Uri Caine

Uri Caine: Diabelli Variations

  • AllMusic Rating
    6
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

In the ‘90s and 2000s, Uri Caine has acknowledged a wide variety of classical composers--everyone from Johann Sebastian Bach to Robert Schumann. And the Philadelphia-born pianist has acknowledged them on his terms; Caine's jazz/classical hybrids have been about interpretation, not emulation. That approach has never endeared him to classical hardliners, who believe that musicians should play exactly what the masters wrote and not do any interpreting or improvising. Caine, thankfully, doesn't feel that way, which is why Diabelli Variations is an interesting as it is. Recorded in Cologne, Germany in 2002, this CD finds Caine putting his spin on the compositions of Ludwig van Beethoven. Diabelli Variations is less daring and more straight-forward than some of Caine's other releases; none of his arrangements on this album sound like iconoclasm for the sake of iconoclasm. Nonetheless, the pianist does his share of improvising and brings his usual appreciation of jazz to the table--and when he improvises, there are subtle hints of everyone from James P. Johnson to McCoy Tyner. Some jazz fans might focus on Caine's orchestral backing and conclude that Diabelli Variations is really more Euro-classical than jazz--that what Caine does on this CD (unlike some of his other releases) is basically European classical music with jazz overtones. Even so, the jazz elements are noticeable enough to offend classical purists, who would argue that Beethoven's work isn't open to interpretation--period. But then, Caine doesn't cater to classical purists any more than he caters to jazz purists. Diabelli Variations is strictly for broad-minded listeners who have no problem with the Euro-classical and jazz worlds interacting.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Diabelli Variations, arrangement and improvisations for piano & orchestra (after Beethoven)
1
1:00
2
2:13
3
0:56
4
1:15
5
1:14
6
1:04
7
0:59
8
1:49
9
1:22
10
1:29
11
0:38
12
0:59
13
0:54
14
1:00
15
2:53
16
0:31
17
1:17
18
1:44
19
1:27
20
1:05
21
2:28
22
1:09
23
0:50
24
1:06
25
1:14
26
3:23
27
1:00
28
1:35
29
0:50
30
1:14
31
1:58
32
5:03
33
5:50
34
2:22
blue highlight denotes track pick