Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Tolga Kashif: The Queen Symphony

Béla Bartók wove the folk songs of Eastern Europe into his music, and Charles Ives performed a similar feat, in his symphonies, with the American popular vernacular of a century ago. Composer-conductor Tolga Kashif has elected to do the same with the recorded catalog of the 1970s prog-rock band Queen, whose lyrical melodies, albeit bloated with excess, are perfect for this sort of, ahem, undertaking. The six-movement work flows and oozes like bad movie music; you haven’t lived until you’ve heard trombones mince their way through “Killer Queen,” or “Bohemian Rhapsody” build to a climax only to morph into the neo-fascist anthem “We Will Rock You” and then into a schmaltzy, Vaseline-lensed version of “We Are the Champions.” The Gruyère-like result is a bit like Mozart and a bit like Bach. For lack of a better word, let’s just call it “Mach” and leave it at that. “Lick My Love Pump,” indeed!