O’Riley reckons Radiohead cross over because they have broad musical tastes themselves. He explained: “One thing that makes them ripe for classical treatment is that each song present one with a wealth of different voices; not just the usual pop melody/chord churning, but real counterpoint/musical conversation.”
What do Radiohead think of this analysis and covers? “No idea,” he says. “I hope they don’t think it sucks. I hope that they see it for what it is – a respectful, devotional rendering of music I think is some of the best music ever created.”
According to Roger Lewis, MD and Program Controller at Classic FM, the reason Radiohead appeal to classical musicians is because their “intensity, depth and sophistication” match that of classical pieces.
“I think the key word is integrity,” Lewis told. “There’s a tradition stretching back hundreds of years of solo piano players taking compositions of others, like Beethoven, and performing their own versions of the songs.”
“I happen to be a classical player… But I really just wanted to play Radiohead,” Christopher O’Riley
So does that mean Radiohead are the new Beethoven? There’s a long pause before Lewis replies, smiling: “I think Radiohead are Radiohead.”