Personnel: Ofra Harnoy (cello); Andrew Dawes, Kenneth Perkins, Adele Armin, Anthony Flint (violin); Terence Helmer, Paul Armin (viola); Denis Brott, Richard Armin (cello).
Recorded at Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, Canada on November 29, 1995; Flora McRae Auditorium, Toronto, Canada in September 1984; St. Timothy's Church, Toronto, Canada in October 1985.
Personnel: Ofra Harnoy (cello); Andrew Dawes, Anthony Flint, Adele Armin (violin); Terrence Helmer, Paul Armin (viola); Richard Armin (cello); Jeremy Wall (piano); Doug Riley (synthesizer).
Recording information: Flora McRae Auditorium Of Timothy Eaton Memorial Church (10/??/1995-11/29/1995); Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (10/??/1995-11/29/1995); St. Timothy's Church, Toronto, Canada (10/??/1995-11/29/1995).
Photographer: Carol Weinberg.
Arrangers: Jeremy Wall; Doug Riley .
In the late '80s and early '90s it had become somewhat fashionable, trendy, and chic for symphony orchestras to perform and record rock & roll classics. Indeed, some of the orchestral transcriptions of Yes and Pink Floyd are amazing and even essential. No rock & roll artists have been more exposed in this light than the Beatles. There are literally dozens of CDs available of John Lennon/Paul McCartney tunes by symphony orchestras, classical pianists, and/or chamber orchestras. Imagine by Ofra Harnoy is one of the best. This CD features Harnoy on solo cello accompanied at times by the Oxford String Quartet or the Armin String Quartet. But the real treats on this outstanding CD are her solo performances. Harnoy plays with such grace, restraint, and feeling that these pieces, sans vocals, take on new meaning. Hearing these familiar pop tunes in ambient and minimalist stylings is a delightful experience. Lennon and McCartney have been justifiably hailed as the greatest songwriting duo ever. Their lyrics tell great stories and are great poetry. Harnoy's restrained and reverent cello tells new versions or adds chapters to the originals. Her version of "Michelle" becomes a bittersweet dirge and powerful dark minimalism. "Yesterday" will have deep listeners contemplating their own fates and mourning losses. Of course, no Beatles collection is complete without George Harrison or Ringo Starr selections. Harnoy's arrangements of "Here Comes the Sun" and "Octopus' Garden" are brilliant. There are two of Lennon's solo compositions as well. The title track, "Imagine," is killer. "Free As a Bird," one of the "lost pieces," is true to form also. Oddly enough, there are no pieces from McCartney's solo career. This CD is lots of fun, entertaining as hell, and absolutely essential for ambient listeners and fans of the Fab Four. ~ Jim Brenholts