Various Artists

Classical Chill

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As a matter of course, classical relaxation compilations tend to cover much of the same material by drawing on the best-known slow pieces and movements from larger works and in the process creating a great deal of overlap between them and other collections. Classical Chill is a double-disc collection from ZXY that has so many well-known pieces and excerpts that the possibility of duplication of material is dead certain, no matter what samplers are held up against it. The use of all too common pieces of music reflects a lack of imagination on the part of the producers, but that wouldn't be so bad if the playing was of a high caliber. Regrettably, this collection is full of mediocre and uninspired performances that in most cases have all the notes but little feeling or musicality; there are some instances of amateurish playing and sour intonation that may make some sensitive listeners wince. Add to this a certain confusion over what kind of pieces qualify as chill-out music (there are a few that are too lively or passionate to bring real relaxation), as well as the issue of whether bursts of applause might actually disrupt a person's calm state, and this collection loses credibility the closer one examines it. Since many major and secondary labels have decent collections that cover the same material with higher artistic quality and better sound, this lackluster twofer can be skipped without qualms.

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