Italy - Full Moon 89 - 01/07/04
Tribute to Beethoven: Drum in the Symphony no. 9
Italian drummer experiments with 180 year old symphony, and the result is better than you might
As a drummer, I sometimes find myself tapping out rhythms when I'm listening to music with no
drums or percussion. Not because there's anything wrong with drumless music, but I just like to
experiment and imagine what it would sound like with drums. Italian drummer Massimo Aiello has
taken this concept a bit further by recording himself playing drums along with Beethovens famous
ninth symphony. You know, the one with that beautiful melody - "Ode to Joy" - that the bad guy
is humming in "Die Hard". Not to mention the countless other movies it's been used in.
Now, I can imagine that purists have huge problems with someone recording drums onto a classical
piece in this manner, so let me just say this: If you love classical music and believe that it
should only be played as the composer wrote it, then stay away from this recording. If, on the
other hand, you love classical music, and don't mind it being experimented with, this could be
well worth checking out.
Aiello has used a recording of Beethoven's ninth symphony by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
(with their permission, I hope), and recorded his drums along with that. Rather than just playing
straight beats, he uses his drums and cymbals like an orchestra in itself, complimenting - rather
than overpowering - the symphony. The drums are lower in the mix than you might expect, perhaps
even too low at times. On some of the louder parts, the orchestra almost drowns out the drums.
It's not really a problem, though, and I think it says more of Massimo Aiello's sense of dynamics
Throughout the 71-minute CD, the drumming is often quite "jazzy", which has a very interesting
effect on the overall sound. There is also some nice cymbal work on the quiet parts, and some tom-tom
bombast on the louder bits. There is a short drum intro to the third movement, and a longer solo
towards the end of the fourth movement, which, again, does not intrude upon Beethoven's masterpiece,
but rather complements it. As the title says, it's a tribute. And it works, thanks to
Massimo Aiello's melodic drumming.
Copyright © 2004 Kentil'zha