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Beggars Opera - Act One CD (album) cover


Beggars Opera


Symphonic Prog

3.64 | 225 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars 20-Year Chronological Run-Through pt. Eight: 1970.

This British band, founded in Glasgow in 1969, took its name from a Baroque play of John Gay. Stylistically the quintet followed the path of The Nice. Debut album Act One emphasizes on the Emerson-like organ work of Alan Park, as well as on the heavy borrowing from classical music.

Perhaps this feature helped to hide the fact that there were no strong songwriters in the band at that point. 'Poet and Peasant' is derived from an operetta overture by Franz von Suppe. Especially Raymond Wilson on drums is very good, but Martin Griffiths' vocals go a bit over the top with a heavy use of vibrato. 'Passacaglia' and 'Memory' are original compositions that carry on the same energetic style.

'Raymond's Road' is a tiresome 12-minute potpourri featuring references to several art music pieces, as if it was asking how many of them are recognized by the listener. In addition to The Nice, Beggars Opera were certainly familiar with Love Sculpture's rock version of Khatchaturian's Sabre Dance. Equally long 'Light Cavalry' is the album's second dive into Suppe's operetta world, but also IMHO its most succesful piece as it combines both borrowed and own ideas.

Act One may be considered a noteworthy classical music inspired prog debut, but I prefer their next two albums. 2,5 stars rounded down on a subjective basis.

Matti | 2/5 |


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