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Olde Worlde updated ?

Music by Paul Schwartz -
reviewed by

'... consistently pleasing, somewhat innocuous, easy sounds ...'

State of Grace III. © 2006 Zakatak Music Productions/Koch Entertainment

Now here's a right ol' kettle o' fish. But is it New Age, is it Olde Worlde (updated)? One thing is clear -- Schwartz' recent output combines choral, orchestral and solo elements injected with part techno-electronic, part acoustic sounds. It's raison d'etre is what's principally open to question.

A number of Schwartz afficianados liken his Latin titled, quasi-religious items to the sacred works of innovative nun and visionary, Hildegard von Bingen; only here the numbers are reversed from the 12th to the 21st Century.

His latest State of Grace III album is a curious potpourri of this, that, and the other.

Schwartz was born in NYC into a Broadway musical-theatre family; his father, Arthur Schwartz, wrote many standard songs including Dancing in the Dark and That's Entertainment. 'My mother was an actress', he says. At twelve the family moved to London, where he eventually went to the Royal College of Music, and spent summers at the Accademia Chigiana in Italy.

Paul returned to the USA in 1981 and for thirteen years worked largely as a conductor, first in the classical world and subsequently on Broadway. In '93 he left his final show, Phantom of the Opera, to compose full-time. In '96, Steve Plotnicki, owner of Profile Records funded Aria -- snippets of opera to a beat.

'That's how my whole recording career got started', Paul recalls. Between Aria (1,2 and 3) and his latest project, he wrote and released Revolution, a unique album featuring classical-crossover arrangements of some of the Beatles' most popular songs and the follow up, Aria 2: New Horizon.

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Copyright © 7 January 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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