James Bennett II is a staff writer for WQXR.
6 Great Movie and TV Themes Made Amazing With Cello
Monday, January 09, 2017 - 03:33 PM
The cello is your distinguished friend who has no problem providing support from the sidelines, but will absolutely steal the show once given the spotlight. It's versatile too, turning from solemn to sumptuous at a moment’s notice. But just in case you’ve taken it for granted, we’ve culled together some of our favorite cello-heavy movie and television theme covers.
Everything about Stranger Things is bathed in '80s nostalgia, including the synth-drenched soundtrack that’s like a portal to a land of peak Spielberg and synthpop. It might seem weird to imagine the soundtrack without those crucial Rolands and Moogs, but Nicholas Yee was up to the task with this sonorous medley for eight cellos. The main theme is followed by a pizzicato-forward “Nancy and Barb” and closes with “Kids,” which is more of a gut-punch in the feels than we expected.
Game of Thrones
"Cellos already carry the main theme of HBO’s Sunday night dragon fest, so why not arrange it for a cello-heavy group?” is the question almost certainly posed by “cello rock” quartet Break of Reality. Unrestrained by the time limits of opening titles, the group opens with an appropriately foreboding musical reference and goes on to discover new ways of developing the forever-hummable theme music.
The Lord of the Rings
The Piano Guys craft a fine medley that brings together the contrasting moods present in Howard Shore’s iconic score. And, they’ve got some scenery to match too — misty woods, still rivers and mountainous expanses is the icing on some beautiful music. Sure, it’s not a cello-exclusive cover, but it’s near impossible to imagine this arrangement without the contributions of those meditative and romantic strings.
The Doubleclicks applied their signature wit and whimsy in the most appropriate fashion with their interpretation of the Doctor Who intro for three cello parts. And for you show obsessives, don’t worry — that electronic melody is right at home here. Who knows, maybe the next incarnation of the Doctor will be a cello fan and choose this as the next theme?
Pirates of the Caribbean
Taking the swashbuckling Pirates theme and assigning it to cello gives it a certain quality that sounds like its rumbling from the bowels of the Black Pearl herself. Hook, rum and other pirate accouterments are not included, but this cello will carry you quite aways.
Bonus: The Walking Dead
While you impatiently wait for the horrifying adventures of Rick and the gang to return to your television, satisfy your Walking needs with this orchestral cover of the show’s tense theme. Cellos and strings are joined by brass and thundering percussion. Any epic cover of a hit horror/survival show needs a choral contribution, so die-hards will be pleased to see one here. (Skip to the 45 second mark for the arrangement!)
Do you have a favorite pop culture cover that is made great by cello but doesn’t appear here? Share it below.