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Rick Wakeman - The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table CD (album) cover

THE MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF KING ARTHUR AND THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE

Rick Wakeman

 

Symphonic Prog

3.57 | 347 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A TRUE MASTERPIECE CLASSIC PROG ALBUM

Who so pulled out this sword from this stone and anvil, is the true-born King of all Britain .. JRENG!

Oh man . I know that some of you may disagree with me but I really apologize that I have to stand still with my conviction that this album was (and is still until today) a masterpiece. One thing for sure, I cannot lie to myself that this album has a very special place for me as it did show me how great music has great impact to me because in a way this album has helped energize my days in my life. Am not trying to be melancholic but I'm expressing my true-being as a victim (thankfully) of great (prog) music! If you ask me what is lacking on this album I'm not in a position to answer as every single thing here is marvelous and I'm not exaggerating. I'm sure that this opinion differs significantly with you and we may be in the different poles. If that is the case, please ignore this review. As for my case, it's a joy reviewing this album and I don't know where I can't stop it because I'm now also playing the CD (signed personally by Rick Wakeman and Tony Fernandez when they did a concert in Jakarta, February 2002) while punching my fingers on my laptop. This is the beauty of reviewing the album that I really love ..

This album was my third experience with Rick's album having listened to "The Six Wives" and "Journey" and the opening track King Arthur really blew me away at first listen. I had no difficulty at all digesting this album as I had been familiar with Rick's previous work. I did even cover King Arthur in our school band's performance where I looked after guitar and lead vocal (what a shame thing, I was trying to emulate Ashley Holt! Who cares? No one knew what Rick's music was except a small number of my rock- mates). So, how can I easily forget this album? Of course I will never do that. Especially if I read the story behind the making of this album as explained in Rick's perspective.

Rick's Perspective: "This is in many ways a musical autobiography. Much was written in my head whilst lying in Wexham Park Hospital after my first minor heart attack. The Last Battle I wrote after being advised by the specialist, in front of my management, that he recommended I stopped playing and retired in order to give myself a chance of a reasonable recovery. I was 25. Thankfully I ignored the advice, wrote The Last Battle that night, and carried on. Heart surgery has come a long way since the mid seventies as well thankfully!" (source: www.rwcc.com)

And this is my personal view about this album:

Arthur (7' 26" ) opens the album with excellent and memorable narration by Terry Taplin: "Who so pulled out this sword from this stone and anvil, is the true-born King of all Britain .." Followed with timpani sounds and the blast of orchestration in an uplifting mood. It's a great opening and it's like watching a colossal movie with dts technology. The music then flows with a combination of keyboard and orchestra at the back, augmented with guitar work. The music slows down to welcome the vocal line and the keyboard turns into a clavinet sounds. As the song builds up with lyrical passages, the keyboard effects and orchestration enrich the song textures. It's a beautiful melody track with excellent combination of keyboard solo, orchestration and choral section. "Arthur is the king of all this land ."

The next track Lady of the Lake (0' 45") is a choirs section that serves as a break to the piano / keyboard intro of the next melodic track Guinevere (6' 45"). For me, this track is like an emotional break having listened to grandiose orchestral work of Arthur. Structure-wise, this track is simple and even straight forward. The key attraction points of this track is its strong melody, good acoustic guitar rhythm, excellent keyboard solo (in the middle of the track) and great chorus by Ashley Holt and Gary Pickford Hopkins. The guitar solo is also stunning and has become a great part of the overall song.

Sir Lancelot and the Black Knight (5' 20") starts off with a great string arrangements, timpani and brass section followed with energetic choirs and Roger Newell solid bass lines and high register notes voice line. The music has variation of high and low points augmented with choirs section. Rick's synthesizer works overlay the orchestration which starts simple and turns into a complex s one when Rick performs his keyboard improvisations. As the track has many tempo changes, the transition into quieter passages are filled with a combination of piano, guitar and string section. I especially like when the vocal performs the high point segments and the orchestra dynamically follows the melody. It's a masterpiece!

Merlin The Magician (8' 51") is an excellent instrumental track that has been Rick's favorite in live performance because most of the crowd like it very much, I think. It opens with a repetition of "Lady of The Lake" and continues with a floating keyboard and solid bass lines as song opener. As the music builds up into crescendo, string orchestra enters the music and brings the music steadily to first part of piano solo with soft rhythm section. The music moves up firmly with dazzling synthesizer solo that characterizes this song. Despite wonderful keyboard improvisations, what I also love about this track is the rhythm section with simple bass lines. This track is probably the most diverse one as compared others in the album as it blends perfectly various music styles: classical, rock, country (?) - yes, on some transition pieces. As a result, it creates highest emotional impact to the listener - at least for me.

Sir Galahad (5' 51") is another wonderful track that combines nice melody, choirs, vocal, excellent orchestra and keyboard / piano solo. It's composed combining a high energy section with choirs section and slower tempo parts. The keyboard fills at the back during the main vocal and choirs section work together. The transition piece is melodic combining duo vocals followed with high energy orchestra. I also like when the choirs take main role as melody combined with synthesizer fills. The ending point of this track creates good musical peak. This track should be enjoyed with the next and last track The Last Battle (9' 41"). As you may have read at above that this track was written when Rick was hospitalized and being told that he should stop composing. This track summarizes the whole album by (at the end of the track) incorporating excerpts of previous tracks. It's a great track.

Summary

What is the best way to suggest you if the above represents my personal views? Tough. Let me put it this way: if you do enjoy a combination of orchestra and electronic equipment with rock elements, this album would probably fit you. If you like Yes, I don't think it guarantees that you would automatically like this one as well because it's different. I would say that those who like orchestra music would accept this album. For me, it's a masterpiece. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours,

GW

Gatot | 5/5 |

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