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Perpetual Motion

Perpetual Motion

October 2, 2001
4.7 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews
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18 9:02
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19 1:57
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: October 2, 2001
  • Release Date: October 2, 2001
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 56:19
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00138KGRU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Carpenter on April 2, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
To be honest, I bought this CD to please a friend of mine who insisted that I listen to it. My gut feeling was that it was going to be a classical "Annoying Music" CD. (I love the "Annoying Music" CDs -- but classical "annoying music" can be absolutely grating!)
Now, imagine my surprise when I heard absolutely impeccable performances of Scarlatti, Chopin, Bach and Beethoven -- played on a BANJO!
Even more, imagine my surprise when I realized I had driven five exits past my turnoff while listening to this CD for the first time on my way home!
Some of the really outstanding moments on this CD are the Scarlatti Sonata in C Major (K159), Debussy's "Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum", Chopin's "Etude in C-Sharp Minor" (which is a finger-breaker on the piano -- I cannot imagine it being played on a banjo, but he does it, and it works!), and Paganini's "Perpetuo Moto".
The clarity of the playing -- both solo and ensemble -- is nothing short of astounding. Fleck makes the banjo sound like anything BUT a banjo -- the Scarlatti sounds like it's being played on a lute; the Tchaikovskii sounds like it's being played on mandolin -- and it's all uncannily musical!
This CD is probably the biggest shocker I've heard in six years. I can't say this strongly enough: BUY THIS CD!
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Format: Audio CD
The range of creativity that Bela Fleck possesses and displays on a continual basis is truly staggering. Few artists can claim to truly be original, but Fleck is one of them. From acoustic to electric, with harmonica (Howard Levy) or piano (Bruce Hornsby) or saxophone (Jeff Coffin & Paul McCandless), pure bluegrass to pure Bach, covering a multitude of musical categories inbetween, Fleck just produces great music, whether live or in the recording studio. Following his career has been like riding a roller coaster.
This latest effort is no exception. Long-time Fleck & Flecktones fans might be surprised (although we shouldn't be), and classical purists will be very surprised, but he has devoted his latest project to the works of traditional classical composers; they are well represented: Scarlatti, Bach, Debussy, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Paganini, and Beethoven. He had done one Mozart piece on a compilation CD, A Different Mozart, so this didn't come out of nowhere. He also enlisted some great help on other instruments: Joshua Bell on violin, Edgar Meyer on bass and piano, John Williams on guitar, Gary Hoffman on cello, Evelyn Glennie on marimba, among others.
Fleck's playing is crisp and clean throughout the CD, and his interplay with the other artists seems to be very instinctive and natural, even within the confines of traditionally-structured pieces. I would have thought that he would sound stifled in this environment, but I guess I underestimated him--big mistake! Improvisation seems to be his forte, but interpretation ranks right up there. The arrangements are incredible, as well, and Fleck explains in the liner notes about the difficulty not only in finding pieces that would suit banjo but in writing them out on paper for banjo, as well.
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Format: Audio CD
Ok, lets see here. Bela Fleck has mastered bluegrass, was one of the pioneers of newgrass, released a beautiful CD with Indian and Chinese musicians, and... oh yeah, all those records with the Flecktones crossing almost every genre of music.
Now we get to hear Bela take a serious look into classical music. I was a bit skeptical that he could pull this one off. Granted he has an amazing track record listed above, but that is exactly what made me skeptical. Classical music takes an entirely different approach then all of the other things he has played. Improv pretty much goes out the window, there is no "groove", and there is a much larger focus on the subtleties of dynamics and rhythm.
Needless to say, I was not disappointed. For what it is, this record is amazing!
I know some classical purists will not find this disc very interesting, as most of the works that were chosen for this disc concentrate more on technique and less on emotion, but as I said, for what it is, it is amazing.
This album is heavy on Bach, Chopin, and other composers whose works are very "symmetrical", for lack of a better term. These pieces are almost like technical exercises, with passages played in a very exact manner.
What makes the disc so strong is that Bela conquers the technique challenge so easily. The picking he displays is amazingly fluid, and bears with it a gorgeous tone. The name sake of the disc, a tune by Paganini, is jaw dropping. To hear a banjo rip through a million notes a second with such clarity is an absolute delight.
The second strength of the album is the arrangements of the pieces. The configurations of instruments are picked very well to create wonderful atmosphere.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In times when we see many classical musicians crossing over into popular music it is refreshing to see someone like Bela Fleck moving from pop to classical. There is a delightful group of folks flitting like fireflies from one genre to another, pulling and tugging us along as they explore musical diversity. Fleck is one of them. I first heard Fleck in Anchorage about four or five years ago and loved the funky,energetic sound of the Flecktones. Listening to his performances on various CDs I've come to appreciate both his playing and his compositions--and have especially enjoyed being introduced to the musical inventiveness of not only Fleck, but also others such as Mike Marshall, Sam Bush, Edgar Meyer, Jerry Douglas, Darol Anger, Mark O'Connor, Yo Yo Ma, and Joshua Bell. Like Fleck they refuse to be categorized, whizzing off in new directions defying my efforts to categorize their artisty.

This is an enchanting CD that will hopefully introduce Fleck fans to the joys of classical music. The earliest music is perhaps the best on this CD, particularly the Bach. The banjo and the mandolin raced at blinding speeds, but stayed true to the clean, spare intelligence of the compositions. Each instrument provided unique color and texture and some surprises as they interpreted these mostly familiar short pieces. A few pieces were not as well served by this unusual chamber group, but they were still enjoyable.

All in all a pleasant collection.
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