With this album, you are in for a musical treat. Instrumental tributes to modern music are already quite popular, with highlights from artists such as Vitamin String Quartet or Apocalyptica. However, if you think there’s not much left to discover here, think again. 2CELLOS are two Croatian musicians, Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser. Both artists have played cellos since an early age and pursued that passion gaining reputable music education. Their talent was recognized worldwide. Both musicians, while playing as soloists, had an opportunity to perform at renowned venues, including Wigmore Hall and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Partaking in prestigious international competitions earned them numerous awards, only confirming the true phenomenon of their skills. So successful in their solo careers, the artists decided to join forces to perform instrumental covers of pop and rock songs, now released as a full-length album. The record showcases the virtuosity of the cellists, hence no other instruments are to be found here. Blasting through the notes at high speeds, the duo gives the songs a brand new energy. Extensive experience in performing music enabled the artists to truly excel at what they do, competing even when playing together to achieve the best sound possible.
Smooth Criminal is a faultless cover which launched the duo’s career in popular music, gaining millions of views on YouTube within weeks. The original version is a dynamic and intense song and 2CELLOS maintain that impact. Their version is equally dramatic and energetic, the electrified sound highlighting the intensity and energy of the piece. What was the vocal part in the original song became two melodic lines where both musicians compete with each other, showcasing their skills but also forming a perfect duet. Covering Muse’s The Resistance was no less successful – the arrangement here maintained the urgency of the original song, but highlighted the most important parts of the piece. The cover focuses on the energetic and dynamic essence of the song.
Fragile, a classic by Sting was covered beautifully on this album. The musicians highlighted the song’s subtle Southern American rhythm, giving it quite an interesting interpretation. An unusual take on ballads was also demonstrated by Human Nature. This cover of Michael Jackson’s song is a slight variation on the vocal part. The piece, like the others, showcases the virtuosity of the cellists, but also demonstrates their individual interpretations. The artists’ melodic rendition of Hurt (originally by Nine Inch Nails) is flawless. The deep cello sound on long notes creates an impression of weeping, strengthening the melancholic and moving character of this piece. 2CELLOS also present a somewhat mellowed-down version of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida. It invokes a sense of wonder and nostalgia, much like the original, but in a more subtle way. This beautiful, melodic interpretation is just amazing in sound.
The duo does not shy away from a challenge and even covered the grunge classic Smells Like Teen Spirit, complete with distorted rhythm line and electrified sounds. It’s an explosive version, mellowing out through the verse to blast out of your speakers in the chorus. And you might think that recreating the chaos and energy of Welcome to the Jungle on nothing but two cellos would be difficult – for these artists, this seems almost effortless. The cover is still loud, passionate and full of rioting energy. Just in case you needed more proof that classical instruments can rock!
This compilation falls nothing short of musical bliss. Whether the music you enjoy is instrumental or with vocals, loud or calm, classical or popular, this album has something for you. It’s a collection of great songs performed by very skilled and talented musicians, and is a perfect tribute to some of the biggest classics in modern rock and pop. ‘2CELLOS’ is a fascinating and beautiful album that blends the popular music with classical (and somewhat competitive) musicianship in a seamless way. In September, the duo commences a worldwide tour with Sir Elton John – DO NOT miss it!
Written by Natalia Gronowska