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Pet Shop Boys, The Most Incredible Thing: Original Score
Astralwerks Records, March 22

03/17/11
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



There’s likely no band other than PSB more culturally credentialed and intellectually licensed to combine techno and classical toward the creation of a modern ballet, as this is — the stage production is a modernization of the Hans Christian Anderson story, which grew from his disgust with the pointless conflict of his own time, the Franco-Prussian War. Now, in contrast to the waltzes to which elite ears are accustomed, this music is often written in 4/4, sometimes lending an air of oafish pomposity to it. But there literally is no way around cribbing from the Trans Siberian Orchestra playbook in a 4/4 classical setting, while meantime the waltzes, such as “Risk,” drip with authenticity, and the experimental techno (the first “Clock” segment) is depthless. Mind, these aren’t just the guys who did “West End Girls,” this is those guys backed by Poland’s Wrocław Score Orchestra, thus the Tchaikovsky can really get thick (and charming) at times, as during “Physical Jerks.” And so a burst of trance, some military drums, a haunting neo-Broadway number (“The Meeting”), a few bars of soft-shoe, anything within reason goes — these guys have moved a mountain, successfully combining two polar-opposite worlds into a production anyone could adore. A+

—Eric W. Saeger
 






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