Alexandre da Costa

Hendrix, McCartney & Ysaye

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When he recorded this album, Alexandre DaCosta was 21 years old. An enfant prodige on both piano and violin, he undertook the project of making the music of Jimi Hendrix acceptable to classical ears -- a strange idea that turns into a close disaster. Rock/classical crossovers are rarely satisfying, but this one belongs to the worst examples. In the first 36 minutes, DaCosta performs seven Hendrix standards on both piano and violin. His virtuosity is exemplary and even though many purists will sneer at the idea of a "serious" musician handling two widely different instruments, his ability to play is not on the bench here. Robert Lafond's arrangements are. If "Manic Depression" retains its galloping frenzy and "The Wind Cries Mary" still has some of the mystery found in the guitarist's original recording, the rest of the material has been simplified and purged to make it sound like cheap Schubert. Gone are the sense of urgency, the wild experimentations, the bubbling creativity. "Are You Experienced" and "Third Stone from the Sun" are left nothing more than cute melodies, instantly digestible and forgotten. The CD is rounded up by "A Leaf," a solo piano suite by Paul McCartney, more convincing in its simplicity, and by Eugene Ysaye's third solo violin sonata -- performed with much fire but still a questionable inclusion. In the end, this album does nothing for Hendrix's legacy and very little to establish DaCosta's reputation.

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