Haupz Blog

... still a totally disordered mix


2024-03-06 — Michael Haupt

In music, the concept of “parody” is a bit different from its use in everyday language: it can simply mean composers copying the style or parts of other composers' pieces. This also works across genres - here’s a small collection of pop/rock/whatever songs that were inspired by classical pieces.

Two songs by Eric Carmen make extensive use of material composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff. “All by Myself” is very clearly based on the slow movement from the Russian composer’s second piano concerto. It’s equally obvious how “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again” is inspired by the slow movement of the second symphony (but you’ll have to wait until the refrain makes its first appearance).

The great Alan Parsons has, on his latest two albums “The Secret” and “From the New World”, provided two songs that are direct rock adaptations of classical pieces. “The Secret” opens with Paul Dukas' “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, and “From the New World” aptly contains a song based on the slow movement of Antonín Dvořák’s symphony with the same name as the album. (Those slow movements seem to be popular.)

Polish jazz pianist Vladislav Sendecki has dedicated an entire album to Richard Wagner’s music, with every single song being based on some piece from the composer’s operas. There are bits and pieces of this available on the ‘tube. For example, here’s “Sunrise”, using the Parsifal overture. (I’m particularly happy about this video as I have fond memories of standing right where the orchestra is sitting now, being part of a choir performing Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine - no video recording exists of that.)

Rap music uses samples a lot, so why not samples of classical music? Back in the Nineties, hearing Xzibit’s Paparazzi for the first time, I was immediately struck when I heard Gabriel Fauré's Pavane.

This list could probably grow. If you know any such relations, please let me know.

Tags: music