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Various Artists (Tributes) - Symphonic Music of Yes CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Tributes)


Various Genres

2.50 | 36 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Classical Yes

This is not a Yes album as such, and should not be mistaken for the more recent "YesSymphonic" DVD release. "The Symphonic music of Yes" appeared some nine years before "YesSymphonic" but is similar in orientation. The ten tracks included here will all be familiar to Yes fans, being taken from their early albums up to "90125". A few have been significantly edited, "Close to the edge" loses a full 10 minutes, "Heart of the sunrise" a couple, and only the closing "Soon" section of "Gates of delirium" is used.

While the album is basically a vehicle for the London Philharmonic Orchestra to render orchestral versions of Yes songs, it is afforded greater credibility through the presence of Steve Howe, Jon Anderson and Bill Bruford.

Anderson sings on only two tracks, the opening "Roundabout", and "I've seen all good people". "Roundabout" is a pretty faithful rendition, with Howe repeating his guitar sections with little deviation. The keyboards parts are replaced by the orchestra in true "YesSymphonic" style. "Your move" is completely absent from "All good people", with only the repetitive second section being used. Anderson is joined by the London Community Gospel Choir for this gospel tinged version. Unfortunately, Anderson tends to rather dominate the mix, to the exclusion of the choir.

All the sections of "Close to the edge" are used, but each is pared down significantly. For such a familiar piece, this can initially be quite disconcerting. The version here is entirely instrumental, with the orchestra taking the vocal melody in true orchestral rock fashion. "Owner of a lonely heart", "Heart Of The Sunrise", "Soon", and "Starship Trooper" are all presented in a similar way. "Owner of a lonely heart" is interesting, as the guitar is the dominant instrument, Steve Howe offering his own interpretation of Trevor Rabin's composition. On "Soon", Howe speaks briefly at the start of the track, reciting a line from elsewhere in "Gates of Delirium".

Two tracks feature The English Chamber Orchestra in place of The London Philharmonic Orchestra. "Mood for a day" features Howe's (the only Yes man to appear on all the tracks) familiar guitar recital, but his piece is transformed by some highly effective orchestration. "Survival" is for me the most successful track. The melody of the verses is played by solo violin or flute, with the chorus section being sung by the London Community Gospel Choir, this time without Anderson. The result is a truly moving rendition of this early Yes classic.

In all, some very pleasant and imaginative interpretations of familiar pieces. Some are more successful than others, but as a package, worthy of investigation by those who enjoy the music of Yes.

Footnote, Alan Parsons engineered and produced the orchestral sections.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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