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Christopher O’Riley: Hold Me to This: Chrisptopher O’Riley Plays Radiohead (sampler)

The music of Radiohead intrigues classical pianist Christopher O’Riley so much that he has recorded two albums of solo piano interpretations of the band’s famously complex oeuvre. The first, True Love Waits: O’Riley Plays Radiohead, came out in 2003; he continues his exploration of their recordings on Hold Me to This: Christopher O’Riley Plays Radiohead (World Village). As he strips down the songs for solo piano, O’Riley reveals new ways of rendering their textures, rhythms and harmonies without the use of additional instruments.

“There There” is dramatic and explosive, while the delicate “(Nice Dream)” ripples along gently. “No Surprises”-a song O’Riley worked up after a conversation with R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe-has a pretty, music-box quality, which stands in sharp contrast to the following track, “Polyethylene Part II,” which is all thunderous chords and percussive delivery. It’s hard not to appreciate O’Riley’s ingenuity in reimagining and reinventing these songs, and he eloquently details his approach to each track in the album’s liner notes.

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