Haydn / Knussen / Ravel: Power of the Keyboard

Title: Power of the Keyboard
Label: Yarlung Records

?Nathan Ben-Yehuda pursues a fulltime solo concert career as a classical pianist but also plays with Astral Mixtape, an innovative crossover quartet writing new works and reimagining classics from Monteverdi to Rimsky-Korsakov, and playing with ideas and thematic material from Sigur Ros to Radiohead and Four Tet. We end this album with two tracks by Astral Mixtape. Track 6 offers Goddess Gardens, including intoxicating "mixtape" snippets from Scheherazade and Vaughan Williams' Lark Ascending, as well as more recent fare. Seven Hellos closes the album on track 7, an original composition by the four members of the quartet. Astral Mixtape is clearly close to Nathan's heart: "I am part of this wonderful band of fellow classical musicians who are seeking to reimagine the conventional roles of our instruments, and applying non-classical approaches to arrangement and composition in our works. Astral Mixtape is the collaborative project most personal to me." Before we get to Astral Mixtape, however, Nathan's solo piano repertoire makes a powerful statement. Not only can Nathan handle the thorny Knussen Variations, but he plays Haydn beautifully, and he recorded my favorite performances to date of both Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit and Villa-Lobos' Rudepoêma. Nathan kindly agreed to play Gaspard for this project, but also Peter Sculthorpe's Nocturnal. -Bob Attiyeh, producer


Haydn / Knussen / Ravel: Power of the Keyboard

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