Soundtracks arranged for string quartet (and why they’re so good)

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With the Royal Greenwich String Quartet Festival looming, I’ve been swotting up on my String Quartet rep. Despite the fact that there is a tonne of String Quartet music written for film out there, I couldn’t help but listen to quartet arrangements of soundtracks. Here are my favourite five (and why I love them so much):

El Tango De Roxanne (Moulin Rouge)

This piece always makes me wish I took up tango lessons. Or that I was just Argentinian. At least then I wouldn’t burn to crisp when it’s sunny. This melody highlights what the strings are amazing at: passion. Play this and you’re bound to get a few admirers.

Exit Music For a Film (Romeo and Juliet)

It’s no wonder this song has been rearranged time and time again. Radiohead’s chilling take on the great Shakespeare tragedy is nothing short of a masterpiece. I love the use of pizzicato at the beginning of this arrangement – it really conveys the sorrow in this heart-breaking tale.

Feel Good Inc (Last Vagas)

Okay so I admit, I haven’t actually seen Last Vagas and didn’t know Feel Good Inc featured in it until I Googled it just now. But c’mon, who doesn’t like Gorillaz?!

Imperial March (Star Wars)

You can’t have a film list without Stars Wars – it is useless to resist (geddit?). This piece could be performed by a Theremin quartet and would still be one of the best things around. I love this (and those strings know it).

Blue Monday (24 Hour Party People)

In my eyes, you can’t beat Steve Coogan, Manc charm and the crazy escapades of Factory Records and the infamous Haçienda. This reworking of the classic 80s hit brings a certain class to the song. Loving that double stopping at 0.58!

Heather Stephenson

Marketing and PR Intern

From 24 – 25 April, Greenwich will once again resonate with the sound of strings as Trinity Laban’s String Quartet Festival returns over two days to celebrate the wonderful depth and breadth of the string quartet genre and Trinity Laban’s own chamber music programme.

This year, festival themes explore the exciting links between the quartet repertoire and its use in film. For more information and to book tickets, visit:

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