One might be forgiven for thinking Beatles Baroque III by Les Boréades would actually sound Baroque, as it and two previous volumes are billed, but such is not the case. Even though this Canadian early music ensemble has impressive credentials, and plays the repertoire from Frescobaldi to C.P.E. Bach with aplomb, its performances on this disc are overwhelmingly modern in feeling and not too far removed from the actual music produced by the Beatles and George Martin in the 1960s. Unlike Joshua Rifkin, who in 1965 used Lennon and McCartney songs as the raw material for his witty pastiches for The Baroque Beatles Book, arranger and director Eric Milnes has stayed remarkably close to the originals and offers up slick instrumentals that almost resemble MUZAK in their blandness and artificiality. Only in short passages do these arrangements have anything approaching a Baroque style, but this is practically obscured by the omnipresent bass and percussion backing and the thick reverb that is more reminiscent of Phil Spector's records than Martin's. In its faithfulness to the Beatles' hits, this album is a curiosity that may be amusing or charming on one hearing, but it won't bear repeated play except as background music in retail or restaurant settings.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson