Classical Crossover

Less of a genre of music and more of a way to bundle the music that doesn’t fit into one category together, the term ‘classical crossover’ tends to cover everything from rock/pop-classical fusion to classically trained musicians performing in an unusual way or context, experimenting and bringing new music to a broad and varied audience. This list contains a wide range of artists and music, from Andrea Bocelli to Metallica and everything inbetween.

Ten Song Taster

1) Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends (The Piano Guys) 

[From The Piano Guys website] What do you get when you mix up a marketing genius that does video, a studio engineer that writes music, a pianist that had a successful solo career, and a cellist that does pretty much everything? The Piano Guys: a miraculous meeting of “guys” with the same intrinsic purpose – to make a positive impact in the lives of people all over the world through music videos.

2) Smooth Criminal (2CELLOS) – Original by Michael Jackson

2Cellos, comprised of Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, have achieved phenomenal success with their interpretations of pop and rock songs. Smooth Criminal is the song that originally shot them to fame:

3) Berlin Song (Ludovico Einaudi)

Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi, probably most famous for ‘I Giorni‘ and ‘Le Onde‘, writes minimalist solo piano music with world, pop and folk music influences. A personal favourite is Berlin Song:

4) Concerto for Group and Orchestra, Movement 3 (Deep Purple)

Written in 1969, this pioneering work composed by Jon Lord of Deep Purple was the first known combination of rock music and a complete orchestra and often considered to have paved the way for other rock/orchestra performances such as Metallica’s S&M concert. The third movement is the most dramatic and it’s worth having some good speakers or headphones to play it through. There is an orchestral introduction until 2:30, then the band take a more prominent role.

5) Csárdás – Performed by Nigel Kennedy (Composed by Monti, performance from Last Night Of The Proms 2013)

British violinist Nigel Kennedy originally began performing in the classical field before diversifying and expanding into jazz, klezmer and other genres. Injecting humour and a fresh perspective into his performances, this performance of Monti’s Csárdás was a highlight of this year’s Last Night Of The Proms.

6) Spring I – Max Richter (from the ‘Max Richter Recomposed’ album – Vivaldi 4 Seasons)

In 2012, British composer Max Richter took on the project of ‘recomposing’ Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Keeping the main themes but discarding 75% of the original material, he uses phrasing and loops to create a more contemporary and minimalist tone.

7) O Sole Mio – The Three Tenors

The Three Tenors is the name given to opera singers Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti, who sang together in concert during the 1990s and early 2000s. Bringing together opera, Neapolitan folksong, musical theatre and pop, their personalities, humour and range of styles engaged a vast concert and television audience.

8) Electric Counterpoint III – Steve Reich

One of the pioneers of the minimalist style, Steve Reich is an American composer who makes extensive use of looping and overdubbing to create an original sound and genre. Here is Electric Counterpoint, composed for electric guitar or amplified acoustic guitar and tape.

9) Nothing Else Matters – Metallica (from the ‘Symphony and Metallica’ album)

The S&M (Symphony and Metallica) album was recorded live in 1999 and was an idea of Cliff Burton’s: “to combine heavy metal with an epic classical approach”. (Wikipedia) Burton’s love of classical music, especially of Johann Sebastian Bach, can be traced back to many instrumental parts and melodic characteristics in Metallica’s songwriting, including songs from Ride The Lightning and Master of Puppets. The other inspiration was Deep Purple’s 1969 Concerto for Group and Orchestra (number 3 in this ten song taster list).

10) Time To Say Goodbye (Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman)

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli is one of the biggest-selling singers in the history of classical music and performs a lot of music in the classical crossover genre. Together with soprano Sarah Brightman, they released Time To Say Goodbye in 1996, a year after Bocelli had first released the song in Italian as Con Te Partiro. The song has become one of the best-selling singles of all time.

The full playlist can be found on Spotify: Classical Crossover

  1. 2CELLOS (Sulic & Hauser) – Smooth Criminal
  2. Einaudi, Ludovico – Einaudi: Berlin Song
  3. Deep Purple – Concerto For Group And Orchestra – Movement III
  4. All Angels – The Sound Of Silence
  5. Nigel Kennedy – Czardas
  6. Luciano Pavarotti – O Sole Mio
  7. Richter, Max – Richter: Recomposed By Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons – Spring 1
  8. Mats Bergstrom – Electric Counterpoint: III. Fast
  9. Metallica – Nothing Else Matters (Live with the SFSO)
  10. David Garrett – Master Of Puppets
  11. Arvo Pärt – Spiegel im spiegel
  12. George Fenton – The Blue Planet
  13. 2CELLOS (Sulic & Hauser) – Technical Difficulties
  14. Pet Shop Boys – The miracle – Ceremony
  15. London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) – Allegretto from Palladio for String Orchestra
  16. Tolga Kashif & London Symphony Orchestra – Ripples
  17. Vitamin String Quartet – In Your Eyes (String Quartet Tribute to Peter Gabriel)
  18. Yiruma – River Flows In You
  19. Brian Crain – Moonrise
  20. Andrea Bocelli – Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro) – English Version With Sarah Brightman

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