After a self-titled release that flirted with pop crossover, violinist David Garrett dives deep into that world with his 2010 effort, an album that rocks like its 1766. Most arrangements are simple as Garrett takes the melodies from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” and plays them furiously in front of an equally aggressive orchestra that’s augmented by electric guitars and a standard rock kit drummer. No great revelations to be had, but the tracks work well enough, recasting some of rock’s classics as Romantic-era works that are prime for television commercials designed to sell diamonds or wine to the post-Woodstock set. Rock symphonies exceeds its predecessor when it comes to the more clever cuts, such as the “Vivaldi vs. Vertigo,” a mash-up of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and U2’s “Vertigo.” And it's fun how “The 5th” messes with Beethoven’s -- heck, classical music’s -- most famous piece and how his take on “Walk This Way” references the Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. version before turning into a fiddle-led hoedown. Keep in mind, the showy Garrett is a polarizing figure in the classical community, so don’t expect your snootier friends to agree, but if your kids spend way too much time behind the violin, this just might turn them on to rock & roll.
Rock Symphonies Review
by David Jeffries