Last night I heard Christopher O'Riley and Matt Haimovitz perform pieces from their new album Shuffle.Play.Listen. I'll have more to say about the album once I listen to it, but the concert was an evening well spent. The program was a mix of twentieth-century composed ("classical") music and O'Riley's piano/cello arrangements of rock songs.
This sort of mixed program -- Webern to Radiohead to Stravinsky -- is great for someone coming from indie rock to classical because it draws connections from things I understand fairly well to things I don't really get yet. The way Haimovitz absolutely shreds on that John McLaughlin solo, you suddenly start to wonder if "shredding" is a good way of understanding the Stravinsky tarantella. Or when he somehow captures Regine Chassagne's phrasing and intonation on the melody of Arcade Fire's "In the Backseat," you start figuring out how to follow the phrases in Martinu's "Variations on a Slovak Folksong." Even if I'm not the best person to judge the quality of the musicianship, which, to me, seemed incredibly high, I can tell when musicians are revealing new layers in songs I know well and introducing me to songs and compositions that I ought to know well.