Shuffle.Play.Listen is a collaboration between cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley and it sounds mighty fine to me.
Disc 1 features a new arrangement of Bernard Herrmann’s score for Vertigo mixed up with classical pieces by Piazolla, Janacek, Stravinsky and others. It works well enough and I appreciate the “Shuffle” concept, but I would have preferred that the Herrmann compositions had been grouped together. Shuffle should be an end user option.
I’m a much bigger fan of Disc 2 and was excited about pieces originally performed by Cocteau Twins and Radiohead, but was most impressed by covers of artists I’d previously been unfamiliar with – “Melody” (Blonde Redhead) and “A Lotus on Irish Streams” (John McLaughlin). Both tracks are particularly haunting and memorable.
Another track originally by John McLaughlin, “The Dance of Maya,” is performed with as much bombast as you can get from a cello and a piano. Fabulous.
Other artists whose songs are featured include Arcade Fire and A Perfect Circle. I’m not sure how much the album lives up to its claim to blur the boundaries between classical and pop, but it sure is fun to listen to and has already made it to my classical playlist.
Christopher O’Riley has many MP3s available for free download on his website, including piano versions of songs by Radiohead and Tori Amos.