Era Classics

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Classics, the fifth Era album by producer Eric Lévi, is similar in style to previous releases but is novel in its new age adaptation of well-known classical works by Giulio Caccini, Antonio Vivaldi, Giuseppe Verdi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Gustav Mahler, George Frederick Handel, and Samuel Barber. The past couple Era albums, The Mass (2003) and Reborn (2008), weren't as well received as the first couple, Era (1997) and Era 2 (2000). Though this didn't prevent them from reaching the Top Ten of the French albums chart, many fans expressed disappointment that Lévi was increasingly running out of good ideas and either repeating himself or, in the case of songs like "Kilimandjaro" from Reborn, making awful music. Rather than come up with fresh material of his own once again, Lévi goes back to the classics for Classics, crafting Era-style new age adaptations of Caccini's Ave Maria, Vivaldi's Spring and Winter from The Four Seasons, Verdi's Nabucco and La Forza del Destino, Bach's Concerto No. 3, Malher's Fifth Symphony, Handel's Sarabande and Ombra Mai Fu, and Barber's Adagio for Strings. He also revisits a song of his own, "Sombre Day" from The Mass, and performs it in a new style. Granted, these classical works are generally well known and in some cases timeworn (e.g., Adagio for Strings), but they're given a creative spin by Lévi, who is undoubtedly adept at string and choral arrangements and new age production techniques if not composing original material of his own. Surely one of Lévi's most commercially oriented efforts and more than a little contrived, Classics is nonetheless the most enjoyable Era album in some time.

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