Classic Meets Cuba

Classic Meets Cuba

5.0 1
by Klazz Brothers
Classical music and jazz don't always make the best of companions -- but not for lack of trying. From the Swingle Singers to the Jacques Loussier Trio to more up-to-date experimenters like Regina Carter, such style mixing has proved an irresistible but subtle alchemy


Classical music and jazz don't always make the best of companions -- but not for lack of trying. From the Swingle Singers to the Jacques Loussier Trio to more up-to-date experimenters like Regina Carter, such style mixing has proved an irresistible but subtle alchemy. Along come this varied bunch -- three German classical musicians collectively called the Klazz Brothers (though none of them is actually named Klazz) and a pair of Cuban rhythmic whizzes dubbed Cuba Percussion -- and show us how it's done on the enormously entertaining Classic Meets Cuba. The idea is simple: Take famous classical tunes and dress them up with Latin swing. But the result is inspired: Rather than seeking "to squeeze the old masters into a jazzy straight-jacket," as the liner notes observe, their music "breathes Swing, Latin, and joie de vivre without ever denying the classical roots." Take a listen to the opening "Mambozart" -- a toe-tappingly syncopated version of Mozart's 40th Symphony -- and you'll see what they mean. Brahms, Schubert, Bach, Beethoven (including his entire "Pathetique" Sonata), and other canonic names also come under their smiling gaze, with highlights including a graceful reworking of Chopin's beautiful E Major Etude and a delightfully off-kilter adaptation of tunes from Bizet's Carmen. The classics have never sounded so cool -- or fun. Hooked on these classics? Try piano maestro Chucho Valdés's Fantasia Cubana for more.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Chris Nickson
Well, it's certainly a novel idea: three German classical and jazz musicians collaborate with a pair of Cuban percussionist/vocalists to put the classics in a Cuban style. That's fine -- there's really no need to be precious about Beethoven, Mozart, et al. after all this time. And there's a certain kitsch value about the disc -- good for a bit of a laugh at parties. However, look past that and there's actually something good and remarkably skillful happening here. Brahms' "Hungarian Dance" becomes "Cuban Dance" quite convincingly, and Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5" is reborn as "Salsa No. V," which may be taking things a bit too far over the top, but in a way that brings smiles instead of weariness. Bizet's "Carmen Suite" is a natural for this kind of adaptation, and "Carmen Cubana" works perfectly. The centerpiece, however, is the three movements of Beethoven's "Piano Sonata No. 8 Pathétique," which become totally transformed by some staggering arranging into a Cuban epic, grand and romantic, and the quieter Bach "Air," where subtlety is the key. "Flight of the Bumble Bee" features some truly virtuosic bass playing from Kilian Forster, while his pianist brother, Tobias, shows his delicacy of touch on the Chopin "Étude, Op. 10, No. 3." But when front and center, every single person here is vital and creative. So come for the kitsch, and stay for the music. Cuba and the classics do make good bedfellows.

Product Details

Release Date:

Related Subjects


  1. Mambozart (after Mozart's Symphony No. 40)
  2. Cuban Dance (after Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 5)
  3. Danzon de la Trucha (after Schubert's Trout Quintet)
  4. Preludio (after Bach's Cello Suite No. 1, BWV 1007)
  5. Afrolise (after Beethoven's Für Elise)
  6. Air (after Bach's BWV 991 in C minor)
  7. I
  8. II
  9. III
  10. Salsa No. V (after Beethoven's Symphony No. 5)
  11. Czardas (after Monti's Czardas for violin & piano)
  12. Étude (after Chopin's Etude Op. 10/3)
  13. Carmen Cubana (after Bizet's Carmen Suite No. 2, Habenera)
  14. Flight of the Bumblebee (after Rimsky-Korsakov)
  15. Guten Abend (after Brahms' Guten Abend, Gute Nacht)
  16. Anthem (after J. Haydn's Emperor Quartet)

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Klazz Brothers   Primary Artist,Ensemble
Kilian Forster   Bass,Group Member
Tobias Forster   Piano,Group Member
Tim Hahn   Drums,Group Member
Cuba Percussion   Track Performer,Percussion Ensemble

Technical Credits

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart   Composer
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov   Composer
Johann Sebastian Bach   Composer
Frédéric Chopin   Composer
Johannes Wohlleben   Engineer,Engineering
Klazz Brothers   Contributor
Katharina Coen   Artwork
Kilian Forster   Arranger
Tobias Forster   Arranger
Tim Hahn   Arranger
Cuba Percussion   Contributor
Mathias Suess   Illustrations
Konzertagentur Grandmontagne   Producer

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Classic Meets Cuba 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Erika-S More than 1 year ago
I definitely fell in love with this album. I happened to know this artist (Forster; the arranger) watching the movie "Hitch" (2005). I heard a background music arranged from Habanera in Carmen by Bizet, and desperately wanted to know where I could get that track. It was not on the soundtrack album so I had to google, imdb... and finally, I found this album. It was surely worth every sweat. You can see how intriguing and fascinating the piece was to me. Well, the entire album is as much amazing as the Habanera. As I put in my rating on this album, arrangement, performance, sound, swing... and the overall quality is just great! It is very defined, interesting, comfortable, yet danceable... so I am very pleased. I strongly recommend this album!!!