Classical "Covers" or "Classical" Original...


Platinum Member


Pioneer Member
I no problem with classical covers. Classical versions of rock songs are kind of hit or miss. Some songs work, others, like the Scorpions tracks, really do not work.

Rather, I'd rather listen to good songs that happen to be written in a way that having a classical orchestra is an appropriate fit for the song:


Within Temptation:

Leaves Eye
Those are better examples...and I agree. Some music does sound good with the full on orchestra....others just sound cheesy


Platinum Member
No mention of "A Fifth of Beethoven" by Walter Murphey? My powder blue leisure suit is calling me.

Milt Hathaway

Senior Member
My favorite classically-inspired covers include most of Emerson, Lake, & Palmer's catalog.

For the other end of the spectrum, my favorite example is Metallica's live S&M album, as the orchestra arrangements perfectly mesh with Metallica's parts. Kansas's album Always Never The Same is also a good example of this.

In another vein there is a group called Vitamin String Quartet that does some interesting small ensemble arrangements of songs from many different rock bands, including Rush. IMHO their arrangements are a bit weak though and sound like they have been put together in a hurry.


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
As a Beatles freak, I have music by them by all kinds of cover bands. Reggae Beatles, Country Beatles, Guitar picking' Beatles by Chet Atkins, and many CD's of Classical Beatles. When I was younger I had a whole series of vinyl by the Hollyridge Strings playing the entire Beatles catalog. I can see it either way just depends on the song and how its done, but no preference.

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Rather, I'd rather listen to good songs that happen to be written in a way that having a classical orchestra is an appropriate fit for the song...
This is actually a very good point, these bands are not "borrowing" a classical masterpiece from a popular composer, or re-releasing a song or an album with a philharmonic orchestra, they're writing their music with a classical and symphonic view in the first place :)


Platinum Member
Seems we're talking about the rock equivalent to third stream.

Loved the way George Martin arranged orchestral backing for The Beatles and, later, Jeff Beck (by then the latter wasn't playing rock, though).

I enjoyed some of Zappa's work inspired by Varese and Bartok, though sometimes it was a bit much.

Prog, of course, is littered with classical influences, some of it for the better ... ELP's Toccata cover was fantastic.

Anyone remember Sky? They hadd their own Toccata, much more pop but still quite enjoyable

One band with the classical / rock blend I found grating was ELO. The classic rock station here plays them all the time and I keep wondering why this somewhat annoying and defunct band is being plugged so heavily. I'm guessing it's a payoff ...

Lately I've become obsessed with this Gentle Giant clip - maybe the most unsexy band ever yet it's magnificent - the brilliant musicianship, the clever folk/classical-inspired writing and arranging, the range of sounds and styles, some gorgeous melodies and - best of all - the champ of drummer faces, John Weathers!
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Platinum Member
I enjoyed the Jon Lord Bach thing. Bach's music works well in contexts like this. It's testament to the great strength of his composition.


Senior Member
I`m really into neoclassical metal, but most of the "rock-with-orchestra" i have heard suck, metal seems to fit better with an orchestra but that`s not something that always works.

On the other hand, most of the classical music "covers" i`ve seen are pretty neat. Here`s an example by the almighty Yingwe Malmsteen, in a baroque manner.It is actually Bach`s "Violin Concerto No.1 in Minor BWV 1041" played on electro-acoustic guitars.

Yingwe Malmsteen - Paraphrase

Also, here`s a sample of neoclassical music that has nothing to do with an orchestra. Just Paul Gilbert and his magic fingers.

Paul Gilbert - Scarified

I`m pretty lazy to write my opinion about this subject, but here are my 2 conclusions:
1.) Classical music covers sound good ONLY if they are not sloppy and if they are melodic.
2.) Rock/metal tracks with classical influence and/or having an orchestra backing them up will only soud good if the orchestra is in harmony with the band and compensates the gaps left by the band. That way, nobody overplays. Sort of an baroque approach, if you know what i mean.A good example can be found below.

Dimmu Borgir - Gateways


Platinum Member
Gentle Giant: good song, brilliant musicianship, but the voice of the singer? nah! not for me :))
Yes, he's a bit of a honker, isn't he? A bit forced-sounding. At first it bothered me but I got used to it :)

One vocalist who either transfixes or makes you want to leave the room is Dagmar Krause from Henry Cow - all that stark gothic Germanic stridentness (is that a word?)

A classically-inspired band - even a star bassoonist! I'm mad about The Cow - I mostly brush off the lyrics and just float away on their moods, sounds, arrangement and playing.

Deep Purple In Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra ... what did you guys think?

Personally, I didn't go for the classical composition, though the rock parts had some cool moments.

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
A lot of mixed opinions here, it's all good...

I don't mind either way really, classical covers, rock song redone with a classical orchestra, or original song written with a classical approach, as long as I find it musicaly inspiring and within my taste, it does it for me. :)

Deep Purple In Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra ... what did you guys think?
For some reason, it's my least favourite album by Deep Purple, I've never been able to get into it, I still got the vinyl 33 rpm version, perhaps I should give it a listen as I probably didn't play it for more than 30 years or more, it might change my view :)

Rather, I'd rather listen to good songs that happen to be written in a way that having a classical orchestra is an appropriate fit for the song
Within that statement in mind, here's a band that I discovered through my daughter's CD's & DVD's collection, I enjoyed this song from the live DVD, Nightwish - Ghost Love Score, I like the intensity of Julius drumming from 8:24 at the end of the song. :)