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Magenta - The White Witch - A Symphonic Trilogy CD (album) cover




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4 stars Revolutions...Revisited

Cinematic Sizzle

Rob Reed and MAGENTA present their tenth studio album, a re-imagining of a segment from their debut release "Revolutions" from twenty two years ago. Entitled "The White Witch- A Symphonic Trilogy", it's almost an apples-and- oranges comparison of the two.

That is, the original segment that inspires this album is a progressive rock tour de force with all the majesty and pomp and bombast one could ask. Whereas this album features the multi-dimensional maestro Rob Reed writing what strikes me as a modern "pops" classical work, utilizing core MAGENTA members, vocalist Christina Murphy Booth, and guitarist Chris Fry, with hautboyist Sam Baxster, and flautist Katie Axelsen, plus the narration of the venerable Les Penning. Reed then, I assume, uses a great deal of virtual instrumentation to develop the symphonic sounds that take me back to what for me are the roots of my love for progressive rock music.


That is to say that when my parents were introduced to classical music through the influences of fellow faculty members of the tiny two-year college in a tiny town in south-central Kansas where both worked, I was inadvertently steeped in the same music practically from the time I was in diapers.

And it was no stretch to become enamored with progressive rock, which drew heavily on the styles and richness and depths of those classical works.

I couldn't help but think that Rob Reed too was steeped in these works, and "The White Witch" certainly reflects his love of the classical plus his cinematic work even from before MAGENTA, and ongoing.

Three Movements

In "Revolutions", there were four parts plus a brief overture, whereas in this one, the story arc is carried through three movements, "Sacrifice", "Retribution", and "Survival". Summarized, it has to do with Sara, a born healer and helper, who in plague-stricken 17th century England, was seen as a blasphemer and devil-worshiper, burned at stake, wanting only to be a loving, healing, helping presence.

Rob utilizes a great deal of symphonic texture and nuance from dead silence (all too rare in some music) to spine- tingling full-bore symphonic splendor.

Live instruments are interwoven in lovely fashion, and Chris Fry's classical guitar is often highlighted.


Christina's vocals are an education in timbre and tone and in being germane to the requirements of the music. Whereas in the original work there were often harder-edged and harmony vocals, in this, she carries the entire weight. It is beautifully done, expressive, ranging from tragic wistfulness to passionate entreaty.


For me the success of this album lies in how it evokes images and ideas to go along with the music- for instance while listening I could imagine a ballerina interpreting the pathos and sweep of the piece. Or a full-bore choir adding power and depth to the music. Or as has been suggested, an actual cinema presentation- one may be forthcoming.

My Conclusions

Quite a power-house, basing this masterful work upon a progressive rock tour de force, and making it as lush and gripping and evocative as one could imagine.

My Rating

A solid four stars, an "excellent addition to any progressive rock music collection".

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Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2023 | Review Permalink

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