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Moodswings
Richard Rodney Bennett, Lars von Bjork / Sjon / Trier, Elvis / O'Riordan, Cait Costello
Moodswings
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1

The brilliant Brodsky Quartet is at it again, offering entertaining, virtuosic collaborations with stars of the pop music world with which both classical and popular music lovers will be equally entranced. Whether it's lol...  more »

      
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Amazon.com
The brilliant Brodsky Quartet is at it again, offering entertaining, virtuosic collaborations with stars of the pop music world with which both classical and popular music lovers will be equally entranced. Whether it's lolling strings underpinning Meredith Monk's enchanting, wordless syllables or assisting Jacqui Dankworth in a torch-like ballad (The Abyss) or nervous pizzicati to go along with a song by Sting, the ear is constantly being treated to a new surprise: if a quartet of strings and a voice can do it, they do it here. Errolyn Wallen and the Brodskys offer a languid ballad called "Daedalus," while Bjork puts her usual, original (if vaguely tiresome) stamp on "I've Seen It All." The CD opens and closes with songs sung by Elvis Costello whose unique, vibrato-filled voice remains remarkably expressive; the last number, "Real Emotional Girl," is a Randy Newman song in which the strings of the Brodskys feel and put across the singer's anguish in equal partnership. A one-of-a-kind CD. --Robert Levine

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CD Reviews

Appropriate Title for Sharp Performances on a Bumpy Road
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 06/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Brodsky Quartet remains as audacious as ever with their new recording. This time out, the intensely dramatic string quartet spent time in select UK schools where they composed new songs with schoolchildren. Those are presented here alongside the quartet's arrangements of songs by more established writers such as Elvis Costello, Sting, Björk and Ron Sexsmith. The result could have been a mess, but it's not. Far from it, it's a soulful and sometimes challenging album adhering together rather tenuously as an avant-garde theatrical album. There are several peaks and valleys throughout, though luckily the high points make this a worthwhile disc to get.

Sting's performance of his gypsy ballad, "Until...", sounds especially influenced by Kurt Weill, as does Björk's familiar dirge, "I've Seen It All", from her 2000 cinematic foray with Lars von Trier, "Dancer in the Dark". Jacqui Dankworth lends a languorous vocal to Kate Curtis' and Will South's "The Abyss" and the more funereal "Song" by Daniel Monk. And a nice surprise is the Gershwin-inspired "I Never Went Away" by Richard Rodney Bennett, though it does feel a bit out of place among the more experimental music. Truth be told, some tracks are plain odd, such as Meredith Monk's "Gotham Lullaby" with its random yelps and minor-chord la-la's and Errollyn Wallen's meandering, overlong "Daedalus", a rather pretentious art song. The schools provide two of the highlights here: "Swearing at the Moon" by Arieh Miller of JFS in London, and Venus Flytrap by students from Blatchingham Mill School in Hove. Both songs are performed by Ian Shaw, whose biting vocal mixes well with the discordant string arrangements. Elvis Costello frames the recording with the jaunty opener, "My Mood Swings" and his closing cover of Randy Newman's "Real Emotional Girl", a slow, heartbreaking ballad with Newman's trademark observations. The quartet itself performs with their brio intact, applying a lot of color and texture to the songs."