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Rick Wakeman - The Classical Connection 2 CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman

Symphonic Prog

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3 stars This album is a selection of arranged rock songs from WAKEMAN's previous albums composed by him except "Eleanor Rigby" by LENNON and McCARTNEY, "Summertime" by GERSHWIN and "Farandol" which is traditional. Quite virtuous and brilliant keyboard performance, accompanied by bass and guitar on a few pieces. There are more diverse keyboard sounds than in "The Classical Connection".
Report this review (#27534)
Posted Saturday, July 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Includes the seventh wife!

This was something of a stopgap release, designed to support Wakeman's continued "Classical connections" tour. Whereas the first album of that name had a general coherence, CC2 is something of a hotchpotch The majority of the tracks are re-workings of pieces from Wakeman's previous albums, but there also three cover versions. Since Wakeman does not indulge in covers too often, these alone make the album more interesting than it might otherwise have been.

The covers in question are:

- the Beatles classic "Eleanor Rigby" (apparently performed in the style of Wakeman's favourite composer, Prokofiev). This is an imaginative and exciting interpretation, with classical guitar and keyboards complementing each other well. While the original melody is clearly discernible, Wakeman develops the theme superbly. A great opening track.

- Gershwin's "Summertime", captures the relaxed mood of the piece, through a jazz based interpretation. Both this and "Eleanor Rigby" are live recordings.

- The recording of the traditional "Farandol" included here is Wakeman's original version from in 1971. It was recorded as part of the "Six Wives" sessions. Yes fans will be interested to know that the line up on this track (only) includes Bruford, Squire and Howe. The track has strong similarities with the works which were on the finished album.

Of the other tracks, the numerous solo piano and other keyboards tracks are new recordings of some of Wakeman's compositions from previous albums. The rather uninspired nature of the performances tend to lead to them sounding overly familiar. "Dancing in heaven" reminds me a bit of Albinoni's "Adagio", while "MacIntosh" has a similar melody to Nancy Griffith's "Gulf coast highway".

In all, while the feature tracks make this collection worthy of investigation, there is just too much padding for it to be considered by any means essential.

Report this review (#38667)
Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars The musical curriculum vitae from keyboard virtuoso Rick Wakeman is both impressive as whimsical, some albums are refused by second-hand record shops because they won't sell (no names!). After a turbulent life with alcohol abuse, several divorces and megalomaniac behavior, Rick Wakeman has turned into a decent and loving father, peacefully living between his beloved wife, children and lots of animals on The Isle Of Man. The music on this album is in the vein of this pleasant and balanced life. Wakeman delivers his marvellous acoustic pianoplay but he is playing more electronic instruments than on Classical Connection I. This evokes the 'polished classic progrock' from Sky (in "Art", "Soul" and the strong "Opus") but also Trace in "Farandol" (from Bizet) featuring Bill Bruford, Chris Squire and Steve Howe (on acoustic guitar). My highlight is the version from The Beatles their known piece "Eleanor Rigby": lots of varietion and great guitarplay by David Paton along bombastic keyboards from Rick Wakeman. A more varied and exciting album than Classical Connection I.
Report this review (#49811)
Posted Monday, October 3, 2005 | Review Permalink

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