Yanni

Live at the Acropolis

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It's no surprise that Yanni is most identified with this amazingly powerful experience (also presented as one of PBS' most popular concerts ever), because it seems like the musical project he was most destined to make. After making millions stateside, he returns to the historic ancient Acropolis of his Greek homeland to share his sweeping music with his countrymen. One of the most impressive aspects of Yanni in this live setting is the way his beautiful piano passages blend with the occasional boom of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (conducted by Shardad Rohani). Whereas it's easy to complain that his studio recordings are overly reliant on synthesized strings, here it's the real deal. "Santorini" epitomizes the musical balance, opening with several minutes of percussive string fanfare, then allowing Yanni to be simply expressive on the acoustic piano as the orchestra tones down and provides a caress of accompaniment. "Until the Last Moment" flows along tenderly with the same effect. Even songs like "Keys to the Imagination," which are played on synth, are taken to more emotional levels with the dramatic swells of the orchestra. The concert features its share of familiar tunes ("Swept Away," "Reflections of Passion"), but surprises in spots with more drawn out, thoughtful dishes of exotica like "Acroval/Standing in Motion," which begins with atmosphere and chime effects, then evolves into an adventurous orchestral and synth explosion more ambitious than anything Yanni has attempted on his studio recordings. The sticker on the original disc release also informs listeners that it's recorded in 48-track digital sound. The same sticker calls it the event of a lifetime. It's an amazing concert, but more the core event of Yanni's life and career than anyone listening to this recording.

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