passion of Carmen within the echoing timbres of ratchets, hand planes and 2x4s. Though there is no bull in this arrangement, you'll find yourself shouting olé, encore and ¡Ay, caliente!

Young Peer Gynt enters In The Hall of the Mountain King to seek the hand of the beautiful princess Olga. He is soon attacked by horrible troll courtiers, troll witches, troll maidens, troll booths, gnomes and brownies. An imp attaches himself to our protagonist's ear. Just then, a great voice tells him the way to freedom and, with the aid of bells, birds and women, our hero is free. He wakes up the next day and says, "What I wouldn't do for a pickled herring!"

We all know the maestro is both a smoked-fish maven and a big Henrik Ibsen fan. Thus, he was inspired to create a new arrangement of Edvard Grieg's exciting piece. (Incidentally, Woody's Danish grandfather Spruce Phillips actually helped on the construction of Ibsen's Doll House.)

With Maestro Phillip's brilliance, Aram Khachaturian's Sabre Dance has taken a "great leap forward." Comrade Woody devised a five-year plan for this arrangement, but in just five minutes he was putting on the second finish. Khachaturian also composed Song of Stalin, which made him a favorite among the early Soviet authorities. In his honor, the maestro has added hammer and sickle to the mix.

While bathing in a stream outside of Bayreuth, the maestro once had an incredible experience. A beautiful swan perched beside him and, as Woody beheld the beauty of this creature, she told such a story that to this day it still "hammers" on his brain: How her father took away her Valkyrie gig, made her sit on a wall of fire, how she was once a goddess, something about a ring, Siegmund and Sieglinde, three maidens bathing in the Rhine, a little Nibelung, the blood of a dragon. Oy, such a story! Woody, being the gentleman that he is, took her out for a nice meal of sauerbraten and a couple of steins of heavenly mead at the Einheríar Bar & Grill. It was there that she revealed that she was the fallen Valkyrie Brünnhilde. She then offered the maestro a one-way trip to Valhalla. Well, as we all know, the Woodmeister is needed here on Earth. The benevolent maestro has offered this tribute to her courage. Please enjoy his rendering of Richard Wagner's big hit, The Ride of the Valkyries.

Johann Sebastian Bach was, of course, one of the greatest composers and organists ever born. He was also the father of 20 children. In homage to the great Konzertmeister and Kindermacher, Woody performs Air (on a G string) on solo musical saw with cello and violin. One can only surmise that Bach himself was quite proficient on the saw with all those little kinder to make cribs and highchairs for. A well-tempered man, Bach would often jot down furniture designs in his Notebook of Anna Magdalena Bach. Bach was not afraid to pull out all the stops and the maestro is sure that Johann would have loved a ratchet, hand saw and drill press motor stop for Musette & March and Toccata in D minor. Indeed, a hand saw would have been most desirable for the Kapellmeister during his month-long stretch in the Weimar slammer for jumping his gig with Duke Wilhelm.

On a recent trip abroad the maestro discovered some pieces Amadeus composed in a Viennese furniture shop (Tyrolean Bed & Frame) where he worked part-time to support his art. Gems such as Die Handplane und der Ratchet, Il Drill Press di Figaro and the unforgettable Eima Inkleinde Pneumatische Musik. Wolfgang would often celebrate the birth of these unknown gems with a heaping portion of his favorite dessert, cosi fan tutti-frutte. The present piece, Rondo alla Turca, is often confused with the mid-20th century western composition entitled The Help Me Rondo.

Paul Dukas was a contemporary of Debussy and d'Indy. He collaborated with Debussy and Saint-Saëns and arranged works by Wagner, Beethoven, Couperin and Scarlatti. Obsessively self-critical, Dukas took to destroying many of his own scores. He would have most likely torched his masterpiece, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, had he known that it would later be interpreted by a madcap maestro and a large-eared animated rodent (both of whom reside in California). The inspiration for this arrangement came to the maestro while waiting in line for a vegi-dog at Magic Kingdom.

The New College Encyclopedia of Music paints an exciting image of Beethoven's middle period: "The tyranny of his ideas made him impatient of technical restrictions, and he could be merciless to voices and instruments." Now our beloved maestro has taken this idea -- and Beethoven's Fifth -- and has gone where no man has gone before. Bravo, Maestro! Bravo!

In Rimsky-Korsakov's opera, The Legend of the Tsar Salton, a prince turns into a bee and stings his annoying relatives. Now, through the magic of Woody's eclectic arrangement, we can all experience exactly what the prince had in mind.

Johann Strauss, Jr. has always been a favorite of Maestro Woody Phillips?. Like Strauss, Woody loves a grand party with a full orchestra. It is with this love and mirth that he uses the full tool palette for The Blue Danube. One can almost feel the flow of the Danube and smell the hot strudel echoing through the chorus of tools. It is a little known fact that Woody was Director of Mall Music for Court Balls in Milpitas, California, and Director of Ball Music for Court Malls at the Great Mall of America in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Upon receiving his second masters at that bastion of knowledge, Ratchet-upon-Hammer, Maestro Phillips celebrated the riveting occasion with a tool tribute to his favorite 18th and 19th century composers. He recently refinished his dissertation on The Contemporary Composer: 120-Grit Sandpaper and its Effects on Margarita Making in Central California at the Dawn of the Third Millennium. The maestro and his wife are currently a hot bet for the talk show circuit, discussing the controversial subject of "maestros, power tools and the women who love them."

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