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Best Of 2013

Classical Spotlight 2013: Underground Crossover

by Seth Colter Walls

Classical Spotlight 2013: Underground Crossover

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Whether you listen to much classical music or not, you're likely familiar with the marketing ploy of classical crossover. A tenor sings holiday songs; a soprano sings Tears for Fears. But that kind of mass-market outreach is hardly the only kind of crossing over that classical musicians do. They also reach out to realms of harsh electronic glitch, alt rock noise and other less commercial trends.

In 2013, we're calling it underground crossover. Click play on our mix, and hear the riffing electric guitar parts that drive composer David T. Little's opera Soldier Songs; the dance-y, IDM inflections of Dawn of Midi's "Ymir"; the jazz-meets-post-rock dirge of Darcy James Argue's "Builders" (which is part of an expertly arranged suite). And don't forget vocalist Shelley Hirsch, either. A longtime denizen of New York's avant-classical Downtown scene, in 2013 she memorably offered her extended vocal techniques to the German chamber group Koch-Schütz-Studer. Their jam "What Pushes Me Up, What Goes Down the Drain / Let It Snow" offers a wealth of rocking textures -- and hey, even a little holiday magic toward the end. Who ever said underground crossover couldn't celebrate the spirit of the season, too?

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