Various Artists

4 Elements: Classical Music of Fire, Water, Air & Earth

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

A collection of classical pieces written on themes of the four classical elements -- fire, water, air, and earth -- is a good idea in principle. Each has a slightly different set of problems in its potential for musical realization, and the way those problems have been solved across the eras of music could make for an intriguing box set. This one isn't it, however. It's just a recycling tote of a group of old European performances, none terrible but none terribly distinguished, dating as far back as 1961. The concepts have to be stretched pretty far to accommodate what one suspects were directions from the marketing department (Flight of the Bumblebee for "Air"?), and the final "Earth" disc is especially close to grab-bag quality. The same Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig recording of Smetana's Mé Vlast is raided for two different discs, and the contention that the selections together "show the whole cosmos of classical music" is ludicrous; the pieces are late-Romantic standards with just a few Baroque and Classical selections thrown in so randomly that they break the mood. Not recommended, even for long commutes through fire, water, air, and earth.

blue highlight denotes track pick