Can rock and clas­si­cal share a sonic space? The case for and against, your hon­our

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - TICKET STUBS - Tony Clay­ton-Lea

The temp­ta­tion to mix rock mu­sic and clas­si­cal is of­ten too great for most mu­si­cians, but in re­cent weeks we’ve two ex­am­ples of when it works well: Teenage Fan club’s Fran­cis MacDon­ald’s Mu­sic for String, Pi­ano & Ce­leste; and Ice­land’s Ola­fur Ar­nalds and clas­si­cal pi­anist Alice Sara Ott’s The Chopin Project. Each tapped into clas­si­cal mu­sic while be­ing re­spect­ful of its her­itage and adding some­thing idio­syn­cratic and ex­per­i­men­tal. Other mu­si­cians, how­ever, don’t al­ways strike such a suc­cess­ful bal­ance.

THREE of the BEST Switched-On Bach Wal­ter/Wendy Car­los( 1968) A mar­mite record with in the genre, for sure, but no less a fig­ure than Glenn Gould said thatt his al­bum was the finest per­for­mance of Bach’s Bran­den­burg Con­certo she had ever heard.

Black Aria Glenn Danzig( 1992) Sur­prise! Hard­core punk guy Danzig de­liv­ers an all-in­stru­men­tal clas­si­cal mu­sic/opera al­bum. “This is not a rock record,” it states on the cover, which is both a warn­ing and a state­ment. You bet.

The Juliet Let­ters Elvis Costello & Brod­sky Quar­tet( 1993) Yet an­other non-rep­re­sen­ta­tive curve­ball in Costello’s (above) var­ied ca­reer.

THREE of the WORST Pic­tures at an Ex­hi­bi­tion ELP( 1971) UK prog rock trio Emer­son, Lake & Palmer tackle Mus­sorgsky’s renowned pi­ano suite. “I can say that I lis­tened to it twice tonight,” wrote Lester Bangs in his re­view in Rolling Stone, “beat­ing my fists on the floor and laugh­ing…”

The Doors Con­certo Nigel Kennedy (2000) In which Nigel Kennedy’s vi­o­lin– ac­com­pa­nied by Prague Sym­phony Orches­tra –re­places the­vo­cal­sofJimMor­ri­son.The re­sults bear lit­tle re­sem­blance to the orig­i­nal songs.

Fan­tasies & Delu­sions Billy Joel (2001) Pi­anist Richard Joo per­forms Billy Joel’s im­pres­sion­is­tic faux-clas­si­cal pieces. Some­times, an al­bum ti­tle say it all.

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