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Christopher O'Riley Plays Ravel

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Album Review

It's hard to approach a Radiohead tribute with anything but reservation, as the majority of the band's later work is difficult to replicate, especially if your arsenal consists of a single piano. Things aren't helped much thanks to Brad Mehldau's jazz interpretations leaving a bitter taste in the mouth of even the most die-hard Radiohead fan. That said, True Love Waits isn't a bad compilation if you were a fan of Mehldau's reworkings. However, if you were on the other side of the fence, it might not be the best album you'll listen to all year. Much to his credit, O'Riley chooses a wide range of songs from Radiohead's back catalog, forgoing the obvious temptation of selecting the recognizable hits. Some translate quite well into a solo piano setting, especially darker and low-key songs like "Bulletproof" and the subtle "Motion Picture Soundtrack." Unfortunately, this isn't always the case; several tunes turn into frenzied piano workouts that make O'Riley sound like he comes from the Richard Clayderman school of musical interpretation. Not without its redeeming qualities, True Love Waits comes off more focused on the skills of the piano player than the songs being paid tribute.

Customer Reviews

Maurice Radiohead

The posted review for this album cleverly equates Ravel and Radiohead, making for an interesting mashup. "True Love Waits" might be thought to be a tribute to Tom Waits, but is amusingly, and very loosely translated here as "Valses Nobles et Sentimentales." Thom Yorke would be impressed. "Miroirs," the rendering of "Bulletproof," puts a decidedly Impressionistic spin on this Radiohead nugget, suggesting at times that Debussy would comfortably rub shoulders with the iconic and ironic British band. "Motion picture Soundtrack" is rendered as "Gaspard de ls Nuit," a notoriously difficult and challenging piece which works surprisingly well even shorn as it is of its drums and electronics.
Either that or the wrong review has been posted for this album.


Born: Illinois

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Growing up near Chicago, Christopher O'Riley took lessons in classical piano but played in rock and fusion bands throughout middle and high school before his family moved to Pittsburgh and he began experimenting with jazz. Still, it was to classical music that he turned as a profession, attending the New England Conservatory in Boston. His first releases followed in this vein, solo performances of works by composers like Schumann, Beethoven, Ravel, Busoni, and Stravinsky, and he even began hosting...
Full Bio
Christopher O'Riley Plays Ravel, Christopher O'Riley
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