Arioso in Red by Dave Mohan


I quote the famous words of Douglas Adams when I tell you that “Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe.” And originating from this universal appeal that Bach’s compositions have, songwriter/recording artist Dave Mohan decided to rearrange and reimagine Bach’s Arioso (BWV 156) entitled “Arioso In Red”. The composition features original lyrics and vocals, with multiple collaborations that Mr. Dave brought along to give this composition a different flavor. The vocal performance by Carolina de la Muela feels like a broadway musical. It’s not standard classical operatic singing, but rather a more modern method suited for musical theatre or RnB. Kudos to this amazing lady for the forward placement, the terrific use of head and mixed voice, and most importantly the tenderness of the singing itself that gives this piece more romance than the melancholy of the original. As for the composition itself, the predominance of the piano over the strings makes you feel like it’s a neo-classical piece, but there’s so much respect for the original composition making it qualify as a classical music piece that just happened to be made in 2022. I’m sure Bach himself would’ve been so proud of this track, as it feels like what he would’ve made himself if he was living in our modern times and had the same tools Dave Mohan had when he was composing this piece. The way the song begins softly made me feel like it will have a Jazz flavor or drastically change things up, especially with the double bass and the modern vocal style. But to my surprise, the song kept true to its classical elements and had a more stripped-down and calm second half. This calmness made me envision the song in a Broadway musical or a movie with a sad love story, where this song would perfectly fit its climax. In conclusion, I have to say this new arrangement of Arioso reminded me of the way Clint Mansell rearranged Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake for the Black Swan movie; the essential and most gripping melodies are all there, but the transitions and pacing are authentic and appealing to classical and pop audiences alike.