The German discounter ZYX specializes in crossover classical releases, many of which are original in concept. This release falls into that praiseworthy category, but it doesn't quite come off. The cover and even the track list of Classical Chillout don't quite convey what you actually get. As the tracklist suggests, the program consists of seven medleys of famous classical tunes, the first devoted entirely to Vivaldi's Four Seasons, the fourth all-Mozart, and the rest drawn from the music of various composers. But the notional Lounge Orchestra is merely a synthesizer on which even the vocal pieces are played. Most of the time a percussion track is added, and the dynamics are smoothed out so that the tunes appear serially across an only slightly changing background. The chillout aspect is a little hard to fathom; despite the promise of "total relaxation" on the cover, much of the music is pretty peppy, and the Eine kleine Nachtmusik excerpt that opens the Mozart item (track 4) is even speeded up from the original. Maybe the "chillout" idea was originally intended to suggest an electronica-like ambience. At any rate, you might think of the music as a new version of the old U.S. chestnut Hooked on Classics, updated for the electronic age. But the arrangements aren't as artful as the ones that put that album on the top of the charts; the music often seems to turn on a dime when a new tune starts, and the use of the percussion is a bit random. It is hard to imagine an audience for this among buyers oriented toward electronica, traditional classical pops, or just the idea of chilling out.
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