Thursday, 9 May 2013

Re-imagining the Classics. . .

I'm sure that for most classical music lovers, it's fairly sacrilegious to write that I'm not the greatest fan of Bach.  I can admire his technical mastery, but I start to twitch if I have to listen to his music for too long (give me Beethoven or Rachmaninov anytime ).  

However. . . 

Add a double bass, a guitar, a drum and the bad boy of British violins, Nigel Kennedy, and all of a sudden Bach sounds bloody marvelous. 

Kennedy was playing at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall last week and it was so fantastic to hear him live. He showcased music from his latest CD, Recital, in which he not only re-arranges Bach but several Fats Waller tunes (I dare anyone to listen to I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby and not break out into a smile). There's  a very interesting version of Take Five, made famous of course by Dave Brubeck and his band, and some original compositions, of which Viper's Drag is my favourite; it's extremely catchy and slinky.  The CD is a wonderful mixture of musical influences and I've been listening to it almost non-stop since I bought it. 

I was also able to catch Matthew Bourne's production of Sleeping Beauty. It was Tchaikovsky's music, but with the added subtitle of A Gothic Romance and came complete with a vampiric fairy (he bites the hero, allowing him to still be around a hundred years later to kiss the princess awake), dancers in modern day hoodies and some fairly innovative and amusing puppetry.   I saw Bourne's amazing all-male Swan Lake several years ago in London, and while I don't think Sleeping Beauty was as good choreographically, it certainly was visually stunning, both the set and costumes, and I can definitely appreciate the creativity that went into the production.  I'm never a purist about these things - I really do appreciate artists who take the classics - in any genre-  and re-interpret them in interesting ways.

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