Violin ensemble re:mix tackle pop tunes in sumptuous new arrangements



re:mix/Foo Say Ming

re:mix #002

5 stars

Remember those suites of Beatles hits arranged and dressed up as baroque concerti grossi?

Here is a new album of popular songs - golden oldies mixed with more recent ones - performed by Singapore's leading purveyor of musical nostalgia, the crack string ensemble re:mix led by Singapore Symphony Orchestra first violinist Foo Say Ming.

The two major works are by Hong Kong-based, British composer-conductor Dominic Sargent.

Sonatina headily brings together the Bee Gees' Night Fever, Lady Gaga's Bad Romance and Michael Jackson's Billie Jean.

Longer and in five movements is Sonata Latina, which recycles songs such as Solamente Una Vez, Quizas Quizas Quizas, Besame Mucho and Desafinado. Whoever thought that Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine's Conga could be spoofed so deliciously as the finale from Bartok's Concerto For Orchestra?

Singaporean arrangers Chen Zhangyi (Chinese evergreens Everlasting Love and Sands Of Sorrow, and The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby) and Derek Lim (Ye Lai Xiang) also get a look-in, but it is by no means a token one.

Foo and his charges are totally into this music and they are sumptuously recorded, making this classy trip to yesteryear a most memorable one.

Chang Tou Liang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2018, with the headline 'Hot Tracks'. Print Edition | Subscribe