Latest In Classical-Crossover And New Age Is Recorders And Synthesizers


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Take a look at the Classical-Crossover Charts these days, and you will see a whole wide variety of recordings that mix-and-match styles, sounds and all kinds of instrumentation with classical music. Wow, a cornucopia of weirdness. Sure, there are a few classical musicians who take compositions from hundreds of years ago and play them on instruments from those eras to try to give us an idea of what it was like if you were standing in the mud and muck centuries ago listening. But the rest of the classical music world like to re-imagine those melodies using modern instrumentation (sort of like when they do a Shakespeare play using modern language). Which brings me to my point. The latest fascinating crossover release to cross over my desk is BACH SIDE OF THE MOON by the duo Piers Adams & Larry Lush, and they mix the warm, flute-y, woodsy sounds of modern recorders with layers of gently-floating electronic washes (true synth sounds).

Their dip into the past are the adagios written by classical-music favorites Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Albinoni, Sammartini, Purcell and Gluck. Some of the pieces were actually written for the recorder (which was just another normal instrument in the 18th Century before practically disappearing for nearly 200 years), and others were written for flutes (which are manufactured just a bit differently than a recorder, but sound similar). Other material was originally conceived for oboes (also in the same realm as an instrument). Adams & Piers take excerpts from these so the tunes stay in the three-and-a-half-minute to six-minute range. Besides the concertos and opus this and sonata that, there are “Dido’s Lament” from the opera “Dido and Aeneas), “Eternal Source of Light” (from “Birthday Ode for Queen Anne”) and “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” (from “Orfeo”).

The end result is something that sounds like a cross between the Brian Eno or Steve Roach school of synthesizer music, and a Native American Indian playing a wood-flute around a campfire (if that native was schooled in the 18th Century classics, of course). Anyway, it works. It is mellow, soothing, relaxing, interesting, stress-reducing, chill-out music perfect for the modern world. I would think new age audiences, as well as those classical-crossover lovers, should by all means enjoy it.