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Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Beethoven's Last Night CD (album) cover

BEETHOVEN'S LAST NIGHT

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

 

Crossover Prog

3.67 | 91 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars This is the third CD by an organisation (I think the word band probably doesn't fit this situation) that I have never heard of, who have managed to sell over 1.5 million albums to date. TSO are the brainchild of Savatage front man Jon Oliva, along with composer/producer Paul O'Neill and classical composer/conductor Robert Kinkel. They take classical ideas then fuse these with rock to bring out rock operas on a huge scale. The idea has been so popular that last year two versions of the band were on the road at the same time to satisfy demand. The rest of Savatage lay claim to most of the rock sections, while members of the New York Philharmonic are also in evidence.

The story here is that of Beethoven's last night on earth when he is being tempted by the devil and the decisions he has to take. There are twenty-two sections, and this much more about being a full modern rock opera than just an album. It starts with a delicate rendition of the introduction of 'The Moonlight Sonata' before becoming much more reminiscent of Savatage in flight. In many ways this seems to be to be a logical progression from "Gutter Ballet", although here the orchestral passages and dynamics are much more in evidence.

But as this is an opera does it work as a piece of music? Yes, dramatically so. As well as being original pieces, the fusing together of some of Beethoven's best loved pieces does give it both class and also at the same time a sense of surprise, a wondering about what is going to happen next. This is an album that cannot be played in the background, but rather is one that should be listened to intently (with the booklet close to hand) to gain the most from. Yes I liked this a lot, now all I have to do is search out the earlier albums where they brought in Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky.

Originally appeared in Feedback #67, Apr 02

kev rowland | 4/5 |

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