The vocal harmonies of an a cappella group are the perfect fit for the Beatles’ songs. But the group joining the National Symphony Orchestra this weekend for a “Best of the Beatles” concert doesn’t hail from the UK or US. They’re from Scandinavia.
Finland’s Rajaton started singing the Beatles’ music early in their career—14 years ago when acclaimed conductor Osmo Vänskä asked them to build a new program around the Fab Four. For their upcoming performance, they’ll begin with an arrangement of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by violinist Jaakko Kuusisto then slide into a selection of number one hits.
“Sgt. Pepper’s is not such a favorite album for everyone. We really like it, since it’s such an interesting mixture of very simple, fun pop kind of songs and then some experimental art stuff,” writes Rajaton soprano Essi Wuorela via email.
Rajaton has done several other orchestral collaborations–based on the music of Queen and ABBA–but the group performs folk songs and original music, as well. They put on shows all over Europe and the world.
Performing with a live orchestra never gets old though. “These Symphony Orchestra collaborations [are] where we have a chance to share the stage with 100 very gifted musicians,” she says. “Then we often get very well-educated audiences who appreciate arts and music, so we’re in very good company.”
Rajaton performs with the NSO on Friday, September 25, and Saturday, September 26 at the Kennedy Center. Tickets cost $20 to $88.