The Jerusalem Post |
Violinist takes the classical world by 'Storm'
Vanessa Mae is a very good violinist. But there is much more to this musician than her extraordinary talent. There
is, above all, attitude: bold, evocative, provocative at times, delectable, invigorating, defiant and captivating.
Mae will do anything she can to attract an audience. She has recorded classical music on her acoustic violin, she
has recorded rock/pop discs on her electric violin, moving between these two worlds with ease. And she poses
very provocatively for her posters, media shots and disc covers and leaflets.
She likes good music and plays her violin in all possible styles, trying to bridge the gap between the classical
world and the popular one.
Some might find her work indulgent, almost promiscuous. Others might dismiss it, while still others would call it
But Mae is a musician no one can dismiss. She is a very honest, sincere and powerful performer. Like what she
does or hate it - and there is no real in-between - you have to respond to it.
And that is, after all, music's greatest power. Because music that does not make you think or feel, music that just
hovers and never gets into your soul means nothing. Mae's music means a lot to many people.
Is it good music? Absolutely. She can deal with the classics with amazing technique and vivacity, as was
demonstrated in her previous albums. But she wants more, and she attains that extra dimension in her latest album,
Storm (EMI 7243 8 21800 2 9).
Storm is a stormy album. It is provocative as she likes to be. It is vintage Mae because it is what the violinist likes
to do best: play the violin from her heart, directly to the soul of her listeners.
Storm incorporates many musical worlds. It has Bach, Vivaldi and Offenbach in ways classical music buffs might
find difficult to recognize. But Mae depicts the summer haze and the storm in Vivaldi's Four Seasons, for example,
in a most evocative manner. Her version of the Offenbach Cancan is charming, and her modern improvisation of
Bach is inspired.
But then there are the world music parts of the album - lyrics, back- up voices and all - that represent a different
kind of Mae. Here, she is more serene, more subdued, more calm and less the angry youth who would take the
These numbers are very touching, especially when, within this world music aura, Mae's violin suddenly soars with
pure classical beauty.
Storm is an album that, as its title suggests, takes you by storm. It is an album for the daring and definitely not for
the conventional listener who shies away from the 21st century. Storm is an album that takes you on a spiritual
journey, rocks you and soothes you.
It is an album for many palates. And what a sumptuous meal it makes.
Copyright 1997 Jerusalem Post. All Rights Reserved
Michael Ajzenstadt, Violinist takes the classical world by 'Storm'., Jerusalem Post, 12-24-1997, pp 09.