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Monday, May 8, 2017

Uri Caine Ensemble - "Wagner E Venezia" CD Album, Germany, 1997 (Winter & Winter)


The great Richard Wagner melodies played by a six-member band, live, in what sounds like a cafe in Venice Italy.  Uri Cane is a composer, and a jazz and classical pianist.  He has done a similar treatment to Mozart's music, but for me, Wagner is the key ingredient for this type of cultural mash-up.    What Caine did was bring Wagner back to earth, not as this insane over-the-top composer, but as a classical composer who wrote these tender sweet incredible melodies.   So in other words, Wagner stripped down.   The theater is gone, the Norse gods are zipped, and what we have here is cafe music played in front of what sounds like an audience in some outside cafe.  

It's a peculiar choice to present Wagner's music in this light, but one that is highly effective and what's more important strips the image off (at least for this recording and band) to appreciate the Wagner experience without the dramatics.  The ensemble besides Caine on piano, is two violins, an accordion, stand-up bass player, and Violoncello.  By far my favorite Wagner recording of all time. And beautifully designed package as well.