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Somewhat of a first for me in terms of albums owned, 'Pieces in a Modern Style' is a culmination of classical music performed in a uniquely eccentric and offbeat modern, almost trance-like fashion. Produced by the well known William Orbit, co-conspirator with Madonna on more than one occasion, and man of considerable breadth of talent, this album seems to offer an awful lot in way of content. Opening with a beautiful modern interpretation of Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber, this album sets a mood of serenity and peaceful relaxation. Unfortunately, this album does not include the oft-airplayed remix of this piece, which sounds even better (and considerably more modern!). None the less, this is a sombre and attractive version of the classic, and is beautifully orchestrated. The second track on the album is the strange and bizarre "In a Landscape", originally composed by John Cage. Mellow, light and quite upbeat, it isn't some much a bad tune, as a slightly mediocre one compared to others on this CD. Moving along is "Ogive Number 1", originally composed by Erik Satie. Opening with the sound of a helicopter flying overhead, this has a very modern and up to date aural feel. The pace of the tune is light and inoffensive, and there is a light, gentle, warm quality about this number. "Cavalleria Rusticana" on the other hand, is beautiful. Truely gorgeous. Originally composed by Pietro Mascagni, this interpretation sounds even better with awesome use of fades and panning. This is truely the standout track on this album. This is a lovely track. Next in line is "Pavane pour une infante defunte" by the composer "Maurice Ravel". A very gentle, dreamlike and softly played number, this is very relaxing and emphatically sweet. "L'Inverno", originally by "Vilvadi" again, is beautiful and heartfelt. A melodic, lovely number to begin
with, this interpretation does the original a lot of justice. It sounds fantastic in a modern setting. Track 7 is "Triple Concerto" by Beethoven. Powerful, poigniant and intense, this is a much louder, strong and dramatic. Again, this is a quality interpretation, and sure to charge the listeners emotions. This is followed by "Xerxes" by Handel, a emotional piano-based, relaxing and stirring adaptation of a very high quality indeed. "Pieces in the old style 1 and 3" follow, by Henryk Gorecki. These are very atmospheric, both instances starting with futuristic, sci-fi esque melodic preludes, these are both full of great ideas and unusual melodic interludes. There are a lot of good ideas here, and both are particularly intriguing and worthy of a good listen. Both modern and experimental in sound, this is a eye raising interpretation. The album concludes with "Opus 132" by Beethoven, this being a stunning take on the original, with ambient use of electronic keyboads, sweeping synth and melodic backing. Very much in keeping with the modern aspects emphasised on this album, this is a particularly stirring number to close on. In summary this album is packed with fantastic classical interpretations, some of which are very beautiful. A couple of the tracks aren't quite as stirring, and others don't fit the modern treatment quite as well. But as a whole this is an original and interesting concept, and has a quite beautiful sound.
I first heard the name William Orbit associated with the production of a rather "unique" pop song by good old Harry Enfield. Remember "Loadsamoney" - erm, I do, but thankfully William Orbit can now be associated with a much more appreciative audience!! His current release, "Pieces in a modern style" is an eclectic combination of musical geniuses. William Orbit uses his fantastic musical ability and production skills to great effect and uses his magic on some of the world's most famous and able composers. I have found this album to be most relaxing and thought provoking. I have always been an advocate of listening to music to wind down and this album is now the one I use the most. Orbit plays all of the instruments himself, proving himself to be a master musician. This truly is a fantastic mix of past and present genius musicians. The music can be described as haunting, beautiful and emotional. I have heard his other works but I do believe this is his best to date. William Orbit is also responsible for the production of many fantastic recent chart hits and albums. MADONNA The most famous woman in pop owes a great deal to William Orbit. He is the producer of her highly acclaimed album "Ray of Light" and worked along side French producer Mirwais on the current smash hit album "Music". His touch is unmistakeable. The synths, the modern sounds, the classical touches, they are all there and are responsible for the queen of pop's latest reinvention. ALL SAINTS The band may be having personal problems as of late but who can deny these girls from the credit they deserve. Shaznay is the prime songwriter who writes fantastic tracks and the combination of her skills with William Orbit on the smash hit "Pure Shores" produced perhaps the most memorable hit of 2000. MELANIE C William Orbit aided Melanie C with the productio
n of the first track on her "Northern Star" album - "Go". The track itself is slightly more rockier than anything else Orbit has worked on but yet again he adds his genius touch to what undoubtedly is one of the best albums of 2000. (Read my review for details). William Orbit is in high demand. The likes of Blur and several high profile American rock bands would love to work with him and I can guarantee that any collaboration would be worth a listen. To find out more, listen to the album "Pieces in a modern style" and other works by himself and the artists he has worked with. The music speaks for itself. Your comments are most welcome.
Pieces in a modern style, what is that you may say. Well, Mr Orbit, of Madonna production fame has reworked 11 classical pieces of music, using today’s electronic equipment. Oh my god, you could shriek, Heathen, philistine, butcher. Ahhhhh, go all the classical music lovers. Well that is one reaction, here is a more considered one. Does this work? Well the answer is partly, of course the single from this Album was Adagio for strings, that haunting piece by Barber, famously used by Platoon and the reworking of this track works, because it sticks closely to the original, although synthesised violins cannot match the real stuff. Other pieces include those by Beethoven, Vivaldi and Handel, and these are better as there has been some real re-working of the music to make it fit a modern style. There are some other lesser known composers works used such as Gorecki and Satie, I certainly had not heard of them and so these pieces were completely new to me. As a person who likes classical music, but is not an avid collector, (I have about 7 classical CD’s), this CD is quite refreshing, it is certainly relaxing to listen to and had 2 or three excellent tracks. A few re-workings do not work which lets the album down a bit. But then was an excellent idea and has been well executed. This is a not a CD for everybody, but is good listening, some pieces are worse than the originals but a couple are much better. If it could have 3 and a half stars it would get that, but it will be four stars for the originality of the idea, even though it did not quite work. An interesting listen, but not worth rushing out for.
Probably most popular for producing with Madonna, he’s gone and made this album called Pieces in a Modern Style. I was first attracted to this album by the first track by Samuel Barber, no not just because he has the same second name as me, but I loved Adagio for Strings. I heard it a media clip and I was hooked! I find this kind of music really relaxing. Yes there are a few tracks that sound a bit weird but you get used to them. But don’t think that this is that kind of fast hippie music. It’s quite slow and relaxing.
This latest album from William Orbit focuses on bringing classical pieces upto date by performing them with synths, strings, etc... It works very well, and the overall effect is good, it's just not as good as some of his earlier work. Adigio for Strings is a great track, but the Tall Paul remix (included on the Single) was a better version.... It's great to relax too, but it can be a bit too much for background music, so it's application is a little limited. The performances of Handels Largo form X, and John Cages In A Landscape stand out for me as being among the best songs here. If you like classical music then you'll like this, and if you're into Wiliam Orbit you won't be disappointed either. But for those who think this is going to be like Madonna and All Saints styles that he's worked on, leave it in the shop....
I must admit I was slightly disappointed with this album. With a title such as this I half expected a loada classical music turned semi-trance in an uplifting and original way. However what i got was simply classical pieces copied with new instruments. Whilst I do actually like the album and listen to it quite often, it wasn't what I bought the album for and would have preferred a more up-tempo, "pieces in a MODERN style" sound. Barber's Adagio is undoubtedly the best on the album and I'm not saying that simply because of it's public success, but because I think it's the most spiritual and emotional track on the the album. It never fails to work it's magic on me. However, I would have preferred the remix to have been included on the album as that what has most affect on me, and also, what the public know Orbit for. i am a huge fan of the man and still like this album as a collection of music. It just wasn't what I was expecting and if you, like me, were after something with at least some up tempo elements you will be disappointed. There is little variation in pace and the pieces are much like their original format. But it can still be a good album, just for different reasons...I find it excellent to relax with or do my homework!! (good thing/bad thing?)
William Orbit shot to fame as the producer that restored Madonna to the top of the music world, and here he gives his trademark mixing and sampling to famous classical excerpts, ranging from Satie to Samuel Barber. It’s a nice album, and makes a nice change to listen to. Orbit should do some soundtracks, although his sound is actually becoming mainstream and he is clearly finding it hard to alter his style. Hard to believe this was the same man who produced Harry Enfield’s eighties hit Loadsa Money! If you like classical music with an edge, then Pieces In A Modern Style is definitely for you. Let’s see if Orbit can branch out and do some appealing albums in the footsteps of someone like Chicane.
Although William Orbit has produced the fantastic Strange Cargo collection (think the Mars Celebration advert - all my favourites in miniature) Pieces in a Modern Style comes across to me as a poorly veiled attempt to make money. The album, mainly riding on the back of his Barbers Adagio for Strings remix (which incidentally isn't included here in remix form), is not like other albums a dance oriented collection, but merely a reproduction of various classical pieces from Samuel Barber et al (including Gorecki, Vivaldi and Beethoven) but with modern instruments. However appealing this may sound the a classical fan, believe me it isn't. The overall production is good but the pieces seem to loose a lot of feeling from this change of instruments, and Orbit's originalitiy and sparkle are missing. Whether a William Orbit fan, or a fan of the classical pieces on the album, this offering would come as a bitter disappointment. Best avoided I feel.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Adagio for strings (Samuel Barber)
2 In a landscape (John Cage)
3 Ogive Number 1 (Erik Satie)
4 Cavalleria Rusticana (Pietro Mascagri)
5 Pavane pour une infante defunte (Maurice Ravel)
6 L'Inverno (Antonio Vivaldi)
7 Triple Concerto (Ludwig Van Beethoven)
8 Xerxes (George Frideric Handel)
9 Piece in the old style 1 (Henryk Gorecki)
10 Piece in the old style 3 (Henryk Gorecki)
11 Opus 132 (Ludwig Van Beethoven)