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Christopher O’Riley: Out of My Hands

Unlike other classical piano soloists, Christopher O’Riley doesn’t shy away from rock; his most recent collection of transcriptions is a feat.

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Only Christopher O’Riley would be audacious enough to pair Shostakovich with Radiohead or Debussy with Nick Drake, said Vivien Schweitzer in The New York Times. Unlike other classical soloists, the pianist doesn’t shy away from rock. In the past six years, he has released four collections of transcriptions, ranging from the “soulfully enigmatic” works of Radiohead to the songs of Elliott Smith. On his fifth effort, Out of My Hands, O’Riley “really goes for it,” said David N. Lewis in All Music Guide. There are moments in his version of Portishead’s “The Rip” and Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them” that “fire up the imagination, energize and inspire.” His arrangement of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box,” with its thrashing chords, replicates the “thundering power” of the original. Not only a feat of piano performance, Out of My Hands “resets the bar for the conversation twixt classical and popular music.”

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