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David Garrett was a gifted young violinist who performed as soloist with the London Philharmonic at the age of ten. He “crossed over” a few years ago to record a series of song-based albums, and never has that act seemed more like crossing to the dark side. It began with the rather jejune Free (2007), a bouquet of tunes by Morricone, Bernstein and Bizet, but reaches an apotheosis of awful with Rock Symphonies – Garrett joined by an orchestra and heavy metal band.
The violinist wields his bow like a machete, castrating composers of talent from Beethoven (first mvt of Fifth Symphony) to Kurt Cobain (Smells Like Teen Spirit). What makes it especially heinous is that Garrett’s playing isn’t even that refined, despite the Juilliard training. He can “shred” all right, but he doesn’t have the variety of phrasing to make rock music sound natural on the violin; he’s out of tune in Guns and Roses’ November Rain; and his solos seem conscribed to the pentatonic scale. It’s almost like Garrett is the André Rieu of rock – the schmaltz king of metal. Bad taste release of the year.