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The Violin Player


Sex appeal has played a big part in the promotion of this 16-year-old Londoner's skyrocketing career. Her current video (for Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor - the lead track on this recording) sizzles with adolescent sensuality and is among the most requested on cable arts channels. Perhaps to counterpoint this exploitative side of her image, this new CD is simply titled "The Violin Player".
And what a violin player! Purists of any musical genre may cringe but Vanessa-Mae's music is exciting and defies categorization. It's not really even "world beat" or "new age". The liner notes refer to it as "violin techno-acoustic fusion" and , however unwieldy that phrase is, it's as good a description as any. Together with other young string players like Ashley MacIsaac (from Cape Breton), Vanessa-Mae is forging a new bridge between traditional instruments and modern musical tastes.
"The Violin Player" was written, produced and arranged by Mike Batt and crosses a range of musical styles. "Contradanza" is a fast, surging dance that sweeps the listener up in its European exuberance. "Theme from Caravans" has a percussion setting that works well with the violin in creating a mid-Eastern Gypsy feel.
"Tequila Mockingbird" and "Red Hot" feature electric guitar, the latter in a duel with the violin set against a techno-dance backdrop. "City Theme" evokes the feel of a downtown from daybreak to rush hour and beyond. The aptly titled "Widescreen" sounds like a soundtrack in search of a movie. The aforementioned "Toccata and Fugue" by J.S. Bach is a tour de force that should win Vanessa many fans.
Who might like this stuff? Perhaps fans of Astor Piazzola, Ottmar Liebert, The GRID, Nigel Kennedy or Ashley MacIsaac. Fans of instrumental movie soundtracks, casual classical music or new Hungarian and Rumanian music. If you don't fit any of these descriptions but would like to try something new and different, I highly recommend "The Violin Player".

By Torben Rolfsen - November 3, 1995


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