Marc Spooner — A Rite of Spring
(TropeAUDIO TA050, 2013, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2013-08-09Stravinsky was a major influence on twentieth century classical, experimental, and rock music. He was a pioneer in using dissonance, unusual tonalities, and odd time signatures in the early 1900s. Aaron Copeland characterized Stravinsky’s ballet, The Rite of Spring, as “the foremost orchestral achievement of the twentieth century.” Excerpts were used in Disney’s Fantasia and have been recorded by electronic musicians such as Tomita. Now to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its first performance Marc Spooner, keyboardist for Metaphor, has taken on the monumental task of recreating the entire ballet electronically. When an artist attempts to cover an iconic performance or composition, there is a huge risk of the results paling in comparison to the original. In Spooner’s case his attempt sounds tired, like he is trying to do Tomita doing Stravinsky, but with a greatly limited sound pallet, basically analog sine waves. Spooner may have faithfully followed Stravinsky’s score, but what stimulated Copeland’s characterization is lost in the present recording. Given the capability of today’s technology, this release could have been so much better, even using analog synths and Mellotrons. What is missing is the ability to distinguish between instruments and how the music contrasts and interacts between the woodwinds and strings. If a musician is going to attempt to cover one of the masters like Stravinsky, he has to reinterpret the music, take it to another level, and make it his own, not simply play the score on analog synths. I applaud Spooner’s attempt, but I cannot recommend this release.
Related artist(s): Marc Spooner
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more