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Music

Paul Schwartz

Aria 2: New Horizon

(Astor Place)

Ugh, oh no, help! Modern opera! It’s too bad—the vocalist (Rebecca Luker) on here is actually very good, and I like her voice a lot, but then right behind her is this backdrop of cheesy New Age “classical” music along the lines of something Andrew Lloyd Webber might put together, complete with synthesizer tweets and blats mixed in with the traditional instruments. Every once in a while, the composer gets the pieces almost right-for example, the beginning of track 4, “Horizon,” starts out very promising, with a minimal string section baring filling in the silence, but then he goes and ruins it by building and building on that beginning until you’ve got this whole big melodramatic crescendo—and then he clicks on the drum machine and it’s ruined. I’m a stickler for this stuff, if you can’t tell. I love hearing individual instruments in music, especially in classical works where the instruments are the most important part of the composition, and it especially bugs me when such talented musicians and performers as these are basically wasted because of the arrangements they’re set in.

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