Music Mash-Up Series Kick-Off! THE MUSIC OF RADIOHEAD TO BRAHMS
Up to Here (Andrew Lipke)
State of Affairs (Bill Prokopow)
Perfect Love (Kristin Newborn, orch. Hanna Ben)
Brahms v. Radiohead (Brahms/Radiohead arr. S. Hackman)
The term “Mash-Up” has been popularized in today’s culture, music and TV, but it often infers something like a medley. Steve Hackman, arranger, has taken a more extensive approach, actually combining material from Brahms Symphony No. 1 and Radiohead OK Computer. He describes it is as a synthesis process, like musical chemistry. Analyzing each piece of music and distilling it down to the most basic elements of melody, harmony, rhythm and form, he identified which elements they had in common and figured out a way to join them together. Steve has likened this process to a musical “bond”. For him, it was a fantastic journey of creation.
Why Radiohead and Brahms? The Brahms Symphony No. 1, from 1876, is one of the most beloved pieces in the orchestral repertoire. It is intensely dramatic. The themes are memorable, dense and gorgeous, lending itself to a combination with Radiohead. Radiohead’s OK Computer album, from 1997, is one of the most transformational albums in the modern history of rock and roll. It achieved near unanimous critical and popular adoration in the late 90’s due to its skillful blend of rock classicism and futurism, prompting Rolling Stone to call the album a “stunning art-rock tour de force”.
Brahms and Radiohead have both found a way to innovate and break through within conventions that had been established in their art form; in Brahms’ case, the Symphony had been out for more than a decade; in Radiohead’s case, taking pop and rock to new levels. Neither cared as much about critics as they did about innovating, which is why they and their music will live forever.
Join us on this journey of musical chemistry.