Sunday, 25 January 2015

When Classical Music meets Rock Music

I like Classical Music. I like Rock Music. I like Reggae. I like music – All kinds of the stuff. I’m a huge music fan – You may be surprised to know that  I am not a fan of any artiste, just their music (well some anyway), although I do admire their abilities.

These days I find myself listening to Classical Music arranged and adapted to rock… well, mostly Rock. I have compiled a list of what I am into for anyone who might be also interested.

Mason Williams – Classical Gas. Maybe not a real classical piece, but that acoustic version from 1970 is fantastic.

David Garett is a German pop and crossover violinist. His band is a full on pop band with drums, keyboards, guitar, bass and of course he plays violin. David holds the Guiness world record for the fastest violinist (to earn that record he played flight of the bumble bee). He covers rock (zeppelin, Nirvana etc) and of course does classical pieces. Two of my favourite pieces are  - AIR in G-Major (bach) and Palladio (jenkins)

Emerson Lake and Palmer – Fanfare for the common Man (Copeland) - known as a progressive Rock Supergroup of the 1970’s ELP’s version is long but not too bad. It peaked at Number 2 in the British music charts in 1977. What trips me is that Greg Lake plays an 8 String Alembic Bass.

The Electric Light Orchestra – In the Hall of the Mountain King (Grieg). ELO holds the record for having the most amount of top 40 hits, without having a number one single. A well loved band, but maybe not that well loved. They also recorded a cover of the  chuck berry song “Roll over Beethoven” and infused Beethoven’s music into it.

Daniel Tidwell -  Heavy Metal. Daniel has an album which he sells on his website. It is called “Echoes of the Elders”. It has four tracks. He stays true to the songs yet they are Heavy  Metal. Pretty Good – Fur Elise (Beethoven),  Palladio Rock (Jenkins), Rondo Alla Turca (Mozart), and Tidwell’s Canon  (Pachelbel). He also has two Christmas Albums and a whole bunch of covers of Video Game music. He also does Queen of the Night from the Magic Flute by (Mozart)

Vanessa Mae – Vanessa describes her music as “Violin Techno acoustic fusion.” And her body of work is quite varied. She is a classical Violinist and has albums of classical violin music with full orchestra. She was commissioned to write a song for Hong Kong when China took repossession. It is called “Happy Valley (the 1997 re-unification overture)”. But she has some Pop albums that are pretty Good : “The Violin Player” and “Kids Classics” are two that Stand out to me. In relation to Songs I would recommend her versions of Tocata en Fugue in D Minor (JS Bach). Also Flight of the Bumble Bee (Rimsky Korsakov). And lastly an all out pop dance song which she calls “(i) can can (you)” which is really her adaptation of the Infernal Gallop from Orpheus in the underworld (Offenbach).

Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold CBE – composer of Symphony #6  Op 95, Which was played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on the 1969 Deep Purple Album “Concerto For Group and Orchestra” – Well it’s more orchestra than Rock, but what the Hey!

Les Fradkin – Canon in D (Pachelbel) and Classical Gas (Williams). He uses this weird guitar and keyboard hybrid called a Starr Labs Ztar. Not a bad song.

Aria Asia – Canon in D (Pachelbel) – Well this is a Japanese Violinist. But make no mistake, this is Rock - A great version

Dieter Falk and sons -  Badinerie (bach ochestral suite 2). Falk is a German pianist, Keyboardist, Christian (protestant) composer, arranger and record producer. The Music is Jazz, but it is fantastic. It comes off of his 2011 Album "Celebrate Bach". 

Therion - O Fortuna (Carl Orff) – Therion describes themselves as Symphonic Metal. Key to their music is the fact that they have multiple vocalists who sing in the style of opera. Yet as far as I know this is their only classical piece. They do covers too. I personally like their cover of Abba’s “Summer night city”.

Jigsaw - Jesu Joy Of Man`s Desiring (bach). Released in 1971 by Britains Jigsaw the version of this classical piece is described as pop, but if you didn’t know you might think you were listening to the Doors.

Seree Lee  - Seree is guitarist from Thailand. In 2002 he released a Rock album of Classical Music called “Classical Axe”. The album is available on his website. I love it. His arrangements are fantastic. Here are my favourite songs off the album : Minuet in G (bach), Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Mozart) and Hungarian dance no 5 (brahms)

Katona Twins – This is Acoustic Music. These identical twin brothers from Hungary are described as the best known duo in classical music. Their repertoire includes Classical, Tango and Spanish guitar. Their album “Guitar freaks” are acoustic covers of classic rock songs. However they have several albums of classical music. One song stands out for me - Toreador (bizet) It is really the Overture from Carmen which slides into the Toreador song from Carmen, but that’s ok, whatever it is called, I still love it.

Wolf Hoffman is the guitarist for the German Heavy Metal band Accept. In 1997 he released a solo album called “Classical” in which he adapted several classical pieces of music to rock. This is not a heavy metal album, but it sure rocks.  Here are a few of my favourites off the album: Habanera (bizet), Blues For Elise (beethovan) and Pomp & Circumstance (elgar)

Lukie Carelsen – Lukie has two albums of great interest to me. “Rockin’ Classics – Classical Electric Rock” and “Rockin’ Gospel – Classical Electric Rock”. Lukie formed Maranatha Records in 1984 in South Africa as a studio dedicated to Christian artists and their music. I like Lukies music. Here are a few tracks that stand out for me. Aida (verdi), Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring (bach), Symphony No 5 (beethoven), Symphony Nr 9 (ode to joy) (beethoven), Trumpet Voluntary in D major (purcell) and The William Tell Overture (rossini)

Ulytau – Wikipedia describes Ulytau as literally meaning "the great mountain" Ulytau is a Turkic instrumental folk metal trio from Kazakhstan. Their music combines the sound of the violin and electric guitar with the Dombra (a traditional two stringed instrument from their country) It a project of one album. There are a few classical pieces on the album and I love them all. Turkish March (mozart sonata 11 a), Winter (Vivaldi's Four Seasons) and Tocata en Fugue (JS Bach). Oh the name of the album is “Jumyr-Kylysh” (2006). It was released in Germany in 2009 as “Two Warriors”

Tarja Turunen – Ave Maria (Shubert)- This former vocalist from the Finnish Metal band Nightwish has long been fan of classical music.  I don’t think I have ever heard a bad recording of either version of the Ave Maria (Shubert or Gonoud), and this one is no exception.

Me first and the Gimme Gimme’s – O Sole Mio (translates as “my sunshine”). Well, this 1898 song has been done by so many classical vocalists and some not-classical-at-all vocalists. Even Elvis Presley had a version with the song “it’s now or never” where he used the melody but changed the words. “The Gimme gimme’s”  is a punk band, so don’t have high expectations. I think it’s a hoot though. I play it all the time.

Romance Anònimo (guitar) – this anonymous piece of beautiful music has been performed by so many people. Almost every version sounds so beautiful.

Trans Siberian Orchestra – Jon Oliva formed the Metal Band Savatage – which later changed their sound to Progressive Rock. They had several Concept albums which could be described as rock opera’s including “Wake of Megellan” and “Dead Winter Dead”.The side project of Savatage was “The Trans Siberian Orchestra”, also Jon Oliva. This side project released five albums, all dealing with Christmas. The songs were  Traditional, classical and other.  I particularly like Beethovens 5th Symphony, Sarajevo Midnight December 24th and  Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Be advised this is Metal.

Yngwie  Malmsteen is a swedish Metal Guitarist known for his classical style of playing music. He has a few Classical works which I find interesting -  40th Symphony (mozart), 5th Symphony (beethoven), Canon in D (pachelbel), Paganini's 5th Caprice, and Rondo Alla Turca (mozart sonata 11 a).

Epica is a Dutch Symphonic Metal Band. Their version of Hall of the Mountain King (Grieg) is not the best I’ve Heard.  Neither is their version of The Imperial March (Williams) I mean, why do we have to use double kick bass drums in this track. Metal fans may enjoy it though.

Metallica – The Imperial March (also known as Darth Vadars Theme) (John Williams). What more can be said?

1 comment:

  1. without having a number one single. A well loved band, but maybe not that well loved. They also recorded a cover of the chuck berry song “Roll over Beethoven” and infused Beethoven’s music into it. cd review