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Jon Lord - Sarabande CD (album) cover


Jon Lord


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3.84 | 103 ratings

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3 stars When the progressive, or symphonic, prog was a new thing, ie. in the late 60's and the early 70's, several musicians combined the worlds of orchestral music and rock. To a varying results, of course. Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra (1970) is among the most ambitious of those early works, but it left me with an impression that the two elements didn't function together very well. (The Moody Blues' classic and lovely album Days of Future Passed from 1967 deserves a mention, although the pop group's song performances and the orchestral extensions/interludes were in the end two rather separate entities.)

In the case of Deep Purple, the father of the project was the band's organist Jon Lord. Later on his role in Purple became somewhat smaller as guitarist Ritchie Blackmore became more recognized figure. Lord continued his literally symphonic adventures as a solo artist, debuting with the pretentious Gemini Suite (1972). The next, Bach- inspired album Windows (1974) was a collaboration with composer Eberhard Schoener, who is conducting the orchestra on this album too.

Sarabande functions better as a whole than its precursors. As the track titles reveal, the album was influenced and inspired by the dance forms of Baroque music. Lord tried to maintain the tempo and mood of each form even though the end result goes rather far from the Baroque per se. Anyway, it becomes clear at once that the rock and classical elements mingle much more naturally than on the DP Concerto. Here and there the album reminds me of the more recent crossover projects -- in good and in bad. For example 'Bouree' makes me think of my countryman Anssi Tikanmäki. In its 11 minutes it is slightly too long, but finds more energy in the end.

After two pompous pieces comes 'Aria' which centers on romantic piano and thus resembles The Enid. 'Gigue' has a lively Rick Wakeman vibe on the keys, but its extended drum solo in the end is very unnecessary. My favourite is definitely 'Pavane', in which the sensual string section is joined by classical guitar (Andy Summers before his time in The Police!) and softly played piano. Faster pieces like 'Caprice' and 'Finale' are farther in spirit from art music.

Sarabande is a fine example of orchestral, instrumental prog rooted in classical (Baroque) music. My personal enjoyment however remains on the medium three-star level.

Matti | 3/5 |


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