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9.07.2020   By: Dave Franklin

Metal, especially the more technical end of that particular spectrum, and classical music have always made slightly odd but perfectly compatible travelling companions. But require high levels of skill, dedication and dexterity, both revel in florid and intricate soundscapes, byzantine sonic structures and whatever the opposite of the “less is more” approach is. Both also rely on very considered composition to ensure that all of the various musical strands both support each other and have their own place and purpose. Burnt Streets is the sound of those two worlds colliding, and doing so elegantly.

Italian pianist and composer Maria Grazia Rago studied at the Conservatoire National Superieur De Musique Et Danse De Lyon in France and guitarist Martin Szorad is a multi-instrumentalist from the Czech Republic. Together with the Amadeus Academy Orchestra they have fused the disciplines of both their musical worlds into one of the most epic and musically eloquent songs you will have heard for a long time.

Rather than the more expected violin or piano in the spotlight, Szorad’s guitar takes the lead role, delivering breathtakingly dexterous salvos of nuanced notes as banks of strings drive relentlessly onwards, sometimes tastefully restrained, other times martial and menacing. There is something Wagnerian and epic about the piece, a dynamic soundtrack reflecting the poignant and power of the video accompaniment, which switches between the  heightened hustle and bustle of the city going about its business and flashpoints of anger overflowing into action. A comment on our times if ever there was one.

Add to that the gruff narration (there are both narrated and purely instrumental versions to be found) and you have something a bit special indeed.

Compositions such as this are important not just for the message that they convey but to remind us that, like every other art form and musical genre, classical music also has to move with the times. To many, it may seem stuck in a stylised past but this blending of its more traditional sounds with contemporary metal is nothing less than the sound of that evolution taking place.

Burnt Streets is relevant, that is the bottom line. Both in its wish to use a musical platform to make poignant statements and social commentary and also in its desire to move its chosen genre forward at the same time. Does the fact that the focal point of such a piece is a sound more normally found in the world of rock and roll make the overall composition unacceptable in classical circles? Of course not. Well, let’s hope not anyway. This is the sound of the world shifting, the sound of one chapter being brought to a close and a fresh one being written. This is the sound of musical evolution. This is the sound of the world today.

Burnt Streets – Maria Rago (reviewed by Dave Franklin) (

Martin Szorad and Maria Grazia Rago – “Burnt Streets” – a minor masterpiece!

7.11.2020   By: Jacob Aiden

Born in Sicily, Maria Grazia Rago is an Italian pianist and composer, who now resides in Illinois USA. She initially studied piano with Lea Cumbo and Eliodoro Sollima, and then continued her musical education in Rome with Bruno Canino and Marcello Abbado. Her composition studies came at the Conservatoire National Superieur De Musique Et Danse De Lyon in France. The award-winning composer’s works have been performed in festivals and theaters throughout the world. Martin Szorad is a guitarist from the Czech Republic. He has been playing guitar for 16 years. He plays guitar, bass guitar and piano. Together, Maria Grazia Rago, Martin Szorad and the Amadeus Academy Orchestra have completed a single, entitled “Burnt Streets”, which is taken from the album “On The Road”.

This is a minor masterpiece, as Burnt Streets fuse their own otherworldly techniques, and create this killer blend of classical, fusion and metal. The music is stunning as they capture the essence of classical renaissance ensembles, cinematic moods, and pyrotechnical guitar shredding.

This is a highly accessible, yet gloriously epic song, containing everything you love about dynamic orchestrated arrangements, and impacting electric guitar driven rock.

But other than shredding the strings, and sonic bombast, Martin Szorad and Maria Grazia Rago haven’t forgotten the major component of a working studio song: structure, flow, and atmosphere. The two complement and complete each other’s musical vision. The speed and energy is mostly confined in Szorad’s solos, but the ensemble’s playing and songwriting is full with a confident and diverse approach.

In fact “Burnt Streets” oscillates between the energetic metal power of Martin Szorad licks and riffs, and the kinetic string progressions designed by Maria Grazia Rago. The song also benefits from a very well balanced and dynamic production thanks to watchful eyes and ears.

The overall consistency both in the songwriting and delivery makes “Burnt Streets” a quality and well refined chapter in both Rago and Szorad’s discographies. It should not only enjoy groundbreaking contemporary neo-classical status, but also undeniable power metal excellence.

Szorad wastes no time, as the track kicks off with him progressively moving towards shredding. This songs transmits a great deal of energy to the listener – the guitars, and string orchestrations blend perfectly together.

“Burnt Streets” is also one of those tracks that catches your attention quickly, as the thundering guitar riffs find the pockets inside Maria Grazia Rago’s compositional template. This track isn’t just about what a superb composer Rago is, or what a virtuoso guitar player Szorad is; it’s a testament to human ingenuity and the progressive thinkers who push music to new heights by refusing to adhere to mediocre mainstream status quos or pre-boxed genre labels.

“Burnt Streets” is about smashing through the boundaries of predetermined demographics for the advancement of music. There is no way you can listen to this track and not be in awe of musicians like Martin Szorad and Maria Grazia Rago, who boldly reach out of their comfort zone, for the sake of music.

 07.16.2020  In Experimental Music  by Philipp Gottfried

DIe italienische Komponistin und Musikerin Maria Rago ist bekannt für ihre musikalische Bandbreite. So ist die Künstlerin unter anderem für das schreiben von Filmmusik bekannt, wobei sie jüngst die Musik für den us-amerikanischen Kurzfilm The Audition geschrieben hat und gegenwärtig an dem Moviescore zu Vast Silence arbeitet, einem ebenfalls aus Amerika stammenden Independentstreifen, welcher im Herbst diesen Jahres zu bestaunen sein wird. Doch nicht nur für ihre Filmmusik ist die ambitionierte Pianistin bekannt: So arbeitet sie mit verschiedenen Musikern, darunter dem Gitarristen Martin Szorad, an ihrem kommenden Studioalbum Burnt Streets dessem musikalischen Output, ihr einen Award einbrachte. Auf internationaler Ebene ist Maria Rago keine unbekannte, denn mit ihrem musikalischen Programm ist sie auf internationalen Bühnen unterwegs. So gab Maria bereits Konzerte im New Yorker The Living Theatre, oder auch im französischen Theatre Les Ateliers, sowie auch im deutschen Konzertsaal-Gasteig, der sich in München befindet.

Mit ihrer aus dem kommenden Album Burnt Streets ausgekoppelten Komposition, welcher den Titel des Gesamtwerkes trägt, liefert diese absolut Meisterin auf ihrem Gebiet eine Komposition an, welche so manchen Künstler des Synfonic-Rock Altaussehen lässt! Denn in Symbiose mit dem begnadeten und talentierten Gitarristen Martin Szorad kommt hier eine Lawine an Eindrücken auf euch zu, die es in sich haben. Musikalisch hoher Anspruch geht bei Burnt Streets mit Leidenschaft und Herzblut einher und ist in Stein gemeiselt. Orchestrale Streicherelemente und leichte Drums bringen direkt von der ersten Sekunde ohne unnötige Umschweife das Guitar-Hero-Spiel daher, dass ebenso Heavy und stürmisch wie auch einfach gekonnt umgesetzt wurde. Mit beeindruckendem Sounddesign erzeugen Maria Rago und Martin Szorad im Zusammenspiel ein Arrangement, dass auf stürmerische Art eine Geschichte gänzlich ohne Text erzählt und im Hörraum alles in sich einhüllt. Mit absoluter Präzision und Fingerfertigkeit, verschmelzen Maria Rago und Martin Szorad regelrecht mit ihren Instrumenten. Leider ist die Gitarre ein ticken zu Laut, weswegen die orchestralen Elemente, welche in Burnt Streets eingebettet sind etwas untergehen. Jedoch ergeben sie in ihrem Zusammenspiel ein emotional epische Klangkonstrukt, dass sofort zu überzeugen weiß und für Begeisterung sorgt. Die epische Fusion aus härterem Rock und Klassik kommt hierbei verdammt gut aus den Boxen und ist nicht nur klanglich ein musikalisches Produkt der güte Klasse eins A, sondern vorallem auch kompositorisch.

Fazit 10 von 10: TOP! Musikfans die es Klassisch und zugleich Rockig mögen, können sich schonmal auf das Album Burnt Streets freuen!

Im Vorchecking: Maria Rago & Martin Szorad mit epischer Rocksinfonie 'Burnt Streets' aus dem gleichnamigen Album (TIPP!) -

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