BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
It’s hardly surprising to find one noted composer paying homage to another, but when there’s an obvious divide, it does give cause to wonder. P.F. Sloan, whose multitude of ‘60s era hits includes such songs as “Eve of Destruction,” “Secret Agent Man,” and others hits famously covered by the Grass Roots, the Turtles, the Mamas and Papas and Herman’s Hermits, hardly seems the sort of serious muso inclined to give kudos to a heady icon of Beethoven’s stature. Nevertheless, the struggles that preoccupied Beethoven throughout his career apparently struck a chord with Sloan himself. Sometimes derided as a second rate Dylan, he related to Beethoven’s desire to be taken seriously and not, as opening track “The Black Robed Spaniard” laments, “a second rate Mozart.”
Still, Sloan’s attempt to recreate the master’s grandiose symphonic settings don’t exactly ring true. While the premise might do well when it comes to staging a lavish Broadway musical, Sloan’s arrangements often sound ill-advised, and though his voice was once well suited to dramatic circumstance, here he’s clearly out of his league. The snappier pop purposes of “This Love” fares somewhat better, as does the stately sonata entitled “Chaos,” which eschews vocals altogether in favor of its orchestral arrangement. Ultimately though, My Beethoven comes across as a well-intentioned attempt at grandeur, but it’s got nothing like the Ninth to back it up.
DOWNLOAD: “Chaos,” “This Love”