Tolga Kashif. The Queen Symphony
Right before New Year's Eve, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra and maestro Gintaras Rinkevičius present The Queen Symphony by a British born composer of Turkish Cypriot descent, Tolga Kashifo (b. 1962), a unique and spectacular work that combines songs of the legendary rock group Queen and symphonic music. "I hoped to express the original essence of this great music. In seeking to reinvent rather than purely orchestrate it, I found that this music inherently contains the language of modern classical genre," says Kashif. According to Queen's guitarist Brian May, The Queen Symphony is the work of someone with a unique view and a new dream. "I’m sure this composition, as usual with Queen-related works, will provoke some violent reactions. It breaks most of the ‘rules’ of symphonic form. But I am equally sure it will become an immortal favourite in the repertoire of orchestras because it will deeply move an audience every time."
Members of Queen were not involved in the work on The Queen Symphony granting Kashif complete freedom. Although Queen hit songs are woven together in the Symphony, some of them can be hardly recognised even by the most loyal fans of the group. As Brian May said after the first performances of The Queen Symphony, "anyone who’s expecting to hear mere orchestral arrangements of Queen songs is in for a big shock!"
Tolga Kashif is convinced that the music of Queen contains a valid thematic basis for a composer of art music. Queen musicians "were part of a radical new wave challenging the boundaries of popular music. They were the embodiment of a raw artistic expression that presented itself through meticulously created recordings and performances." Today The Queen Symphony receives performances all over the world and is listed as one of the most popular classical music pieces in Europe, the USA and Asia. Theatricality and sensuousness of Queen permeates the Symphony; it seems as if we hear the scintillating Freddie Mercury theatre at the core.