James Bennett II is a staff writer for WQXR.
Watch: This Brooklyn Duo Cover of 'Take On Me' is What You Need
Monday, February 06, 2017 - 03:40 PM
Need a quick pick-me-up? Skip the coffee and sweets and reach for your headphones instead — this arrangement of the modern classic “Take On Me” by the group A-ha is what you need to kick-start your weekday spirits.
This classically tinged chamber arrangement is the product of a collaboration between Brooklyn Duo and Ensemble Connect. The former is the project of Marnie and Patrick Laird, who contribute their piano and cello expertise, respectively. The Juilliard alumni and married couple apply their musical proficiency to pop-covers and arrangements that fall squarely in the crossover genre, but as they have shown with their Brooklyn Classical project, they have not lost sight of their more traditional roots.
Ensemble Connect, which celebrates its 10th season this year, is a Carnegie Hall fellowship for some of the brightest and most promising young musicians in the United States. They receive access to the top notch resources that are necessary to advance their artistic careers, and through partnerships with schools across the five boroughs, they are able to hone their skills as educators and share their gift with young learners.
Together, they give us a “Take On Me” cover filled with surprises, including a bassoon solo — we really do need more of those — and a slick Rimsky-Korsakov quote.
During their visit, Brooklyn Duo also recorded three Ensemble Connect fellows performing the third movement of Brahms's clarinet trio. It’s as beautiful as you’d expect. Give it a listen: