Thursday, 10 December 2015

Hille Perl - Born to be Mild

Rating: 2/5

Not for me

I'm afraid I don't think this is very good.  It's well played and unobjectionable, but it doesn't seem to me to add up to much.

The programme is a mixture of reworked gamba pieces by great composers for the instrument like Marais, Sainte-Colombe and Hume, and more modern pieces (several composed by Santana himself), played on two amplified violas da gamba and electric guitar.  In principle, this sounds fine to me – modern interpretations can be very insightful and enjoyable, I have the greatest respect for Hille Perl's work and I have a lot of her discs which I play regularly and with great pleasure.  I have also enjoyed Lee Santana's recordings in the past, so I was hoping for something really good here. 

What I actually got was a rather unconvincing mish-mash of styles which didn't really do much for any of the music presented here.   Much of the character seems to have been leeched out of the early works and, I'm sorry to say, the contemporary pieces don't seem to have much character in the first place.  All of it just sounds to me like the sort of thing you'd hear in the background in a slightly over-earnest wholefood café; unchallenging wallpaper which thinks it's more profound than it really is.

I'm sorry to be so critical of musicians whom I respect, but this just doesn't work for me at all.  Others may find more in it than  do, but I really can't recommend it.

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