Jul 20, 2010

REVIEW: David Garrett - Rock Symphonies


Every day I check Amazon.com's MP3 page because each night at midnight they post up a different album for a heavily discounted price, usually around the $3.99 range for a full album.  Every now and again there'll be something for $1.99 or even $0.99 and sometimes it's as high as $6.99 but about four bucks is the average.

Most of the time it's nothing I'm interested in, but occasionally there will be something there that I'm very interested in.

My musical interests fall all over the spectrum from hip hop to rock to classical to jazz to a small amount of country to new age and beyond.

Today their offering is a guy named David Garrett who is a violinist who has released an album called "Rock Symphonies" in which he plays a variety of rock n' roll classics on his violin.  

And let me tell you that it's fantastic.   I've always been a fan of music that crosses genres.  Artists like Mike Phillips who mixes hip hop and jazz so well, or the Finnish band "Apocalyptica" who play heavy metal on Cellos.

And of course the "Hip Hop Violinist" herself, Miri Ben Ari who has been featured with such hip hop artists as Kanye West, Scarface, Talib Kweli, Akon, Styles P and others.

I first listened to the snippets of the album, because as much as I love this kind of thing, it's often very hit or miss.  For every Miri Ben Ari or Apocalyptica there's a whole slew of others that make you want to burn your ears off.

After listening to three snippets, I immediately bought it.  Even if it had been 10 dollars I would have gotten it, because this is really good music.

He covers a wide range of Rock music from Nirvana (Smells Like Teen Spirit) and Guns N'Roses (November Rain) back to Aerosmith (Walk this way) and Led Zeppelin (Kashmir), and also throws in some classical classics such as Beethoven's 5th and Toccata.

I remember the first time I heard Apocalyptica was while viewing the film "Your Friends and Neighbors" in the theater while living in Charlottesville Virginia.  I heard them playing Metallica songs on Cellos during the opening and closing credits and was amazed.  I had never heard anything like that before. 

I felt that again while listening to Garrett's album because I think even though I've heard this type of thing before, it's still something that takes me aback.  It's not something you hear every day.  You don't turn on the radio and hear this.  You tend to hear the same 10-25 songs a day (several times a day) and there's very little exposure to true artists like Garrett.

One of the definite highlights of this album has to be, hands down, his track "Vivaldi vs. Vertigo" in which he  brilliantly mashes up the classical Vivaldi with U2's "Vertigo".  I actually listened to this several times and just marveled at how great it worked together.

Also his performance of Aerosmith's Walk this way was a powerhouse due to Garrett's fiery violin playing, and the guitars of Orianthi, who was featured in Michael Jackson's "This is It" movie).

Garrett, who studied at Julliard under the legendary wings of Itzhak Perlman, shines brightly on this album, and I imagine that he's got a great career ahead of him.   

He's already been featured on numerous television programs such as The Oprah Winfrey show, Good Morning America, and his own PBS "Live in Berlin" special, as well as setting the world record this year for his performance of "Flight of the Bumblebee" in which he was registered as the fastest ever performance at 66 seconds. 

His first album debuted at the top of the Billboard Classical Crossover charts and was in the top 10 for 40 straight weeks, nine of those at number one.

If you enjoy creative and highly enjoyable music, then this album is for you.   The great thing about this album, and others like it, is it really shows you that there's no more lines in music.  There's nowhere you can't go.  

There are no more limits. The only limitation is your imagination and your creativity and your abilities.  As the famous quote says, "If you can dream it, you can achieve it".

And no better example of that lies at the heart of this album.



  1. Disappointed to say the least. Standard easy listening covers. We already heard that in the past and will in the future. I definitely prefer The Section Quartet (on Vitamin records) which are less melodic and far more adventurous.
    Just a tune here: http://stereogum.com/5882/the_section_quartet_cover_yeah_yeah_yeahs/mp3/
    But there are several enjoyable cd available here and there.

  2. Very nice review. I could not agree more! David is a true virtuoso and I think he's on his way to international superstardom...


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