“No Surprises”: Christopher O’Riley Covers Radiohead

No Surprisesfrom the British alternative rock band Radiohead’s 1997 album OK Computer, has been described as “a lullaby of despair.” Its sweet, sensuous melody, laced with the delicate sounds of glockenspiel, meets lyrics infused with helpless desolation. The result is something which feels numbly detached. Recorded in a single take, the song pays vague homage to the Beach Boys classic, Wouldn’t it Be NiceAccording to Radiohead singer-songwriter Thom Yorke,

That childlike guitar sound set the mood for the whole album. We were going for that Pet Sounds vibe.

No Surprises takes on a different quality in this beautiful, shimmering transcription by pianist Christopher O’Riley. (You may know him as the host of the weekly NPR program, From the Top). During performances, O’Riley often includes his arrangements of the music of Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Pink Floyd, Nirvana and Nick Drake alongside Mozart and Shostakovich. O’Riley has long been a Radiohead fan, citing the harmonic and contrapuntal sophistication of the band’s music. His first album featuring the music of Radiohead, True Love Waits, came out in 2003. This track is from his 2005 album, Hold Me to This:

Recordings

Photograph: christopheroriley.com

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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