Top 50 Favorite/Best Classical – #40 Miranda Hamilton
Lin Manuel Miranda joins the all time greats on my list at #40 with his masterful musical, Hamilton. This one definitely pushes the boundaries of what can be called classical, or tied loosely with the classical world. I’m not a fan of the notion that classical music is dead, or dead men’s music. Music has morphed over the centuries, oscillating back and forth between various methods of expression. It’s honestly very fascinating to see how music morphs over time, for instance from the first opera back in 1597 to the diversity of similar creations, from traditional opera, to musicals, to film versions of musicals and operas. Miranda infuses hip hop into the musical form, combining classical elements, musical elements and hip hop into a gorgeous creation.
Miranda’s interpretation of Alexander Hamilton also has an interesting history. Lin Manuel Miranda started on Broadway with his amazing musical, In The Heights for which he deservedly won the Tony Award for Best Musical. Afterward, he read Ron Chernow’s fantastic biography of Alexander Hamilton and was inspired to transform it into a musical. And it works! It works so amazingly well because Miranda takes even bland, boring things like policy debates and turns it into art.
He started with a singular piece, which he actually shared with President Obama at the White House back in May 2009 saying it was a hip hop concept album, and I’m going to share that here, because it’s really amazing. Everyone there in that audience didn’t know what they were going to get by the end.
From this concept album, he ended up developing it into the musical we all know and love. We really are lucky to have someone as talented as Lin Manuel Miranda these days. I hope he gets breaks from all the contractural stuff he’s got with film studios to be able to come up with amazing original stuff like this, because this is masterful work. The video below is from their performance at the Tony Awards. Enjoy!