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Classical Music Review

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Epic Classical


Composers: Various
Arranger: Snorre Tidemand
Performed by: London Music Works, featuring Merethe Soltvedt
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 07 February 2020

Silva Screen Records's new Re:scored series introduces fresh, thoughtful and contemporary film score reworkings of established genres. On Epic Classical, the first release in this series, Snorre Tidemand re-arranges classical favourites in “epic” film score mode...

I've reviewed a few "epic" theme based albums in the past (Epic Themes II; This is Epic Music Vol.1; The Nativity Cinematic Christmas Carols) and it's always interested to hear how familiar music can sound very different when presented in a new way. The challenge with Re:scored: Epic Classical, is that all of the pieces that have been given new arrangements are already epic pieces in their own right. So it's a brave individual who would tackle any one of these pieces, let alone all 10.

The album's arranger, Snorre Tidemand, is a Norwegian composer (Bleeding Fingers/Extreme Music, Colossal Trailer Music and Orchestral Tools), who worked on London Music Works's critically acclaimed album, The Nativity: Cinematic Christmas Carols.

The 10 classical compositions chosen for Epic Classical are ingrained in popular culture and have appeared in many movies, from drama and animation to Sci-Fi and comedy. Always linked to an epic win or lose, strength or weakness, purgative or transformational moment in the story; the distinct phrases and harmonies have now become a shortcut for turmoil, end and new beginnings.

I have to admit that on the first play through I wasn't overly a fan. Yes, the tracks sounded epic, but then so did the original compositions. At first I found the formulaic way a lot of the pieces would conclude with a movie trailer-esque rumble or thunder clap, was a little lazy. Effective, but lazy. Elgar: 'Enigma Variations - Nimrod', one of my favourite pieces of classical music from childhood, sounded too fast and a lot of the "epic" qualities of the original sounded a little diluted. Likewise, a lot of the tracks sounded less epic on this album when compared to the originals. But then this is mainly down to the fact that we are all so familiar with them.

But then, as I listened to the album over and over again, I caught the subtle elements that were hiding in plain sight. Vocalist Merethe Soltvedt makes several appearances, but it's her contribution on Handel's 'Coronation Anthem - Zadok the Priest' which really impressed me.

If you love the original classical pieces then you will totally fall in love with this album. It may take a little time, but stick with it as Tidemand really starts this ongoing series off with a bang.

Track listing:

01 - Mozart: Requiem - Dies Irae (re:scored) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
02 - Elgar: Enigma Variations - Nimrod (re:scored) - Edward Elgar
03 - Verdi: Requiem - Dies Irae (re:scored) - Giuseppe Verdi.
04 - Handel: Sarabande (re:scored) - George Frideric Handel.
05 - Holst: The Planets - Jupiter (re:scored) - Gustav Holst
06 - Vivaldi: The Four Seasons - Summer (re:scored) ** - Antonio Vivaldi.
07 - Mozart: Requiem - Lacrimosa (re:scored) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
08 - Dvorak: Slavonic Dances (re:scored) - Antonín Dvořák;
09 - Saint Saens: Symphony No. 3 - Finale (re:scored) - Camille Saint-Saëns
10 - Handel: Coronation Anthem - Zadok the Priest (re:scored) - George Frideric Handel.


Darren Rea

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