London Telegraph, October 2, 2004

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London Telegraph

UK & Ireland newspapers

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Il Sogno

Elvis Costello

Paul Gent

London Symphony Orchestra
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor

In tackling A Midsummer Night's Dream as a subject for composition, pop star Elvis Costello is following in the footsteps of Mendelssohn, Weber and Britten. No pressure, then. In the event, he pulls it off impressively. Il Sogno, a ballet score first performed by the Italian company Aterballetto in 2000, is no mere dabbling on his part: the former punk has a history of "classical" composition going back to The Juliet Letters of 1992. And, unlike Paul McCartney, his closest rival in the pop-turned-classical stakes, he has taught himself to read and write music, enabling him to create this, his first full orchestral score, without the help of an arranger. The result owes a great deal to Ravel and Gershwin, but Costello has a way with melody all his own, as well as an ear for unusual sonorities, relished here by the LSO. Above all, the piece is fun.

Costello could have produced a dry academic exercise to prove his classical credentials; instead he has written a piece that, without sounding remotely like his pop songs, nevertheless has something of their coiled energy and offbeat humour.


Tags: Il SognoLondon Symphony OrchestraMichael Tilson ThomasAterballettoA Midsummer Night's DreamThe Juliet LettersPaul McCartneyGeorge Gershwin

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The Daily Telegraph, October 2, 2004


Paul Gent reviews Il Sogno.

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Il Sogno album cover.jpg

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