Modern music blurs the lines between genres more than ever before. Classical composers borrow from traditional folk music, pop borrows from jazz, and rock borrows from everything. This musical fusion is often beautiful, sometimes jarring, and always entertaining. When it comes to classical music in particular, our two favourite modern twists are the Vitamin String Quartet and film scores.
Vitamin String Quartet
In 1999, a group of Los Angeles-based musicians started covering songs by well-known artists. This wasn’t anything new. The twist? It’s all classically done with chamber music influences under the independent record company, CMH Label Group–and it’s catching on.
Since Vitamin String Quartet’s inception, the ever-evolving group of arrangers, producers, string players and other creatives have reached sales of over 3.8 million downloads, 1 million CDs sold, and maintains nearly half a million monthly listeners on Spotify. The VSQ has also garnered several Billboard chart toppers and their cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” was even featured on season 2 of the CW show “Reign” about teenage Mary Queen of Scots–among other features on hit TV shows. Which makes us think this is a beautiful way to keep chamber music alive for the next generation.
The Film Score
More format than genre, film scores are a fantastic way to enjoy classical music in a modern way. Chamber music is a dramatic art form itself, the perfect backdrop to enhance drama, thrillers, and even comedies. In film, classical music takes on a modern edge to engage the audience on a more subconscious level. It heightens the narrative while seducing the senses into feeling what the filmmakers want you to feel.
Some of the more talented, classically-leaning film score composers include the Royal College of Music-trained James Horner (Titanic, Avatar, Braveheart), Danny Elfman (Alice in Wonderland, the Spider-Man franchise, and even the Oscars), and Peter Gabriel (Philadelphia, Gangs of New York, and Disney’s WALL-E).
For another great article on seven artists who have used classical music to enrich their contemporary compositions, check out Hot Hybrids: When Rock & Classical Collide. What’s your take on classical music in modern genres? Share with us on Facebook!