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The Juliet Letters

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All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Looking back on it, it's remarkable that Warner didn't sue Elvis Costello for making deliberately noncommercial, non-representative records, the way Geffen did with Neil Young in the '80s. After all, it's not just that he made a record as anti-pop as Mighty Like a Rose, it's that he followed it with a full-fledged classical album, The Juliet Letters -- "a song sequence for string quartet and voice," recorded with the Brodsky Quartet. It's inspired by a Verona professor who responded to letters addressed to Juliet, of Romeo and Juliet fame, too. Given this history, it's little wonder that the record didn't storm the charts, but it is remarkable that Warner, even ...
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USA 1993 CD SS/SS Original 20 track CD release still sealed in the printed cardboard long box. Tiny drill hole into edge of long box (and CD's title spine). SM.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Looking back on it, it's remarkable that Warner didn't sue Elvis Costello for making deliberately noncommercial, non-representative records, the way Geffen did with Neil Young in the '80s. After all, it's not just that he made a record as anti-pop as Mighty Like a Rose, it's that he followed it with a full-fledged classical album, The Juliet Letters -- "a song sequence for string quartet and voice," recorded with the Brodsky Quartet. It's inspired by a Verona professor who responded to letters addressed to Juliet, of Romeo and Juliet fame, too. Given this history, it's little wonder that the record didn't storm the charts, but it is remarkable that Warner, even with their reputation for being an artist's label, decided to release it, since this just doesn't fit anywhere -- not within pop especially in the grunge-saturated 1993 and not within classical, either. Of course, that's precisely what's interesting about the record, and if interesting didn't signify any rewards with Mighty, it does here. This is a distinctive, unusual affair that, at its best, effectively marries chamber music with Beatlesque art pop. And there are a number of moments that work remarkably well on the record, such as "I Almost Had a Weakness" and "Jacksons, Monk and Rowe." True, these are the songs closest to straight-ahead Costello songs, yet they're still nice, small gems, and even if the rest of the record can be a little arch and awkward, it's not hard to admire what Costello and the Brodskys set out to do. And that's the problem with the record -- it's easy to intellectualize, even appreciate, what it intends to be, but it's never compelling enough to return to. More experiment than effective, then.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/19/1993
  • Label: Warner Bros Uk
  • UPC: 093624518020
  • Catalog Number: 245180

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Deliver Us - The Brodsky Quartet
  2. 2 For Other Eyes - The Brodsky Quartet
  3. 3 Swine - The Brodsky Quartet
  4. 4 Expert Rites - The Brodsky Quartet
  5. 5 Dead Letter - The Brodsky Quartet
  6. 6 I Almost Had a Weakness - The Brodsky Quartet
  7. 7 Why? - The Brodsky Quartet
  8. 8 Who Do You Think You Are? - The Brodsky Quartet
  9. 9 Taking My Life In Your Hands - The Brodsky Quartet
  10. 10 This Offer is Unrepeatable - The Brodsky Quartet
  11. 11 Dear Sweet Filthy World - The Brodsky Quartet
  12. 12 The Letter Home - The Brodsky Quartet
  13. 13 Jacksons, Monk and Rowe - The Brodsky Quartet
  14. 14 This Sad Burlesque - The Brodsky Quartet
  15. 15 Romeo's Seance - The Brodsky Quartet
  16. 16 I Thought I'd Write to Juliet - The Brodsky Quartet
  17. 17 Last Post - The Brodsky Quartet
  18. 18 The First to Leave - The Brodsky Quartet
  19. 19 Damnation's Cellar - The Brodsky Quartet
  20. 20 The Birds Will Still Be Singing - The Brodsky Quartet
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Elvis Costello Primary Artist, Vocals, Voices, Track Performer
Ian Belton Violin
The Brodsky Quartet Ensemble
Paul Cassidy Viola
Jacqueline Thomas Cello
Michael Thomas Violin
Technical Credits
Elvis Costello Composer, Producer, Liner Notes, Text
Ian Belton Composer, Text
The Brodsky Quartet Producer
Paul Cassidy Text
Pascale Givetto Engineer
Kevin Killen Producer, Engineer, Engineering
Doug Phillips Composer
Jacqueline Thomas Text
Declan MacManus Composer
Scott Hull Mastering
Steve Averill Art Direction
Michael Thomas Composer
Michael Lee Thomas Text
Jacqueline Thomas Composer
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