What do Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky and Chopin all have in common? – Apart from being some of the greatest classical music composers of all time, their compositions have been subject to interpretation in some way or another by a more modern artist’s expression.
For those of you ’80s kids who remember the 1986 road-movie “Crossroads”, Frank Zappa’s extraordinary guitarist Steve Vai and Ralph Macchio’s character “Eugene” gave the audience goosebumps with their interpretation of Paganini’s 5th Caprice. (Fun fact: Steve Vai actually plays Ralph Macchio’s part as well)
Almost two decades later, New York rapper NAS introduced a whole new generation to Beethoven’s Für Elise. The only song on the album God’s Son not to have a Parental Advisory label, the track is noted for its comment on staying drug-free and features a call and response chorus, with the response being the voices of young children. The song inspires young listeners to pursue their dreams and points to examples of powerful icons in the African-American community.
Samuel Barber’s Adagio For Strings (1938) has been popular in electronic dance music, especially in the House genre. Below is a remix by Tiesto.
The Blue Potential version of Jeff Mills’ The Bells blends classical music with Techno as he performs with Montpelier Philharmonic Orchestra, resulting in a truly unique blend of styles. Mills is not the first electronic artist to methodically incorporate a classical style (see: Aphex Twin: Drukqs)
Kiss Symphony: Alive IV is a live album by Rock Band Kiss, performing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the members of which of course had to dress up in the band’s famous style. Guitarist and Vocalist Paul Stanley promised: “Beethoven and Mozart will rise up dancing with fists raised as we unleash a spectacle that will be both classic and classical.”
For a more recent contribution, Swedish producer boerd fuses classical music influences with downtempo electronic production, and has just released his new mini-LP. The new single “Void” is a song about a state of loneliness, the isolated four walls of a studio and features Stockholm-based producer Ellen Arkbro on vocals. Follow boerd’s Instagram page to keep up with news on this Scandinavian soon-to-be superstar @boerddd
Modern artists’ creative ways of interpreting classical music compositions have given an updated view of an almost forgotten art form. To quote the cheesy 1981 hit The Break-Up Song: “They don’t write ’em like that anymore”…