Reinvented and Recomposed
By TJ Wilkshire
Our picks of some of the best re-imagined works by talented artists shaking up the classical music world.
Many may say, ‘if it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it’, but we’ve uncovered a bunch of exciting composers breathing new life into some of the most well known classical works. Reinventing, recomposing, and reimagining enduring works by masterful composers can change the way we hear the original music, and has the power to surprise and delight new listeners to classical music.
#The Four Seasons Recomposed
German-born British composer Max Richter is shaking up classical music with his post minimalism approach wherein classical and popular music collide in thrilling ways. Richter’s music has been picked up by the likes of Clint Eastwood and Ridley Scott as well as topping the charts. But it’s his recomposed version of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons that has us swooning. Originally written in 1716, The Four Seasons is a musical expression of nature’s ever-changing calendar, capturing each season with evocative melodies and vibrant string textures. Richter, respectful of the brilliance of Vivaldi does something extraordinary with the works – transforming the experience into something entirely contemporary.
#The Chopin Project
Ólafur Arnalds and Alice Sara Ott
Award-winning Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds and classical pianist Alice Sara Ott took inspiration from Polish composer Frédéric Chopin’s solo piano works for The Chopin Project. Blending the original piano line with string quartet and electronics results in a breathtaking, and at times eerie composition that transforms the listening experience into a dreamlike state.
Most people will be familiar with Bach’s Cello Suites – they’re a favourite of classical music fans worldwide, and especially adored by anyone who loves the cello. While these eternally gorgeous works are perfect as they are, we’re not going to say ‘no’ to English cellist and composer Peter Gregson giving us his own reimagining of them – a refreshing experience that remains harmonically complex and rich. Some movements retain the solo cello as the focus, where others feature additional string instruments or synthesiser. The result is nearly two hours of pulsating, trancelike music - a relaxing and inspiring listen.
#Beethoven V. Coldplay
While not an exact re-composition, Steve Hackman’s work combining centuries old classical music with popular artists shows us that it doesn’t matter how many times the original masters do the rounds, there’s always someone who can bring fresh eyes to their music. Hackman’s intersection of Coldplay’s classics with Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony Eroica will challenge your perception of how Beethoven should or could be performed. Hackman weaves Coldplay’s original lyrics and melodies with Beethoven’s orchestral textures to create something entirely new - part pop-gig, part oratorio. Be sure to check out his other orchestral mash-ups with Radiohead, Bon Iver, and more!