Death and the Iron Maidens
September 28, 2005 6:18 AM   Subscribe

Rondo Alla Iron Maiden (Program Notes, mp3s). As the name suggests, this new work for string quartet is a classical rondo in the style of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Composer Kurt Mortensen might rather you pay more attention to some of his other works, like this charming folk-tinged trio, but I had to go straight for the silly stuff.
posted by Wolfdog (16 comments total)
Not that I am a heavy metal fan, but interesting how he apologises in advance because the material not worth practicing (the performers have "better things to do") but then also claims some of it is very demanding (difficult?) to play?

does that translate to "heavy metal is crap, because it is too hard for us to play"?
posted by zog at 6:49 AM on September 28, 2005

No thread about string quartets playing rock music would be complete without a cite for the Kronos Quartet.

The Rondo Alla Iron Maiden sounds like a good idea and worth listening to if only I actually knew any Iron Maiden melodies and/or didn't loathe Mozart.
posted by soyjoy at 6:58 AM on September 28, 2005

Well, if you can, look at the score - say, the 1st violin solo starting at measure 124. All those busy sextuplet figures are obviously a transcription of the sort of wheedly-wheedly-whee stuff that falls right off a rock guitarist's fingers without him ever thinking about the notes; it's just part of the idiom. But if you're classicist trying to reproduce that by reading printed notes, it's as hard as it looks.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:58 AM on September 28, 2005

As someone who knows both Iron Maiden and Mozart, I have to say this is lame. It doesn't transcend either genre, indeed it seems only really to be mildly interesting because of the context, i.e. putting Iron Maiden-ish things and combining them with quotes from Mozart and having these things played by a string quartet in a concert hall, and for me this is lowest-common denominator post-modernism. I have to say that Iron Maiden played by a string quartet sounds lame -the imitation of the finger-tapping guitar solos that Wolfdog points out especially. Funnily enough the whole thing harmonically (and to some extent motivically) reminded me of a bad impression of Vaughn-Williams. Maybe I just never realized that Iron Maiden were pastoralists...
posted by ob at 7:39 AM on September 28, 2005

posted by badger_flammable at 7:41 AM on September 28, 2005

It doesn't transcend either genre...
Oh, I agree, it's definitely not the best of his work or even the best possible attempt at combining these two styles, but I still got a good dose of humor out of it, especially when the rondo alla turca theme show up over top of the trademark Iron Maiden aeolian chord progression. And it's more interesting than something like Apocalyptica's metallica on cellos thing because they're entirely literal, whereas this guy actually wrote some interesting material that takes the instruments' possibilities into account.

Some of this guys other works do remind me of Vaughan Williams, too, but I think it's just the heavily modal flavor of a lot of it.

The best example in the traditional literature I can think of off the top of my head where a serious composer hits a mood that is very like Maiden is George Enescu's Octet for strings.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:02 AM on September 28, 2005

I don't know the Enescu, but I shall check it out. Funnily enough, I still have a lot of time for post-modernism, but often I find the result unsatisfying. I still believe that some kind of rapprochement between 'western-classical-music' and 'popular music' is possible (and there are good examples of this i.e. Zappa -well, in some instances) but oftentimes what one is left with is something that debases both genres. Anyway, thanks for posting this, I think one can learn something from successful and unsuccessful music...
posted by ob at 9:51 AM on September 28, 2005

I only heard the Iron Maiden piece, so I'll check out some of his other music, specifically pieces that don't deal with polystylism...
posted by ob at 9:53 AM on September 28, 2005

MetaFilter: wheedly-wheedly-whee
posted by Pendragon at 10:23 AM on September 28, 2005

Whoa, it's like... squiggly is having a classical épée duel with meedly over here. I say, good show, squiggly. Ah, touché, squiggly! SQUIGGLY WINS!
posted by Eideteker at 1:22 PM on September 28, 2005

funnily enough this isn't very good either
posted by criticalbill at 3:05 PM on September 28, 2005

I was going to download, but the description on the site put me off: "serious musicians", "not worth their time".
I love crossover music, but I'd rather have that the performers love it too.
posted by easternblot at 5:49 PM on September 28, 2005

What, no mention of Apocalyptica yet?
posted by spazzm at 6:11 AM on September 29, 2005

spazzm writes "What, no mention of Apocalyptica yet?"

I was just thinking the same thing.. After all, their Plays Metallica was pure genious, although I'm less of a fan of their original work.
posted by tuxster at 9:03 AM on September 29, 2005

Of course, I did mention them.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:05 AM on September 29, 2005

Oops, sorry Wolfdog.

Who reads comments with more than one line in music threads anyway?
posted by spazzm at 5:00 AM on September 30, 2005

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