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Vanessa Mae - The Violin Player

"Violin prodigy plays rocking instrumental fusion with an often Castlevania-like quality." Recommended


  • Vanessa Mae (performance)
  • Mike Batt (composition, arrangement)


42 minutes total
  1. Toccata and Fugue in D minor
  2. Contradanza
  3. Classical Gas
  4. Theme from 'Caravans'
  5. Warm Air
  6. Jazz Will Eat Itself
  7. Widescreen
  8. Tequila Mockingbird
  9. City Theme
  10. Red Hot
  • Released in 1995 by EMI (catalog no. D-103269, retail $17).


Violin prodigy plays rocking instrumental fusion with an often Castlevania-like quality.


Editor's review by Adam Corn

Vanessa Mae's The Violin Player merges virtuoso violin with pop/rock music and a soundtrack-like feel. What's more, thanks to its dramatic and occasionally even Gothic elements it sounds remarkably like what one might expect from a great Castlevania arranged album.

The Castlevania similarities likely have readers of this site most interested so let's start there. It's apparent from the very onset of the album in "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor", an arrangement of the classic Bach piece that has become one of the staple horror themes of popular culture. Beginning with a classical-style intro of pipe organs echoed by Mae's violin, the Castlevania quality then kicks in with rock percussion and furious lead violin accentuated by electric guitar chords at just the right moments. It's vintage Castlevania, but with longer, more elaborate arrangements and superb instrumentals thanks largely to Mae's performance.

"Contradanza" continues with the combination of violin, rock percussion, and electric guitar highlights, but instead of the Gothic quality of "Toccata" we get an uplifting, almost adventure-like piece that makes for the highlight of the album. "Jazz Will Eat Itself" sacrifices the rocking intensity for a more relaxed - yet slightly haunting - mood that bears an uncanny resemblance to some of the pieces in Symphony of the Night.

The Castlevania comparison doesn't apply to every track, but several of those others are very nice as well. In "Classical Gas", the violin melody takes a slower, beautifully cascading form and the bass and lead guitar have a softer pop-rock style. The finale "Red Hot" offers another exciting violin melody with piano and a cool percussive electronic backdrop combining classical and pop influences.

Castlevania music fans who've wondered what a great arranged album for the series might sound like should most definitely give Vanessa Mae's The Violin Player a listen. And for any who've stumbled upon this review with no familiarity with Castlevania but who are simply interested in great, modern instrumental fusion music with soundtrack-like qualities, the album most certainly fits that bill.

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