These are based on his own groundbreaking transcriptions of the songs in question, following on the heels of his past readings of the finest in pop repertoire from Radiohead, Elliott Smith and Nick Drake. Along with his powerful interpretations of the Classical piano repertoire, these new performances exhibit how pianist Christopher O'Riley continues to stretch and redefine the possibilities of Classical music in our time. Out of My Hands is released August 18 by White Tie Records.
Out of My Hands features the single "Heart Shaped Box," now available on iTunes, originally composed by Nirvana's Kurt Cobain. The recording techniques employed exemplify Christopher O'Riley's unique straddling of the Classical and rock music worlds: O'Riley performed on a Hamburg Steinway Model D piano with five microphones placed inside, as well as a 360 degree surround system known as the "Death Star," comprising seven additional microphones. This dual system delivers the intensity and rich harmonic layering of O'Riley's piano arrangements, inspired by the sound of guitars, basses and drums, and captures the concert hall acoustic.
Also included on the new album are "Mother" by Tori Amos; Elliot Smith's "New Disaster;" Portishead's "The Rip;" "Us and Them" from Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon; "Woman In Chains" by Tears for Fears; "Blue Bell Knoll" by the Cocteau Twins; "World Leader Pretend" from R.E.M.; "Asleep" by The Smiths; Reid Anderson's "Lost of Love" and returning to Radiohead, from In Rainbows, "All I Need" and "Video Tape." In his fascinating booklet notes, Christopher O'Riley describes the songs through a Classical lens, noting the Debussian fifths in "All I Need," the Glassian arpeggiations on "Blue Bell Knoll," the Schubertian focus on "Asleep" and the operatic duet in "Woman in Chains," along with making musical comparisons to Sibelius, Chopin, Messiaen and Scriabin - all providing enlightening insight into his inimitable craft.
Christopher O'Riley performs music from Out of My Hands at New York's Highline Ballroom on August 24 at 9:00pm Additional performances will take place pm October 17 at The Barns at Wolf Trap in Falls Church, VA and on October 23 at Manship Theater in Baton Rouge, LA. Additional Out of My Hands dates to be announced.