Various Artists

Classics for a New Century

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One of the toughest challenges facing classical music labels in the twenty first century, especially those embedded within the "majors," is how to market the music to a public that is either scared of it or indifferent. Scared in a sense that they might wind up liking it and thus expose themselves to the ridicule of their friends, or indifferent because they have no grounding in classical music and can't see why they would need it in their lives. Sony's Classics for a New Century attempts to both bridge the gap and provide a showcase for the artists and film-related projects representative of the Sony Classical imprint. There is nothing here that's remotely scary, and much of it would qualify as easy listening if that term could still be considered correct usage. The piano pieces (including that of Billy Joel), Yo-Yo Ma's performance of the Massenet Méditation (from Thaïs), and the John Williams track from Star Wars are the most classical things represented here, the rest being to various degrees commercial pop music with some of it being not particularly good. Perhaps a more judicious balance of these elements would have resulted in a better product; nonetheless, if you like these artists and want them together on the same disc, you may well find Classics for a New Century useful and even enjoyable.

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