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Queen Symphony, The

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Tolga Kashif

Tolga Kashif (tr. Somers)

General Info

Year: 2002/2006
Duration: c. 55:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Baton Music
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental (€950)   |   Score Only - €75.00


1. Adagio Misterioso -- Allegro con Brio -- Maestoso -- Misterioso -- Allegro
2. Allegretto -- Allegro Scherzando -- Tranquillo
3. Adagio
4. Allegro Vivo -- Moderato Cantabile -- Cadenza -- A Tempo Primo
5. Andante Doloroso -- Allegretto -- Alla Marcia -- Moderato Risoluto -- Pastorale -- Maestoso
6. Andante Sostenuto


Full Score
Vocal Score
C Piccolo/Flute III/Alto Flute
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Solo B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV-V-VI
Trombone I-II-III
C Tuba
String Bass
Mallet Percussion< br /> Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bicycle Bells
  • Brake Drum
  • Castanets
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Crotales
  • Field Drum
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Ride Cymbal
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tenor Drum
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Verdi Drum
  • Vibraphone
  • Whip
  • Xylophone
  • Zulu Drum

Solo Violin
Solo Cello



In Movement 4, at both bars 3 and bar 145, the 2/2 time signature should be 4/4.

In Movement 1, at bars 99 and 100, the D natural in the euphonium and cello parts probably should be D#.

Program Notes

London born Tolga Kashif is regarded as one of the most diversely talented musicians of his time. He studied conducting and composition at the Royal College of Music, then later Bristol University with Derek Bourgeois. His professional debut was with the London Philharmonic, after which he has been a frequent guest with the Royal Philharmonic, City of London Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Northern Sinfonia. In 1992 Tolga Kashif was appointed as Associate Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra.

In 2001 Tolga Kashif was commissioned by EMI Classics to compose a symphony piece based on the music of the legendary group Queen. The Queen Symphony was released in 2002, and received its world premiere at the Royal Festival Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the composer. Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor attended the performance, as did Freddie Mercury's mother Jer Bulsara, and the CD has been a great success, featured regularly in international Classical Top 10s.

The Queen Symphony is an integrated work for orchestra and choir in which Tolga Kashif hoped to express the original essence of the great music of Queen. In seeking to reinvent rather than purely orchestrate it, he found that this music inherently contains the language of the modern classical genre.

The project has been more of a continuation of an onward journey since his early teens when he was first exposed to the music of Queen. Along with their contemporaries David Bowie and Genesis (to name but two), Queen 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. In many respects Queen's music is embedded in the juxtaposition of classic and rock genres; the sound may be rock-orientated but, when stripped down to the bare components, the core contains as valid a thematic basis for symphonic treatment as any work in this genre.

It is hard to put into words the composition factor in this work, but improvisation and visualization were at the heart of the process. Initial research soon revealed unexplored depths of meaning and lyricism within the Queen lyrics and melodies.

Beginning sketching, the original themes began to coalesce into longer-form passages, while also taking on different contexts and characterizations. The original Queen recordings naturally suggested an orchestral/choral canvas. Layered guitars resembled orchestra layers; the diversity of solo expression in both voice and guitar - from extreme lyrically tenderness to rhapsodic exuberance - suggested the language of concerto or opera.

The harmonic and melodic structures were reminiscent of classical form, with intelligently woven counterpoint, while the chord progressions ranged from Medieval to Romantic influences. As well as main themes, a subtext of secondary ones presented itself: the innocent piano figure from Bohemian Rhapsody, the riff from Another One Bites the Dust, the unmistakable turns of phrase in the guitar playing of Brian May.

In 2005, Dutch arranger Erik Somers initiated the idea to transcribe the entire symphony for concert band. The transcription received its premiere in spring 2007.

I. Adagio Misterioso -- Allegro con Brio -- Maestoso -- Misterioso -- Allegro The Radio Gaga motiv and Show Must Go On refrains formed the motivic base for the movement, and wrapped themselves in a stark landscape of layered strings, inspired by Brian May's distinctive layered guitar writing. Kashif had images of eternal struggle against the odds, powered by the lyric One World, One Vision. By contrast, I Was Born to Love You appears as a fuel for salvation.

II. Allegretto -- Allegro Scherzando -- Tranquillo The lyrical Love of my Life gave rise to a classical / pastoral piano concerto treatment, which is invaded by Another One Bites the Dust and Killer Queen as a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of a menacing duo conjuring up a storm!

III Adagio The yearning Who Wants to Live Forever is an elegiac dialogue between the violin and the cello, against a mournful orchestral landscape. This is concluded by a short epilogue which points to resolution at the conclusion of the Symphony.

IV. Allegro Vivo -- Moderato Cantabile -- Cadenza -- A Tempo Primo Bicycle Race inspired this frenzied movement in which Kashif visualized the video of the song. The twist here, though, is that the participants escape into the city center where chaos ensues.

V. Andante Doloroso -- Allegretto -- Alla Marcia -- Moderato Risoluto -- Pastorale -- Maestoso This opens with a parade of great Queen moments: Mama, Just Killed a Man..., We will Rock You, Scaramouche -- all characterized in a stylistic costume that culminates in the triumphant We Are the Champions and a reprise of Who Wants to Live Forever.

VI. Andante Sostenuto This bears an unofficial title Homage, which is based on a further recapitulation of Who Wants to Live Forever. Tolga Kashif hopes that this is self-explanatory!

-Program Note from score


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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