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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 sacrilege.
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 world apart.
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.


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