Alex Masi is an important guitar virtuoso hailing from Italy. Born and raised in Venice, the city's historical background in art has also deeply inspired his musical vision. He began playing the piano at an early age, becoming interested in the likes of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Also interested in guitar-driven heavy metal, after graduating from the Verona Conservatory of Music, Masi moved to London to form a band called Dark Lord, with whom he released two EPs and toured with a good many bands including Saxon, Motorhead, and Gary Moore before his band disbanded. He then concentrated on solo albums titled Fire in the Rain and Downtown Dreamers. His 1989 work Neon Sharks (which also featured Allan Holdsworth as a guest) even received a Grammy nomination for best rock instrumental proving Masi's incredible talents.
After releasing In the Name of Bach and In the Name of Mozart, Italian guitar virtuoso Alex Masi returns with the third and final part of his series of classical music played in a somewhat rock context: In the Name of Beethoven.
This is entirely acoustic guitar-based music transferred directly from Beethoven's piano and violin compositions. Masi performs the entire music solo, save for some occasional orchestral arrangements. This is not the Yngwie Malmsteen type of neoclassical shred - Masi sticks to the core sound of classical music playing some really impossible licks and phrases. His guitar work is deeply elaborate and contains plenty of plucked, nylon-string acoustic guitars. Transcribed by Masi himself, the songs are executed with a modern rock approach, displaying numerous nuances and intricacies. This may not be the easiest listen for the average shred guitar fan, but on a deeper level, the music presented here is intense and heart-warming. I have not heard Masi's interpretations of Bach and Mozart, but if they're half as good as this disc, they must be added to my collection soon.
- Symphony No.5 (First Movement)
- Sonata No.01 (Waldstin Sonata)
- Romance for Violin No.5
- 6. Sonata No.14 (Moonlight Sonata)
- Adagio Sostenuto
- Rondo Agitato