Beethoven meets metal (and they seem to get along)

In my last post about Tartini’s devil’s trill, I made a joke about crossover artist Vanessa-Mae. This amused me so much that I decided to fill a whole article with hilariously disastrous attempts to make classical music look cool.

Making classical music look cool

This stuff.

Sounds like fun? Well, too bad. I changed my mind and will now serve you a distressing insight into my sometimes weird musical taste. Do stick around, though.

“You don’t need to be cool to win an audience.”

Good, bad, brilliant

Why did I change my mind? Not because of a lack of material, that’s for sure. For hilarious examples and an intelligent argument about why classical music shouldn’t even try to be cool, read this article.

Anyway, as I was mining the internet for some more ‘good bad’ stuff, I stumbled upon this video.

That guy is Michele “Dr. Viossi” Vioni, Italian guitar virtuoso, composer and producer, playing the finale of Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata. The video went viral a couple of years ago, but I somehow missed it. And now I can’t stop watching it.

Blended to perfection

I know, I know, … ‘Beethoven meets metal’ sounds like a terribly tasteless idea. Just like ‘Schubert meets metal’. But in this case, I think it actually works. Thanks to Vioni, who not only seems an incredible virtuoso but also an intelligent musician. He strikes a balance between remaining faithful to Beethoven’s score and imposing the typical metal mannerisms upon it. In fact, to me, the backing track is even more interesting than Vioni’s finger acrobatics you see in the video.

Of course, Beethoven deserves some of the credit. Vioni tried this trick on a few other classical compositions, but the result isn’t nearly as good. It’s the amazing drive of that third movement of the Moonlight sonata that blends so well with the metal style.

Acquired metallic taste

Metal is a peculiar musical genre. People who claim to like ‘good’ pop or rock music, usually look down on it. Yet it surprisingly often touches a nerve with jazz or classical enthusiasts. Maybe not that surprising, since metal partly grew out of progressive rock.

Progressive rock meme

Anyway, I recently developed a taste for metal music – at least some of it. This earns me a lot of looks of disbelief. Understandably, since I was once a teenager who preferred Beethoven over Black Sabbath. (Yes, I did get beat up a few times, why do you ask?)

Partners in being uncool

Sure, metal is often needlessly loud and aggressive. But it can be surprisingly adventurous as well, or delightfully silly. Maybe that’s because a lot of metal musicians don’t take themselves too seriously –  despite all the tough posturing. They do whatever they want to do, even if it’s playing a Beethoven piece note by note on an electric guitar. Not cool? As 11 million YouTube views prove: you don’t need to be cool to win an audience.

And isn’t that an uplifting thought for fans of metal and classical alike?

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