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Rick Wakeman - Classical Variations CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman

Symphonic Prog

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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Handel with care

Firstly, a word of caution. This is a piano album. That is all there is, grand piano. No synths, mellotrons, organs, etc.

This was in fact Rick's final album in his solo piano phase, and the one he feels was perhaps his most successful. Here, he takes ten classical pieces by famous composers and adds his own flavours to them.

Wakeman's abilities as a musician are beyond dispute. He is equally skilled at composing, interpreting and performing. Here it is primarily his interpretation skills which are on show. He adds his own character to each piece through embellishments and variations, while always retaining the mood and beauty of each composition. The album therefore has a very relaxed, comforting atmosphere, the listener being invited to recognise each piece through its main theme.

There is no thumping of the keyboard here, all the selected pieces retain the same reflective mood, the album being one for peaceful relaxation rather than attentive listening or dancing in the aisles. Many of the melodies will be familiar, either in their original form, or as themes from advertisements, pop songs etc. The opening "Pathetique" (Beethoven) for example was used by Billy Joel on his song "This night".

In all, an album for a certain mood or situation. Played at the right time, this is a sensitive and rewarding listen.

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Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink

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