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