Costello

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Costello
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Il sogno
PERFORMER: Peter Erskine (percussion), John Harle (saxophone), Chris Laurence (double bass); LSO/Michael Tilson Thomas
CATALOGUE NO: 471 5772
Quasi-classical compositions by rock musicians are not new, but they tend to be assessed by reviewers who come from one side or the other of the classical/popular divide, thus hampering the development of an accurate critical vocabulary. Add to this the sad truth that crossover albums don’t actually crossover – they tend to wave to the other side without really going there – and the speed with which such releases are forgotten becomes at least explicable. Elvis Costello’s musical horizons have been expanding ever since he outgrew the intellectual punk geekdom of his youth, so let’s hope Il sogno, his music for the Aterballetto dance company’s adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, isn’t forgotten immediately. Judging by the booklet photography we could have wished for a DVD, or failing that a rather more condensed version of the music for CD purposes. What we have, though, is an evocative sequence of musical ideas seemingly inspired by a little of everything from jazz and film soundtracks to show tunes and classical folkiness. Snappily performed and with an airy recorded sound, this project will certainly show Costello’s admirers a new aspect of his restlessly inventive musical thinking. Sadly, that’s probably as far as it will go. Roger Thomas

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