|The trumpets and trombones belch with desperate urgency. The bass and cello deliver a distressing and emotional undertone dripping with agony and grief. The flutes and violins hint at a lightness, an unfounded hope. Trembling with feverish despair, impatient angst, and interrupted calm, Mozart’s Requiem is a contradiction between soothing and melancholic, terrible and soft-spoken. Is this not the nature of a rock star? Sonophilia Pioneer Billy Andrews, also known as The Dark Tenor, believes so.
Billy is a Gold-status singer who has held hits in Germany’s Top 10 Charts and sold over 200,000 albums. Rather than take mainstream hit songs and turn them into beautiful instrumental pieces, like The Piano Guys, Lindsey Stirling, and David Garrett have done, Billy took the reverse route. He composes his original melodies and lyrics and transcribes them to the backdrop of classical works by world-famous and timeless composers. His signature sound and style have breathed new life into classical music.
“Classical music is so cool,” Billy expressed to Sonophilia. “Bach, Mozart and Beethoven were the rockers, punkers, and poppers of their own time. These were the cool dudes that would spend all their money on things that would be considered rock and roll these days and to create music! These guys were cool and crazy, let’s put it that way. The world deserves to see a different side of this genre.”
Having grown up with musical parents and sung in professional choirs and operas worldwide, such as Semperoper Dresden, Billy began to notice how stale and outdated the classical music genre had begun to feel. It seemed to have lost all will to thrill, to electrify people’s nerves. Mozart’s Requiem, for instance, talks about the day of wrath; it doesn’t invite pristine, unadulterated tranquility. Quite the contrary!
The classical crossover genre is already well-established, but by harnessing his inner Mozart, Billy stirs in his audience all the emotions Mozart originally wanted without a full-on opera tenor voice. With his passion for Green Day, Bon Jovi, the Foo Fighters, Metallica, and Nirvana, Billy found parallels between classical music and punk rock or heavy metal. The Dark Tenor had to experiment with his sound to find a balance that would appeal to a mass audience nowadays.
“Mozart wanted to make people feel like they’re falling apart when the Lacrimosa starts in his Requiem or the Dies Irae starts. He wanted them to be excited and wanted them to be afraid of what’s happening… I’ll try and transport that feeling onto my audience, using