John Harle

Terror + Magnificence

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John Harle, a saxophonist with Michael Nyman's band, composed Terror & Magnificence as his first serious venture into classical music. The album straddles the lines between jazz and classical, relying more on chamber music than be-bop. Harle enlisted the Balanescu Quartet as his main backing band, asking saxophonist Andy Sheppard and soprano vocalist Sarah Leonard to play on the record as well. But Terror & Magnificence gained attention because of Elvis Costello, who sings three Shakespearean songs that Harle set to music. These may be more authentic music than The Juliet Letters, yet they aren't as graceful as Costello's collaboration with the Brodsky Quartet. However, the remainder of Terror & Magnificence is quite intriguing, and while Costello fans will find it only of marginal interest, adventurous listeners would do well to give it a try.

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