Watch: Beethoven Symphony No. 7 Is Transformed Into a Cuban Rumba

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 12:00 AM

Beethoven In Havana (7th Symphony, mv. 2 Rumba) (YouTube)

We already knew Beethoven's work is timeless, but it turns out his music can’t be bound by geography either. Need proof? Check out film composer Joachim Horsley’s interpretation of the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh. The steady and emotional rhythm that so many of us have come to love is flipped about and transformed into a Cuban rumba.

Every sound in Horsley’s eight-musician and three-piano arrangement is produced using the instrument. There are the obvious parts, like the percussive strikes on the lid and mallets and claves on the prop stick and the stings. But the creativity goes way beyond that, too. That cool electric sound you hear in that last minute? It’s from rubber mutes (and slick production work).

Oh, and for those who are just dying to nerd out over this, Horsley uploaded his score as well. Take a look and put in some practice so you can break it out at your next party.

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Comments [6]

Dave from Manhattan

Beethoven has evoked many emotions out of me over the years, but never, as here, the desire to get up and dance. Really wonderful!

Dec. 22 2016 01:46 PM

Beethoven himself, in the last movement, "Rondo, Allegro Scherzando" of his first piano concerto, brings in (repeatedly) an episode which has always reminded my of a South American dance (samba?) No doubt accidental but, there you are!

Dec. 18 2016 07:00 PM
Nancy from Metuchen, NJ

This is wonderful! I have now watched it three times in a row, before my first cup of coffee. Come to think it, I'm not sure I need coffee now!

Dec. 17 2016 07:21 AM
Pablo from Madison, WI

Fantastic! It reminds me of Ricky Ray and Bobby Cruz's 1970's "Sonido Bestial" and their incorporation of Chopin's "revolutionary Étude." Check it out (jump to 1:53): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqwu2NpbQT8

Dec. 16 2016 02:31 PM
Jerry from Bethlehem NH

Variations on a theme modernized. Wonderful. Would love to hear additional.

Dec. 16 2016 07:21 AM
Juan from Miami, FL

Thank you very much. I found the performance AWESOME!!!!! The creativity and the fusion of this performance really surprise me, a question arises what is classical and what is popular?

Dec. 14 2016 06:58 PM

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