Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tarja TURUNEN & Mike TERRANA: "Beauty & The Beat"

Rating: Live
Label: earMUSIC/Edel 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

... And now for something completely different. Replace the 'S' from beast with your nutty drummer and get Finland's one and only royalty to sing... ehh, well, the unusual stuff at her usual range and you're all set for the classical evening of Bach, Struass, Dvorak, Puccini, Offenbach, Rossini, and Mozart (13 tracks: disc one). The full orchestra and choir (approx: 100 folks on stage) doing their parts perfectly, I'm surprised this off-the-chart project doesn't take place in the Sauna after all? It's clearly hotter than hell and especially the first disc where Tarja's vocal performances really shines like those poor Chernobyl kids (they glow in the dark you know).

Originally intended as the one-time event in 2011, the show garnered critical adoration from fans and media alike. In the Spring of 2013, Turunen, and the bloke at the back of the stage, Terrana, brought these eclectic sounds to the stage again, touring throughout the world, from Poland to Russia to Mexico, all captured on this very 2CD set, Beauty & The Beat. Classical music kicks major butt and it's definitely Tarja's territory. Make especially sure to check out her versions of "Vilja Lied" (Lehar) and "Mein Herr Marquis" (Strauss) as those two are 'nearly up there amongst the very best. The drummer bang along to the beat of "William Tell Overture" (Rossini) and "Ein Kleine Nachtmusik" (Mozart) and it's all very... decent? Simply bring back the Finn on stage...

Disc two (8 tracks) kicks off with "You Take My Breath Away" (Queen) before going into Turunen's "The Reign" and "Witch Hunt", which eventually turn into the 8-minute Led Zeppelin medley consisting of "Kashmir", bits of "The Immigrant Song", pieces of "Stairway to Heaven" and plenty of high-pitch wailing notes. The final words goes to Tarja T and I quote, "I believe this kind of combination of instruments, particularly playing mainly classical music, is very unique. I have been making collaborations with orchestras before and I could foresee a great outcome. Our main goal with these kind of concerts is that the younger audience experiences the beauty and power of a symphonic orchestra and choir. Hopefully it will serve as an introduction to classical music for some of our fans". Good on ya' Tarja. You little ripper... and not to mention Beauty. Recommended.

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