The Piano Guys started out as YouTube sensations and have become immensely popular for their. mashup of popular and classical music. They should be called “The Piano and Cello Guys,” really, since the actual musicians are Steven Sharp Nelson on electric cello and Jon Schmidt on piano. But I guess that had an unwieldy ring to it. The rest of the team consists of producer and videographer Paul Anderson and producer/songwriter Al Van Der Beek.
Recently, The Piano Guys released a new CD and DVD package, Wonders, which includes popular single/video releases from the past year as well as new songs and new interpretations of old songs as in “Batman Evolution,” which celebrates Batman themes through the years.
The CD includes the song that every parent in the world probably has permanently stuck in his or her head, “Let It Go,” from the movie Frozen. This is a beautiful rendition, but it just seems a bit unnecessary given that the song is everywhere already.
Highlights include “Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends,” a majestic, triumphant anthem, the mashup of Dave Matthews’ “Ants Marching” with Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” and “Don’t You Worry, Child” featuring Shweta Subram on vocals.
Certainly, the music of The Piano Guys is soothing, skilled and beautiful if sometimes a bit too smooth for my taste. It is excellent for background listening at work or at parties. But where the package really shines is on the DVD, which presents six beautiful videos. It is the combination of gorgeous video and beautiful music that made the group popular in the first place, and these videos are breathtaking. They also explain the name of the package, Wonders, as Nelson and Schmidt perform atop The Great Wall of China and in other gorgeous natural settings. It is fitting that their videographer and producer are included as integral parts of the group, as their skills really do set the admittedly superb musicians apart from the other popular new age-type musicians out there.
If you are looking for superb instrumental music for your own collection or for gifts for family or friends, Wonders will be a welcome choice, with enough diversity to keep you interested and enough smoothness to ensure that your listening experience remains relaxed and enjoyable throughout.
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