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Classic FM Drive with John Brunning 5pm - 7pm
12 October 2016, 12:41 | Updated: 6 January 2017, 14:45
One of the great things about classical musicians is that they’re always up for a cover version. Here are the best classical covers of pop songs on the internet, from Taylor Swift to Michael Jackson.
Taylor Swift - Blank Space (Brooklyn Duo)
The cloying eagerness to settle down balanced by the whimsy of living your youth with abandon… Argh, it just feels so real! And even without the lyrics, Brooklyn Duo get it across beautifully.
Mark Ronson - Uptown Funk (Electric Colour Orchestra)
A monster hit that requires its performers to convey as much charisma as Bruno Mars. Do these guys manage it? (YES.)
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody (Nicholas Hersh)
One of the all-time greats in the pop rep, Bohemian Rhapsody has been reimagined in countless different and inventive ways. But here, turning it into a kind of viola concerto, it sounds like it’s never sounded before.
Adele - Skyfall (Ji Liu)
Classy, solemn, exciting - and that’s just the Adele version. When pianist Ji Liu gets hold of it, though, Skyfall becomes that little bit more heightened.
Nicki Minaj - Anaconda (Lara St. John)
One of the most bonkers pop songs in recent years is given a performance art twist in this invigorating chamber performance.
Michael Jackson - Smooth Criminal (2CELLOS)
The King of Pop is ripe for classical reinterpretation, and many have tried - especially with Smooth Criminal. But the boys from 2CELLOS had it nailed when they stripped the whole song back and let the intensity come to the fore.
Let It Go - Idina Menzel (The Piano Guys)
This list wouldn’t be complete without the Piano Guys, who arguably kickstarted this whole movement for classical covers of pop songs in the YouTube generation. Their delicate mash-ups (on this occasion they’ve paired the Disney classic with some Vivaldi) are as ingenious as they are infectious, and this might just be their best one.