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Procol Harum - In Concert With The Danish National Concert Orchestra And Choir CD (album) cover


Procol Harum


Crossover Prog

4.06 | 27 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Worthy successor to Procol Harum's live in concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, 35 years on

Procol Harum's concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 1972 represents one of the finest amalgamations of rock music with a symphony orchestra and featured the glorious rock suite, 'In Held Twas In I' which influenced a host of progressive bands and was said by Pete Townshend to lay the groundwork for his rock opera, 'Tommy'. This effort 35 years on at Ledreborg Castle in Denmark in August in 2006 doesn't feature this famous rock suite, so I guess it's hardly surprising that since the album's release in 2009 there hasn't been a single review of the work on Progarchives. So what's to recommend this live album to fans of Prog rock? It has some of the poppiest musical arrangements of any rock album I've ever listened to. Apart from 'Symphony for the Hard of Hearing' from a Gary Brooker solo album in 1982 (which I had never heard of before now), PH's most famous songs are all here, including Grand Hotel, A Whiter Shade of Pale and Conquistador and all get the full orchestral makeover. The large choir of the Danish National Orchestra (as opposed to the smaller group of Da Camera singers of the earlier Edmonton work), threatens at times to overwhelm the music. One instance of this is when the choir breaks out into Latin singing the intro to Salty Dog. The intro to Homburg is particularly over the top, with violins, harps and choir producing a sound more akin to a Rogers & Hammerstein musical (or Andrew Lloyd Weber musical) than a Procol Harum concert. My favourite PH song, 'Whaling Stories', is also missing from the CD, but included on the DVD. That features the sounds of an anvil on the stage according to the liner notes of the CD. Why Whaling Stories couldn't be included on the CD when the CD is only about 53 minutes long, I don't know? Now having got all the negatives out the way, it's time to state some of the positives about this album. When most singers' voices have declined with age, Gary Brooker's raspy Blues style singing voice is as good as it's ever been. The sound quality of this album is so good you can hear each section of the symphony orchestra as clearly as the rock instruments on stage, including the piano, guitars and Hammond organ. The orchestra is never background, but fully integrated into the sounds of the rock music, as its Edmonton predecessor was. Surprisingly the big orchestral arrangement of the Homburg song, which will turn many people off here, actually works with me. The brass entry and with it a subtle time change which leads into the second verse of the song, beginning with the words, 'Town clock in the market square??' gave me a real emotional buzz and compares with some of the best hooks that artists like John Lennon, Brian Wilson and Ray Davies, achieve in their song writing. 'Symphony for the Hard of Hearing', from Brooker's solo album, 'Lead Me to the Water' is a 7 minute epic which begins with a beautiful piano passage accompanied by the large choir, soars in the middle with the brassy rock n roll rhythm (and everything thrown in besides including the Hammond organ and drums) and finishes with a guitar flourish. 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' which Brooker must have sung hundreds of times, might not sound so fresh now, but benefits from the baroque playing of the violins of the Danish National Orchestra. In summary, this is a great recording of a unique concert experience for the people lucky enough to attend the concert, but whether the music will appeal to the tastes of the Prog Rock audience here, with the large orchestra and choir and pop approach to the songs, is debatable.

iluvmarillion | 3/5 |


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