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Passion for Bach

Dominic Miller's 'Shapes' -
reviewed by TESS CREBBIN

'... he is a genius.'

Dominic Miller - Shapes. © 2004 Decca Music Group Ltd

Classic-light? Pop-o-Bach? When one hears that Dominic Miller's day job is as Sting's guitarist, one may be excused for thinking that he is merely a pop-musician trying his hand at being a classical crossover after having 'discovered' that some of 'these classical dudes' wrote pretty good music. This might be what a lot of crossovers from pop are like but if you think this is what Dominic Miller is about, think again. He is not your run-of-the-mill crossover artist, leastwise not from 'Them' to 'Us'. Miller is the one who rebelled, absconded from his Guildhall schooling and got away for a while, travelling the world with various famous pop bands. Now the virtuoso guitarist/composer's classical roots are calling him back.

The Argentine-born Brit spent his teenage years in the States, started out as a classical musician and then drifted into pop to make a living. Like the prodigal son, he is heading home again and, boy, is he ever welcome! Shapes hit number one in the Swedish classical charts shortly after its release, then was nominated for the Classical Brit awards and, prestige here we come, has a feature-excerpt on the Awards' sample CD. These days, Shapes is being played on classical radio stations all over the world, its reputation slowly but steadily spreading.

Miller is now doing his own concerts internationally. In June 2004, he came to town and I missed the concert and forgot about it. I have got this thing about crossover artists. The last time I listened to a crossover was Michael Bolton, and his Nessun Dorma brought tears to my eyes ... over what he was doing to Puccini! So this entire Sting-guitarist-classical-album episode was going to pass me by until I realized that most of my colleagues were writing about him. Every once in a while someone kept talking in the press lounge about 'that guitarist who was in town last week'. Weeks after the Miller concert I did not attend, revelation hit home: this is something I should not have missed and reparation is in order, fast. So I dug myself through the pile on my desk, resurrected the Miller press release and sent off an email for a review copy of the CD which, by then, had already taken prime feature position, by the checkout, in continental Europe's largest classical music store.

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Copyright © 10 August 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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