Thursday, 24 May 2018

CD Review (The Straits Times, May 2018)

re:mix  / FOO SAY MING
re:mix #002 / *****

Remember those suites of Beatles hits arranged and dressed up as baroque concerti grossi? Here is a new album of popular songs, golden oldies mixed with more recent ones, performed by the land's leading purveyor of musical nostalgia, the crack string ensemble re:mix led by Singapore Symphony Orchestra first violinist Foo Say Ming.

The two major works are by Hong Kong-based British composer-conductor Dominic Sargent. Sonatina headily brings together the Bee Gees' Night Fever, Lady Gaga's Bad Romance (masquerading as a Mahlerian ländler) and Michael Jackson's Billie Jean. Longer and in five movements is Sonata Latina, which recycles songs like Solamente Una Vez, Quizas Quizas Quizas, Besame Mucho and Desafinado. Whoever thought that Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine's Conga could be spoofed so deliciously as the finale from Bartok's Concerto For Orchestra?

Singaporean arrangers Chen Zhangyi (Chinese evergreens Everlasting Love and Sands Of Sorrow, and the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby) and Derek Lim (Ye Lai Xiang) also get a look in, but by no means a token one. Foo and his charges are totally into this music and they are sumptuously recorded, making this classy trip to yesteryear a most memorable one.  

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