Susan Werner came to Q with producer Crit Harmon in 2009 and recorded a great batch of songs. What was unusual about them are the arrangements and the performances. Following is an excerpt form an interview with NPR’s Weekend Edition:
Now, Susan Werner has taken pop songs by others and written chamber music settings for them. Cat Steven’s “The Wind” is given a Bach-esque treatment. Bob Marley’s “Waiting In Vain” rings with echoes of Erik Satie. Stevie Wonder gets mashed up with Chopin-inspired arrangements. Seven other such tracks appear on her new album Classics.
“We chose songs that had a certain lyrical elegance to them, and a certain structural formality,” Werner says. “That is most beautifully revealed when you strip it down to its very basic elements. And there’s no hiding behind a string quartet.”
In an interview with host Liane Hansen, Werner said that she chose songs that had lyrical weight and thoughtfulness to them, such that the music would be taken seriously.
“It’s so easy, when you get near classical music, to do something funny,” she says. “I mean, once you think about the Bugs Bunny cartoons, oh my God, right? You have to be careful not to do something that has everybody in stitches.”
Here’s Susan’s version of Hazy Shade of Winter: