Thursday, July 21, 2011

Odd Pairings

Ok, which of these is not ridiculous:
  • Metallica does late Beethoven
  • Rostropovich plays the Beatles
  • Lady Gaga does Faure chansons
  • Sting does John Dowland
  • Lang Lang plays Duke Ellington
Almost had you with the Lang Lang, didn't I? But the correct answer is Sting does John Dowland. Here is the album. Here is a performance of one of Dowland's most famous songs:

I have to say, I admire Sting for taking a chance and doing this kind of music. I don't see anything wrong with his kind of voice in this repertoire. It is certainly more appropriate than, say, an operatic tenor. Sting has dipped a toe in classical music before:

There is a longer version of this that begins with a couple of minutes of them both warming up--he with yoga. Now if I were uncharitable I would say this is a student-level performance of the Bach with so-so sound, iffy slurs and so forth. But I'm not! I think it is great. Play Bach! Everyone! You can do no harm. Just like the Dowland, this is a sincere performance and I would rather hear it than the best jaundiced professional with no heart.

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