steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Helmut Lotti

"Pop Classics in Symphony" CD

Atlantis / Piet Roelen

Genres: pop classical

Dec 13 - 19 2004

Ever wanted to hear pop classics like "Bohemian Rhapsody," "The House of the Rising Sun," and "When a Man Loves a Woman" re-made into symphonic easy listening tunes?  Me neither!  But that's what Helmut Lotti has done on Pop Classics in Symphony, and that's what I have the pleasure of reviewing right now.

Firstly - let's get this out of the way - this isn't a bad release.  It is impeccably produced, and there is undoubtedly a large audience for this type of thing.  Lotti is a good singer, and his arrangements are tight and quite faithful to the originals.  However, Pop Classics' problem stems from its musical value - none of these songs do anything particularly creative with their source material (with the exception of "Whiter Shade of Pale," which is strange and not entirely successful).  These songs are symphonic renditions, but many of them still have electric guitar in them - doesn't this sort of undermine the novelty value of an orchestral rendition?  And if the novelty value is negated, what other value does this CD have?

As far as entertainment goes, I figure this will appeal to the adult generation that grew up listening to these tunes.  If you dig those Lawrence Welk concerts that always get televised on PBS, this will probably suit you.  Otherwise, I'd assume Pop Classics in Symphony will be limited to elevators and novelty album collections.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 14 tracks, distributed by the artist, released 2004]