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The Nice - Five Bridges Suite CD (album) cover


The Nice


Symphonic Prog

3.48 | 99 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

1967/ 1976
4 stars The work was commissioned for the Newcastle Arts Festival and premiered with a full orchestra conducted by Joseph Eger on October 10, 1969 (the recorded version is from October 17 in Croydon's Fairfield Halls). The title refers to the city's five bridges spanning the River Tyne (two more have since been built over the river), and the album cover features an image of the Tyne Bridge.

Now I have to say that "Five Bridges" was one of the first prog albums I've heard and that, soon after, entered in my discography. Important is the fact that "Five Bridges" for me is all that I seek in Prog: technique, feeling, magic, intricate musica and great musicians. So I consider "Five Bridges" a small masterpiece. That certainly is not perfect. By the way, the strings sound a little outdated, because they are too disconnected from parts of the Rock band. This is really impossible to notice because it is so obvious even a defect in the group and orchestra compositions that to Jon Lord wrote in the same period for Deep Purple. What is surprising is that the parts of the rock band are so ripe (and near ELP) that still sound full of power, magic and feeling. However, although there is a part of Jazz in this suite, Rock parts are more linear than those of ELP. The 2nd side start with "Intermezzo 'Karelia Suite'" by Sibelius (studio version is on "Ars Longa Vita Brevis"). This live version is great: than the studio version sounds more raw, and for this reason, more engaging. Besides, this version of "Intermezzo" is distorted, becoming a Jam Session. Now... "Pathetique (Symphony no. 6 3rd movement)" by Tchaikowsky ((Emerson obviously has a penchant for Russian musicians) is the masterpiece of the mix between Rock group and orchestra because in this case the integration between Rock group and orchestra is perfect. Although "Pathetique" is already a little gem "Country Pie/ Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 (a medley Between Dylan and Bach) is the perfection of Emerson's style. This medley is the most outgoing Rock from the mind of Keith Emerson (even if only as an arrangement) and is no longer surprising that Emerson arrived at these levels, even rearranging pieces of classical music, in future. "One Of Those People" close "Five Bridges" and it is the only studio track of the album but sure not a memorable song.

CD version of "Five Bridges" present 5 bonus tracks, "The Thoughts Of Emmerlist Davjack" (probably the best song penned by Keith Emerson... Also if not Prog) and "America" are the most famous songs between the bonus tracks. But great is also "Flower King Of Flies".

In conclusion, recalling the "Five Bridges" is an album important to me, I can only recommend buying this album also if it is not a masterpiece. But that in music history is very important.

1967/ 1976 | 4/5 |


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