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Thread: Neglected Genres: Rock Music Done by Classical Ensembles

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Neglected Genres: Rock Music Done by Classical Ensembles




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    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    There’s @ very, very good reason it’s ignored, imo.

    Ymmv.
    Steve F.

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    I'd have to agree with Uncle Steve.

    When a classical ensemble plays actual rock, you usually get the weak points of both: compositionally slender music played without the energy and specific timbres it needs to work. With that said, some prog might work with that treatment, but only some of it. The majority of it probably won't; at best, it might sound like student compositions.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Yeah but Kronos really TRIES.

  5. #5
    There's a version of Kraftwerk's Autobahn done by the Balanescu Quartet; only five minutes or so, but it rapidly outstays its welcome.

  6. #6
    David Palmer's albums that have symphonies playing Jethro Tull, Genesis, Pink Floyd and Yes were mostly very well done. But perhaps the best is the Ensemble Modern doing Zappa music (old and new) in the Yellow Shark. Check out their version of G-Spot Tornado, a piece that Zappa thought was too complicated for humans to play (originally recorded by Zappa on his synclavier). Try to ignore the dancers if you can.


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    Member Zalmoxe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    There’s @ very, very good reason it’s ignored, imo.

    Ymmv.
    And yet some Classical Ensembles can come up with marvelous pieces of music. Take, for exemple, the Argentinian ensemble called La Máquina Cinemática:


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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Hey, that's really nice stuff. Thanks for the H.U.!

  9. #9
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Neglected? It's at least worth a few minutes of attention but like any novelty, gets old fast.

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    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    The most famous act Bond went kaput when the 1st violinist decided to be a full time mum. She too apparently grew tired of the novelty.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Well, that "being a mom" thing will wear pretty thin too.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by flowerking View Post
    But perhaps the best is the Ensemble Modern doing Zappa music (old and new) in the Yellow Shark. Check out their version of G-Spot Tornado, a piece that Zappa thought was too complicated for humans to play (originally recorded by Zappa on his synclavier). Try to ignore the dancers if you can.

    But I think we are dealing with a slightly different phenomenon, here - how much of the music on Yellow Shark was rock music as the term is conventionally understood to begin with...? Music by a 'rock musician', sure...

    In similar - but a little rockier and more accessible - spirit, Mike Keneally's collaboration with Metropole Orkest, The Universe Will Provide, is tremendously good.
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Mascodagama View Post
    But I think we are dealing with a slightly different phenomenon, here - how much of the music on Yellow Shark was rock music as the term is conventionally understood to begin with...? Music by a 'rock musician', sure...

    In similar - but a little rockier and more accessible - spirit, Mike Keneally's collaboration with Metropole Orkest, The Universe Will Provide, is tremendously good.
    I would consider all of the old Zappa on the Yellow Shark to be either jazz or rock perhaps recomposed for small orchestra (Dog Breath/Uncle Meat, Be-bop Tango, Pound for a Brown, Exercise 4 and G-Spot. True, all the new stuff is neo-classical.

  14. #14
    You know, some things are neglected for a reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Yeah but Kronos really TRIES.
    ...and there is an exception to every rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by flowerking View Post
    But perhaps the best is the Ensemble Modern doing Zappa music (old and new) in the Yellow Shark. Check out their version of G-Spot Tornado, a piece that Zappa thought was too complicated for humans to play (originally recorded by Zappa on his synclavier).
    You’re mis-remembering, it was “The Girl in the Magnesium Dress” that Zappa deemed unfit for human hands...until he discovered that the Ensemble Modern had already devised an arrangement for human players!
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    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Well, that "being a mom" thing will wear pretty thin too.
    Which further illustrates my point. Had she been involved in more substantial music, she would've been far less inclined to give it all up for the domestic goddess role.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  16. #16
    Does this count?




  17. #17
    While I agree with others that "classical" covers of existing rock songs tends to have mostly a short-term novelty value, it's always surprised me that string quartet-based original rock/pop music inspired by "Eleanor Rigby" didn't become more of a thing.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Good point. How many other songs can you name by "rock bands" that were sung over a string quartet?

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    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    The albums that Jaz Coleman (Killing Joke) made of symphonic treatments of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd had some decent treatments.
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  20. #20
    Yeah...

    Not a fan of this 'genre' at all.

    For the most part, it come off sounding cheesy, to my ears.

    I can't help think of the old SNL Will Ferrell Anna Gasteyer sketch of Marty and Bobbi Culp, singing duet of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everyday People" in their overly prim and proper way. Only difference is, that was cheesy for laughs.



    And don't get me started on that 2 Cellos vid of them doing "Smells Like Teen Spirit". That stuff comes off like that overblown "Celtic Women" or "Trans-Siberian Express" crap. With the overly flashy and dramatic posing while playing. These guys aren't quite a bad as the other 2 acts I mentioned, but close.

    This 'genre' comes off like an attempt to get middle aged conservative (not referring to politics) parents to act cool because, "Hey, I like rock", or it comes off like a chance for non-classical fans to act sophisticated because, "See, I'm listening to classical music".

    There are a few exceptions, but I can't put my finger on the reason why they work. Like the orchestral version of Tarkus. Still not my thing, but it doesn't sound cheesy to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon View Post
    There are a few exceptions, but I can't put my finger on the reason why they work. Like the orchestral version of Tarkus. Still not my thing, but it doesn't sound cheesy to me.
    Maybe because Emerson had enough influence from classical music, enough of a feel for it, and enough by-ear and by-playing-it understanding of its structure and harmony that "Tarkus" already worked as a sort of minor classical piece. Orchestrating it just took what was already there and ran with it - it wasn't an attempt to make something into what it was never supposed to be. Of course, it also depends on how good the orchestrator was, and "Tarkus" may have had a better one than some of the others.

  22. #22
    Member Mr.Krautman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    There’s @ very, very good reason it’s ignored, imo.

    Ymmv.
    Most of the time, but not allways... this one goes way beyond the original version and really ROCKS ! (look at the conductor jumping at the end !). Unfortunately only a truncated (edited) version available on YT.


  23. #23
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Krautman View Post
    this one goes way beyond the original version and really ROCKS !
    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon
    There are a few exceptions, like the orchestral version of Tarkus. Still not my thing, but it doesn't sound cheesy to me.
    Yes, very nice! I hadn't heard this before.
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer
    Maybe because Emerson had enough influence from classical music, enough of a feel for it, and enough by-ear and by-playing-it understanding of its structure and harmony that "Tarkus" already worked as a sort of minor classical piece. Orchestrating it just took what was already there and ran with it - it wasn't an attempt to make something into what it was never supposed to be. Of course, it also depends on how good the orchestrator was, and "Tarkus" may have had a better one than some of the others.
    All good explanations. Emerson was a very Copland-esque composer (see @6:00 above) and the orchestrator here did an excellent job of making it sound like classical music and not just an elevator music version of a 4-piece band.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Good point. How many other songs can you name by "rock bands" that were sung over a string quartet?
    Does Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet - The Juliet Letters count?


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  25. #25
    I still think this is a superb version of Queen. Kudos to the Quartet.

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