A Different Prelude
2000 / Decca Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
A Different Prelude is a follow-up to the incredible “A Different Mozart”, which was released in 1996 on Imaginary Road Records. With Dawn Atkinson once again at the helm as producer, this new release is equally exciting. With selections by composers such Bach, Chopin, Debussy, Gershwin, and Satie, the range is broad and the styles of the various artists are diverse, but this album holds together as a seamless and fascinating mix!
The album opens with Patrick O’Hearn playing the Bach Cello Suite #1. The melody is true to the original, with the addition of a catchy rhythm track and ambient electronic sounds in the background. That the piece is immediately recognizable in a new setting indicates just how timeless this music is. Violinist Charlie Bisharat is one of my all-time favorite musicians, and he gives the Chopin Prelude #6 in B minor a surprising Latin flavor with his violin accompanied by Spanish guitar and light percussion - a very refreshing interpretation of this haunting piece! Trumpeter Chris Botti jazzes things up with a great, slinky version of Gershwin’s Prelude #2. One of the highlights is Dawn Atkinson’s debut as a recording artist playing Chopin’s Prelude #20 in C minor. A combination of piano, voice, and keyboards, this is a very stirring and evocative arrangement that brings it right into the present. I couldn’t imagine Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C# minor as a guitar solo, but Steve Erquiaga more than pulls it off. Richard Schonherz gives Chopin’s Prelude #4 in E minor a gentle percussion and synth accompaniment to the original piano solo. Clara Ponty plays Debussy’s “Girl With the Flaxen Hair” with the grace and elegance of her former classical piano performing career. Tim Story closes the collection with a gorgeous version of Eric Satie’s “Heroic Gate of Heaven”.
Adaptations of well-known classical music often fall flat, but A Different Prelude is strong from start to finish, and should appeal to classical music lovers as well as fans of contemporary instrumental music. One can hear a very strong respect to even reverence for the original pieces. A Different Prelude will undoubtedly be on my Top 10 Favorites for the Year 2000, and I very highly recommend it!
March 3, 2000