by: Hobart Taylor
Various Artists - re:works - (Decca)
Henrik Schwarz, Solomon Grey, Fort Romeau, Patrice Bamuel, Kate Simko, Mr Scruff and Starkey have remixed classical composers Satie, Bach, Rachmaninov, Beethoven and Reich. Electronica meets classics and it all sounds like soundtracks from science fiction movies... which is not necessarily a bad thing. I like Ulrich Schnauss' remix of Bach's Prelude and Fugue in C, (Wendy Carlos updated),Faultline's take on the Faure Requiem, Schwarz's stinging electronic pizacatto on on a Debussy String Quartet, the disco jazz based Steve Reich tune Six Pianos by Mr. Scruff,the deep house version of Satie's Gnossienne No. 4, Sakamoto's "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" by Francesco Tristano (most creative cut... a cut and paste masterpiece,like reading William Burroughs), and Steve Reich's piece "Drumming " re-mixed by Patrice Baumel.
Chiara String Quartet - Bartok By Heart (The Complete String Quartets) - Two CDs (Azica)
I am often a fan of the energy,passion, and awareness of multiple performance traditions across genres young performers bring to classical music. These Cds are a prime example. The violins and the viola are full of intense vibrato, the ensemble feels almost improvisational in the intensity of their musical conversations, and the dynamics ebb and swell while maintaining extraordinary tonal vibrancy.