I’m shocked The Mad Violinist (a.k.a. Ashanti Floyd) isn’t signed to Sony Masterworks. He seems destined to be the next 2Cellos. His SoundCloud and YouTube pages have several videos and downloads and he has two self-released albums available on Amazon. I especially like his cover of Adele’s “Skyfall.”
Thomas Newman is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Sam Mendes – I noticed his American Beauty score featured heavily in the recent documentary Inventing David Geffen. My favorite of their collaborations is Road to Perdition, a gorgeous and delicate piano-driven suite. Newman’s composition for Mendes’ latest film, Skyfall, is a different beast – a heavily synthesized score which features few delicate moments.
The tragic character of “Severine” provides a brief respite in a score which otherwise pummells you into submission. It is a glorious, 78-second string arrangement, conjuring memories of my favorite Bond music – John Barry’s instrumental “We Have All The Time In The World.”
Skyfall is otherwise a surprisingly forgettable score, though I did enjoy the “Shanghai Drive” theme, its reprisal in the album’s concluding track, “Adrenaline,” and the percussive energy of “Silhouette.” Monty Norman’s original theme is incorporated particularly well in “Breadcrumbs.”
YouTube sensation The Piano Guys just released their self-titled debut album on Sony Masterworks. Their instrumental covers of popular songs combined with classical compositions fall somewhere between Pianafiddle and 2 Cellos. The Piano Guys album includes their innovative instrumental renditions of songs by a diverse selection of artists, including Beethoven, Judy Garland, One Republic, One Direction, Coldplay and Adele.
I especially like “Moonlight,” The Piano Guys’ dramatic transformation of Beethoven’s exquisite “Moonlight Sonata.” Also of note is their Africanized version of Coldplay’s “Paradise,” their lovely original “Arwen’s Vigil” and their moody interpretation of Adele’s “In the Deep.” You can watch several of the videos below.