“The Dark Side of the Moon” and Other Pink Floyd Songs Gloriously Performed by Irish & German Orchestras

The idea of an orches­tra per­form­ing 1970s pro­gres­sive rock sounds at first like the stuff of purest nov­el­ty. And while the excess­es of that move­ment bent on the artis­tic “ele­va­tion” of rock-and-roll quick­ly became easy tar­gets, its music has unde­ni­able res­o­nances with the clas­si­cal canon, broad­ly defined. In a piece on the mod­ern reeval­u­a­tion of “prog-rock,” The New York­er’s Kele­fa San­neh quotes a Rolling Stone crit­ic label­ing the ambi­tious new sound “jazz-influ­enced clas­si­cal-rock” in a 1972 review of the debut album of Emer­son, Lake and Palmer, who lat­er “reached the Top Ten, in both Britain and Amer­i­ca, with a live album based on its bom­bas­tic ren­di­tion of Mussorgsky’s Pic­tures at an Exhi­bi­tion.”

King Crim­son, anoth­er pil­lar of the sub­genre, once played a “fero­cious set” that end­ed with “Mars, the Bringer of War,” from Gus­tav Hol­st’s The Plan­ets suite — as an open­er for the Rolling Stones. But no band to rise out of the prog-rock fer­ment has made more of an impact, or more fans, than Pink Floyd.

Their 1973 release The Dark Side of the Moon remains, as of this writ­ing, the fourth best-sell­ing album of all time (to say noth­ing of its T‑shirts and dorm-room posters), and though its ten songs fair­ly demand trib­ute, pay­ing prop­er homage to their elab­o­rate com­po­si­tion and pro­duc­tion is eas­i­er said than done. Enter the Uni­ver­si­ty of Dublin’s stu­dent-run Trin­i­ty Orches­tra, who take it on in the video above, filmed at Christ Church Cathe­dral dur­ing 2012’s 10 Days in Dublin fes­ti­val.

“Time,” the best-known of The Dark Side of the Moon’s album tracks, is here rearranged for a full orches­tra, band, and singers, and going by sound alone, you might believe you’re lis­ten­ing to one of the Floy­d’s more rich­ly instru­ment­ed live shows (not that they were known to skimp in that depart­ment). But there’s no mis­tak­ing this orches­tral ver­sion of “Wish You Were Here” (from their epony­mous fol­low-up album) for the gen­uine arti­cle, cer­tain­ly not because of inad­e­quate musi­cian­ship, but because most of the musi­cians are play­ing man­dolins. Con­duct­ed by Boris Björn Bag­ger, these Ger­man play­ers include not just man­dolin­ists but the late Michael Rüber front and cen­ter on elec­tric gui­tar — an all-impor­tant instru­ment, it seems, no mat­ter how far rock pro­gress­es.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Dark Side of the Moon Project: Watch the First of an 8‑Part Video Essay on Pink Floyd’s Clas­sic Album

Pink Floyd Stream­ing Free Clas­sic Con­cert Films, Start­ing with 1994’s Pulse, the First Live Per­for­mance of The Dark Side of the Moon in Full

A Live Stu­dio Cov­er of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, Played from Start to Fin­ish

Watch Doc­u­men­taries on the Mak­ing of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here

Three Pink Floyd Songs Played on the Tra­di­tion­al Kore­an Gayageum: “Com­fort­ably Numb,” “Anoth­er Brick in the Wall” & “Great Gig in the Sky”

Hear Pink Floyd’s “Great Gig in the Sky” Played on the Theremin

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

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Comments (12)
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  • Daniel HERNANDEZ says:

    Algún día se van a dar cuen­ta de que pink floyd estu­vo siem­pre despe­ga­do de cualquier otra ban­da, le siguen led zep­pelin y Queen lejos atrás, no hay otra, tam­bién jet­tro Tull y otras pero despe­ga­da pink floyd

  • Daniel HERNANDEZ says:

    Algún día se van a dar cuen­ta de que pink Floyd es,fue y será la ban­da número uno de todos los tiem­pos, ningu­na se com­para, le siguen led zep­pelin y Queen lejos, esto es músi­ca de ver­dad

  • owen heath says:

    Pink Floyd are a in their own cat­e­go­ry. It’s not pro­gres­sive rock. It’s pink floyd. You talk a lot of twad­dle. Cha­rade you are.

  • Steve says:

    thats not wish you were here thats shine on parts..123? Its on the wish you were here album but they aren’t play­ing wish you were here.

  • Alexsandro Aquino Madeira says:

    Muy exe­lente

  • hubert satheesh says:


  • Kevin Gleeson says:


  • David H Stufflebeam says:

    First time I heard Pink Floyd with orches­tra arrange­ments. Shows how bril­liant Waters and Gilmore are at their craft.

  • Martin Hatcher says:

    Well this piece was pro­gres­sive and enjoyed by me . The work was arranged well and both orches­tra and soloists cap­tured some­thing spe­cial . Pink Floyd were unique and dom­i­nant when ever they per­formed. I was lucky enough to meet Rick Wright in 1981 in Lin­dos and his friend David Gilmour who owned a vil­la there at that time . Great to hear this orches­tra..

  • Matthew says:

    They knocked all the sharp edges off.. It’s still very pret­ty, but with­out that that lit­tle bit of bit­ter­ness from the orig­i­nal, it falls short of sub­lime.

  • Vitória Santos says:

    Não tem out­ra igual ‚Pink Floyd será a mel­hor de todas.

  • bruh says:

    dsotm is an album

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