Posts Tagged ‘christopher o’riley

24
Dec
09

Le Grand Tango – Christopher O’Riley & Carter Brey (2009)

Yes, I know it is a shock that we here at HiFi Central would actually listen to classical…and perhaps even more bizarre and random, Tango music!  However, if you have been following this blog since its creation all of our contributers listen to just about everything; any good self-proclaimed connesiour of music should; would you not agree?

Often when I am searching out for a good classical album I specfically look for cello heavy albums; for me the cello creates a depth to classical music that most other instruments do not.  Cello and piano duets are like peanut butter and jelly, perfect together and made for each other, add perhaps the occasional “glass of milk” (oboe, viola, or bassoon) and the culmination will create the perfect sounding classical album.

One of my favorite cello and piano albums is by Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax Beethoven: Cello Sonata Opus 102 No.1 on Sony Classical; it has been a very difficult one to top (Ma and Ax have collaborated on several other titles on the Sony Classical label), however I believe that O’Riley (piano) and Brey (cello) have produced a Tango album that just may rival Ma and Ax.  I understand that there is a very large contrast between listening to works by Ludwig Beethoven vs. Astor Piazzolla.  My point is the overall quality of the music, not the specific era styles.  First of all the sound quality is superb and the playing top notch; secondly, the selection of songs are excellent.  This albums really provides the listener with a better understanding with regard to the complexity and beauty of Tango music.  Please know that this is not a Latino-Salsa album, it is strictly classical.

Highlights on this album are the songs Escualo. Milonga En Re, and Le Grand Tango.  These songs are intense and then change to being mellow and serene in an instant; clearly great care was taken in both writing these pieces but also understanding how to play them.  If you appreciate classical music and wish to expand your collection this is a perfect album.  Yes, I’m sure you have a raised eyebrow with regard to Tango, but check it out on LaLa.com and see for yourself.  I was very impressed and ended up buying the album, I can’t stop playing it.

Le Grand Tango gets 4 out of 5 stars.

22
Dec
09

Christopher O’Riley – Home to Oblivion (Elliott Smith)

Being an Elliott Smith fan I was really sad to hear about his passing a few years ago; it was a huge loss to the music world.  Smith’s work, although popular among certain circles, remains still unheard by many, even posthumously he has not received the accolades he deserves for his profound contributions he made with his music.

A few years after his death I was introduced through a segment on National Public Radio (NPR) about a number of tribute albums being released in his honor.  One in particular that caught my attention was by classical pianist Christopher O’Riley.  O’Riley had been a fan of Smith’s compositions and noted how complicated and uniquely structured they were for someone who was not formally trained in writing music; he decided to transcribe them for piano in honor of Smith’s genius. 

Home To Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute (2006) is O’Riley’s fantastic representation of a variety of Smith’s work in the classical style.  O’Riley hand picked the songs he liked from a broad spectrum of albums spanning Smith’s early work on Roman Candle (1994) to his last album A Basement On The Hill (2004) which was unfinished and released shortly after his death.

The album is sincere and slow, clearly O’Riley’s intentions were to create an album that would both represent the beauty of Smith’s arrangements yet also create a mood for the listener to reflect upon how much more could have been if Smith was alive today.  O’Riley has done several tribute albums reflecting the music of Radiohead and the late Nick Drake. 

Although a solid album a  highlights  would be “Let’s Get Lost” and “I Don’t Understand”, simply incredible and worth buying just for those songs alone.  You can listen to the album in its entirety prior to buying by going to LaLa Music and typing O’Riley’s name in the search bar.

Christopher O’Riley’s Home To Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute gets 4 out of 5 stars.




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