Burnt Streets – Maria Rago (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Metal, especially the more technical end of that particular spectrum, and classical music have always made slightly odd but perfectly compatible travelling companions. But require high levels of skill, dedication and dexterity, both revel in florid and intricate soundscapes, byzantine sonic structures and whatever the opposite of the “less is more” approach is. Both also rely on very considered composition to ensure that all of the various musical strands both support each other and have their own place and purpose. Burnt Streets is the sound of those two worlds colliding, and doing so elegantly.

Italian pianist and composer Maria Grazia Rago studied at the Conservatoire National Superieur De Musique Et Danse De Lyon in France and guitarist Martin Szorad is a multi-instrumentalist from the Czech Republic. Together with the Amadeus Academy Orchestra they have fused the disciplines of both their musical worlds into one of the most epic and musically eloquent songs you will have heard for a long time.

Rather than the more expected violin or piano in the spotlight, Szorad’s guitar takes the lead role, delivering breathtakingly dexterous salvos of nuanced notes as banks of strings drive relentlessly onwards, sometimes tastefully restrained, other times martial and menacing. There is something Wagnerian and epic about the piece, a dynamic soundtrack reflecting the poignant and power of the video accompaniment, which switches between the  heightened hustle and bustle of the city going about its business and flashpoints of anger overflowing into action. A comment on our times if ever there was one.

Add to that the gruff narration (there are both narrated and purely instrumental versions to be found) and you have something a bit special indeed.

Compositions such as this are important not just for the message that they convey but to remind us that, like every other art form and musical genre, classical music also has to move with the times. To many, it may seem stuck in a stylised past but this blending of its more traditional sounds with contemporary metal is nothing less than the sound of that evolution taking place.

Burnt Streets is relevant, that is the bottom line. Both in its wish to use a musical platform to make poignant statements and social commentary and also in its desire to move its chosen genre forward at the same time. Does the fact that the focal point of such a piece is a sound more normally found in the world of rock and roll make the overall composition unacceptable in classical circles? Of course not. Well, let’s hope not anyway. This is the sound of the world shifting, the sound of one chapter being brought to a close and a fresh one being written. This is the sound of musical evolution. This is the sound of the world today.


Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: