Adele says ‘Hello’ to Mozart’s ‘Lacrimosa’ in this new cello-driven arrangement from The Piano Guys.
Adele’s latest single, Hello, has broken records worldwide. In its first week, Hello topped the one-week streaming record in the UK with 7.32 million plays and accumulated 27.7 million views for the accompanying music video. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of classical music’s most beloved composers, and his oeuvre includes over 600 works all written before his death aged 35.
What happens when you combine 2016’s biggest pop hit with the equivalent of the 18th-century classical music world?
Hello/Lacrimosa, or “Chello” is the curiously successful hybrid of the two. The Piano Guys, an American-based group consisting of Jon Schmidt, Steven Sharp Nelson, Paul Anderson and Al van der Beek, has created a mash-up of the Adele’s Hello and Mozart’s Lacrimosa (from his Requiem Mass in D). Featuring Steve Sharp Nelson on electric and acoustic cellos, with Al van der Beek on percussion and vocal textures, the mash-up is made up from 100 overlaid tracks of acoustic and electric cello to create a “musical experiment bridging 18th-century spiritualism and 21st-century secularism.” In just three days it picked up more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.
The Piano Guys came to fame through their piano and cello renditions of popular songs on YouTube, and it’s not the first time the contemporary and classical genres have crossed paths. Muse re-used the subject of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor as a gnarly guitar riff in their song, ‘Plug in Baby’; Procul Harum borrowed the theme of Bach’s Air On A G-String for ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’; the Pet Shop Boys found yet another variation for Pachelbel’s Canon in D in their song ‘Go West’.
“Both tunes’ divergent traits presented challenges,” the duo says, explaining the process of combining Mozart and Adele. “One wallows in a wide, painstakingly minor 12/8 time and the other drives a poignant bi-polar major/minor common time. One draws its power from the fullness of a grand chorus and orchestra, the other from the isolation of a lone voice and piano. One conforms to age-old counterpart canon and musical theory while the other is conveyed via verse/chorus pop song parlance.”