La Scena Musicale The Lebrecht Report: CDs of the Week – Shuffle.Play.Listen ****

October 16, 2011

**** It’s a terrible title for some terrific music. Cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley have eclectic tastes that they’d like to share. Take a suite from Bernard Herrmann’s music for Hitchcock’s movie Vertigo and intersperse its episodes with vaguely related pieces by Stravinsky, Martinu, Janacek and Piazzolla. That’s the first disc, and it’s a blinder.

The second is even better – a set of O’Riley arrangements of recent rock numbers and some jazz, going from Arcade Fire’s Empty Room (2011) back to Radiohead’s magical Pyramid Song and fast-forward to the same group’s Weird Fishes (2007). Known to me or unknown, it’s compelling stuff, sitting perfectly on the two instruments. The oldest it gets is a 1971 Dance of Maya by John McLaughlin.

I can’t wait to play this CD to people a third of my age and set them guessing where it’s from. The categories are irrelevant. This is good music, fabulously played. I can see where they are coming from with the title, but it gives no sense of the content. This could well be the coolest classical disc of the year.


by Norman Lebrecht

View at La Scena Musicale

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