382

Uri Caine: The Classical Variations

By

Sign in to view read count
The Classical Variations is, in effect, a commemoration of Uri Caine's decade-long series of ambitious and sometimes idiosyncratic explorations of classical repertoire from Bach to Mahler. It combines previously released selections from Caine's Winter & Winter CDs along with unreleased material. A little more than half the material has appeared in previous releases focused on Beethoven, Mozart, Schumann, Wagner and Mahler, while the unreleased, generally recent, material focuses on Bach, Mahler and Verdi.

The selection immediately makes apparent the breadth and scale of Caine's work, drawing on musicians from baroque specialists Quartetto Italiano di Viole da Gamba (for two new Goldberg variations) to turntablist DJ Logic (another new Bach variation) with everything that might be described as in between: classical choirs, gospel singers, poets and post-bop jazz bands. Part of Caine's success comes from his profound understanding of his material, its internal dynamics and elasticity (eg, "The Desdemona Variation" on Verdi's Othello with singer Josefine Lindstrand and a jazz quartet). That may account for the sensitivity and intelligence of much of this music.

What counts for more, though, is Caine's wit and his developed sense of the creative collision. You get it in "Only Love Beauty," in which divergent notions of the spiritual in music arise in the contrasting pitch inflections of Barbara Walker and the Kettwiger Bach Ensemble. It's there too in the rambunctious stride piano of "The Fats Variation," a Waller-esque take on Bach, or in the almost hypothetical account of Mozart's "Turkish Rondo," pushing it into a raw, modal, middle Eastern-flavored group improvisation.

Caine's variations are as apt to restore an original melodic grace as to deconstruct historical context, liberating the music in the exercise of his own freedom. While this is likeliest to serve as an introduction to his varied classical projects, there's enough new material here to appeal to the committed.

Track Listing: Only Love Beauty [after Mahler]; Variation XXXII [after Beethoven, Diabelli Variations]; Variation XXXIII [after Beethoven, Diabelli Variations]; Variation 10 for Fortepiano and Viola da Gamba Quartet [after Bach, Goldberg Variations]; H

Personnel: Uri Caine: piano; Barbara Walker: vocals; Mark Ledford: vocals; David Moss: vocals; Josefine Lindstrand: vocals; Kettwiger Bach Ensemble: choir; Wolfgang Kl

Title: The Classical Variations | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Winter & Winter


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Heaven On Their Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review Horizonte
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Prague After Dark" CD/LP/Track Review Prague After Dark
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Sektion 1-2" CD/LP/Track Review Sektion 1-2
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 21, 2016
Read "The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Heart Knows" CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.