Patricia O'Callaghan; Gryphon Trio
Analekta AN 2 9870
Classical sensibilities applied to popular music should enhance, rather than sacrifice the spirit and intent of the original music. It rarely makes sense to over-beautify the themes of everyday life and we all can site instances where the marriage of pop and classical does not quite work. In this recording, however, Patricia O’Callaghan and the Gryphon Trio, deliver savvy and artful new interpretations. It all begins with choosing ingeniously artful songs. Songs by the likes of Laurie Anderson, Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen and Elvis Costello are interspersed with those by Llasa de Sela, Los Lobos and Astor Piazzola as well as traditional Latin pieces, offering a diverse and clever mix most suitable for orchestration. Interpreted through brilliant arrangements by Roberto Occhipinti, Hilario Duran and Andrew Downing, the results are stunning, soulful and profoundly affective.
The trio’s playing is superb and complex and O’Callaghan’s vocal nuances are delivered with a heartfelt, dynamic, yet surprisingly light and subtle touch. Most notable is her ability to keep the extreme emotional intensity going despite the incessant repetition in Elvis Costello’s I want you. Along with her gorgeous singing, O’Callaghan’s expert facility with languages is remarkable in the Spanish and French selections. Through a decade developing a chamber music series for the Lula Lounge, the Gryphon Trio has finely honed their talent for skilfully adapting classical technique to the contemporary audience and this shines through beautifully in this recording.
Concert Note: Patricia O’Callaghan and the Gryphon Trio will launch “Broken Hearts and Madmen” at the Lula Lounge on October 2.
VOCAL Note: For reviews of eight new Sony opera re-issues see Bruce Surtees’ Old Wine in New Bottles