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Rick Wakeman - The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman

Symphonic Prog

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5 stars Here it is. Rick Wakeman's grandest musical effort to date.

As if the original album wasn't great enough, Wakeman's ambition is now channeled through much more prepared performers (and neatly, the original singer returned here with a more experienced take after 41 years).

Everything sounds more balanced, it's better mixed, it's more refined and the orchestra is tight in response with the rest. I also respect that the instrumentation itself remained unchanged for the most part to preserve the 70's vision.

The grandiosity of King Arthur could not be contained in a single disc, hence why Rick decided to record every single track he had originally planned for the first release, doubling the album's length into a truly epic prog opera-like masterpiece.

There is a very clever use of leitmotifs throughout the story, which helps to picture what characters are involved in the situation. Composition-wise, not a lot of rock composers come close to the level of refinement Rick Wakeman possesses. It's clear he had a classical background beforehand and uses this knowledge with care without necessarly leaning too much into a single genre, as yes, the album blends many of them flawlessly.

I won't go into details for every piece as there are quite a lot and as I am myself a composer with a rigorously-trained ear, my analysis tends to become quite elongated and I tend to get too in-depth.

All I will say is that "The Last Battle"'s segment after the final speech always sends me chills and I sometimes tear up a bit every time I hear it. Dare I say even my father who is an ancient music specialist and professional baroque/classical performer agrees that it is a "giant and impressive work of art".

Bravo Wakeman.

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Posted Thursday, January 19, 2023 | Review Permalink

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