Jethro Tull Rework Classic Songs for 'String Quartets' LP

"Aqualung," "Living in the Past" and "Bungle In The Jungle" are reinterpreted with classical music arrangements

Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson will reimagine 12 of the band's classic tracks with help from John O'Hara and Carducci Quartet on 'The String Quartets.' Credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty

Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is reimagining songs like "Aqualung," "Living in the Past," "Bungle in the Jungle" and "A Christmas Song" as classical music compositions in a new LP, The String Quartets, due out March 24th.

"I felt that there were some songs rather special to me which featured the string quartet such as 'A Christmas Song,' 'Reasons For Waiting' and 'Wond'ring Aloud," Anderson said in a statement. "These were my first experiences of working with a quartet. John [O'Hara] came up with a few suggestions of his own which presented challenges. All had an intimacy and presence which I looked forward to recapturing..."


For "Aqualung," titled "Aquafugue" on The String Quartets, the song "starts with the recognizable six note theme before continuing to follow the rules of a fugue. A subject, counter subject, and an accompanying counterpoint all alternate between the tonic and dominant keys," the band said in a press release.

Similarly, "Loco (Locomotive Breath)" begins with a cello cadenza inspired by the writing of J.S. Bach, who inspired Tull's music. "There seemed little point in transcribing the band parts and distributing them to the players," O'Hara said in a statement. "I felt a responsibility to delve deeper and offer a new imagining of each piece. An orchestrator’s job is to arrange and compose a new version of an existing work. However, I also felt a responsibility to the Jethro Tull listeners who cherish this material and may not welcome a radical rendition of a beloved song. My ambition was to create a thought-provoking album that remains true to Ian's compositions."

After the release of The String Quartets, available to preorder now at Pledge Music, Jethro Tull are planning a world tour in 2017.

The String Quartets Track List

1. "In the Past (Living In The Past)"
2. "Sossity Waiting (Sossity: You’re a Woman / Reasons For Waiting)"
3. "Bungle (Bungle In The Jungle)"
4. "We Used to Bach (We Used to Know / Bach Prelude C Major)"
5. "Farm, the Fourway (Farm On The Freeway)"
6. "Songs and Horses (Songs From The Wood / Heavy Horses)"
7. "Only the Giving (Wond’ring Aloud)"
8. "Loco (Locomotive Breath)"
9. "Pass the Bottle (A Christmas Song)"
10. "Velvet Gold (Velvet Green)"
11. "Ring Out These Bells (Ring Out, Solstice Bells)"
12. "Aquafugue (Aqualung)"