Pieces in a Modern Style

Pieces in a Modern Style

by William Orbit
     
 

While co-writing and co-producing Madonna's pop-electronica hit Ray of Light, William Orbit was hard at work on his own solo debut album, Pieces in a Modern Style. Unlike Wendy Carlos, whose electronic versions of Bach's music remain true to the original scores,See more details below

Overview

While co-writing and co-producing Madonna's pop-electronica hit Ray of Light, William Orbit was hard at work on his own solo debut album, Pieces in a Modern Style. Unlike Wendy Carlos, whose electronic versions of Bach's music remain true to the original scores, Orbit completely transforms these classical works. Aside from the opening track, a faithfully austere realization of Barber's Adagio for Strings, Orbit's ambient adaptations often go beyond interpretation into the realm of re-composition. Drawing on music from across the classical spectrum -- from the baroque era to the 20th century -- he creates an hour-long program that's remarkably coherent in style and mood. Orbit says his original intent was merely to record something "to chill out to," and listeners unfamiliar with these works will undoubtedly find the result to be a sonic balm for the soul. But if you've heard any of these pieces before -- or are inspired to seek out the originals -- Orbit's transformations are even more beguiling. Check out the opening of Ravel's "Pavane pour une Infante Défunte," for example, in which the gentle electronic wheeze of the accompaniment has an organ-like quality that gives the music spiritual overtones. Or listen to the slow movement from the Triple Concerto, in which Beethoven's melodies are disembodied, made to hover like ghosts over a strange landscape that rumbles, shivers, and rings. Classical purists may be horrified by such creative liberties, but in fact, Pieces in a Modern Style is most effective -- and affecting -- precisely when Orbit is most free.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
After years of making his own esoteric ambient albums and paying for them by doing dance remixes for pop acts, William Orbit hit the big time in 1998 by co-writing and producing Madonna's Ray of Light album. With his own debut solo album on Madonna's label, he returned to his esoteric pursuits, programming a variety of calm classical pieces into his computer and rearranging them to one extent or another. Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" came off relatively unscathed, but by the time he got to "Ogives Number 1" by Erik Satie, Orbit was mixing in the sounds of a helicopter, as if he were Francis Ford Coppola doing sound design work on Apocalypse Now with the Doors' "The End." Handel's "Largo from Xerxes" remained recognizable, but Beethoven's "Triple Concerto" was largely transformed. No matter whose music he was reformulating, however, Orbit worked gently, creating an album that, if it technically belonged beside Wendy Carlos' Switched-On Bach, actually was more reminiscent of Brian Eno's Discreet Music. It may seem surprising, then, to note that "Adagio for Strings" landed on the U.S. and U.K. dance charts, but that was only in Ferry Corsten's remix (actually, an entirely different version, full of the usual thundering percussion), which was included along with an ATB version on a separate CD with the album. Though Orbit was already at work on the new Madonna album at the time that Pieces in a Modern Style was released, from the sound of it you'd have thought he was really angling to get film scoring jobs.
Rolling Stone - Stephanie Zacharek
The pieces drift by, cloudlike, accented by wind chimes, the rush of helicopter blades and other effects - these are songs that sound made for lying on a grassy hill, watching the sky go by.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/22/2000
Label:
Maverick
UPC:
0093624759621
catalogNumber:
47596

Tracks

Read More

Album Credits

Performance Credits

William Orbit   Primary Artist,Track Performer
Damian leGassick   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Samuel Barber   Composer
William Orbit   Arranger,Programming,Producer
Mark Davies   Legal Advisor
Rob Dickins   Executive Producer
Damian leGassick   Programming
Geoff Pesche   Mastering
Andrew Kipnes   Management
Sean Spuehler   Programming,Engineer,Digital Editing
André Tanneberger   Producer,Remixing
Ferry Corsten   Producer,Remixing
Tracy Heselden   Co-Coordinator
Mark Beaven   Management
Statham Gill Davies   Legal Advisor

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >