We're certainly living in the age of crossover, with artists of almost every background venturing outside their own area of expertise to explore and sometimes try to create a common ground between two (or more) disparate musical traditions. This is a sampling of some of the more eccentric combinations that have turned up recently. With no value judgments about the artistic success of the outcomes, we humbly present this assortment of crossover pieces for your perusal.
1. Italian grand opera + traditional Aboriginal music + lite rock
Aboriginal digeridoo player and producer David Hudson has made a single-track CD-length version of Nessun Dorma, the popular tenor aria from Pucciniâ€™s faux-Chinese opera, Turandot, arranged for voice, digeridoo, and soft rock ensemble. With Australia, China and Europe represented, heâ€™s got the northern hemisphere covered and the eastern half of the south -- if heâ€™d included a west African djembe, or Peruvian panpipes, he would have had a truly global combination.
David Hudson & Friends - Nessun Dorma:
2. Baroque trumpet + the blues
Admittedly, Baroque music has been already been combined with just about every type of music in the world, so Trompeten Consort Friedemann Immer's Baroque in Blue isnâ€™t groundbreakingly original crossover, but thereâ€™s something nice about having period instruments (including a zink -- an especially Baroque variety of trumpet), using period tuning systems, breaking out in the blues.
Baroque in Blue - Rag Rog
3. Klezmer + Hinduism
Itâ€™s hard to tell exactly how Karmic principles or practices are integrated into this album, but youâ€™ve got to take these virtuosic performers at their word, since they call it Klezmer Karma.
Klezmer Karma - Klezmer Suite No. 1
4. Germanic Post-Romanticism + Gospel
American pianist and arranger Uri Caine is famous for his crossover efforts, and one of the most unusual must be his superimposition of a gospel solo over a choral arrangement of one of Mahlerâ€™s RÃ¼ckert lieder.
The Classical Variations - Only Love Beauty
5. German Romantic opera + maverick American experimentalism
Uri Caine is also responsible for this arrangement of the Prelude to Tristan und Isolde, in which the random, ambient sounds beloved by John Cage (in this case, of a very noisy audience) are a key musical element. (Itâ€™s apparently a whole theatre full of the type of person who thinks itâ€™s perfectly acceptable to talk out loud during operas, as long as no one onstage is singing, but in this sample the music is loud enough to almost cover the conversation.)
The Classical Variations - Prelude (Tristan und Isolde)
6. Mozart + traditional Middle Eastern music + free jazz + hip hop
The inimitable Uri Caine developed this truly innovative combination of traditions -- it's probably safe to say that heâ€™s the first to come up with this particular concept. Itâ€™s too bad the 30-second sample doesnâ€™t capture more of the trackâ€™s variety. (If anyone knows of another example of Mozart accompanied by scratching, please share it.)
The Classical Variations - Turkish Rondo
What are your own personal crossover favorites?