Classics Revisited is the first national release for Paul G Hughes. As the name implies, this is a collection of piano classics given a new electronic twist. Being old enough to remember Switched-On-Bach by Wendy Carlos, Hooked On Classics by Louis Clark and Bach Busters by Don Dorsey, Hughes has brought the idea of reinterpreting classical music standards into the 21st century with a fresh look at how these gems can be adapted to a today’s listeners. Well recognized piano works such as “Fur Elise” and “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven get a new interpretation with a change in meter and the addition of new instrumentation. The three “Gymnopedies” by Satie get a very fresh interpretation with heavy use of electronic sounds and sequencing techniques.
“The most difficult piece for me to tackle was the “Piano Concerto #2” by Rachmaninoff. It is such a beautiful work that doing too much to it just didn’t feel right. I ended up adding just a touch of bass and a few other electronic sounds to give it a fresh feel.” Other works were taken quite a bit further, while still retaining their original flavor. A good example of this is “Malaguena” by Lecuona. The lush orchestral instrumentation is augmented with synth pads and electric bass riffs to fatten up the texture.
“This project was quite a departure for me. I’m usually in the studio doing vocal work, so getting back to my piano skills was quite a challenge. Of course, using a sequencing program didn’t hurt. I’m always lamenting on how poor my piano skills are, even after years of lessons and even more years of having to use them in the classroom.” You would never know that listening to any track off of this release. Hughes’ feel for what will work is spot on with this collection of well known piano works, and it is a disc that you can listen to quite often without tiring of it.
So what’s next for the high school choir director? “I’m working on a disc of original tunes that feature my vocal skills. I love getting in my studio and creating rich four part vocal textures to go along with the sequenced tracks I create.”