Steve Grant

Steve Grant's Barockestra: Roll Over Beethoven

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The Barockestra title of this classical-rock crossover album is fanciful rather than descriptive; many of the pieces covered by this five-piece rock band come from periods other than the Baroque. British Electric guitarist Steve Grant (whose name mysteriously gets an extra "a" on the back cover of this German release) cites the 1970s progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, which famously turned the "Great Gate at Kiev" theme from Mussorgky's Pictures at an Exhibition into a multimedia extravaganza. But Grant's adaptations don't actually sound much like EL&P. What this album has going for it is Grant's sheer ebullience in transferring almost any kind of classical melody to rock guitar, including some kinds of music that have figured in few crossover projects up to this point. He even adds English lyrics, of the kind that could have come out of bad Journey album tracks, to some of the pieces. These, such as his Largo al Factotum from Rossini's The Barber of Seville, are hard to call successful, but other works that you wouldn't think playable by a rock band (Chopin's Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64/1, or "Minute Waltz," and especially the Dance of the Cygnets from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake) are thoroughly diverting. A nearer antecedent than Emerson, Lake & Palmer is Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale," which Grant, not letting accuracy get in the way of a witticism, hat-tips here with Hair and a G String (track 11). Something less than a satisfying impression is left by the whole, but the album isn't dull.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
2 2:49
3 4:15
4 2:46
5 3:48
6 4:38
8 1:51
9 3:25
10 1:10
11 4:29 Amazon
12 4:37
13 6:35
15 1:42
16 3:35
17 2:58
18 3:35 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick