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Jon Lord Sarabande album cover
3.84 | 103 ratings | 9 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Fantasia (3:32)
2. Sarabande (7:25)
3. Aria (3:48)
4. Gigue (11:10)
5. Bouree (11:07)
6. Pavane (7:45)
7. Caprice (3:13)
8. Finale (2:04)

Total Time 50:04

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Lord / Hammond, RMI piano, Steinway & Yamaha grand pianos, clavinet, synths (ARP Odyssey, Pro Soloist, String Ensemble), composer & co-producer

- The Philharmonia Hungarica / orchestra
- Eberhard Schoener / orchestral conductor
- Andy Summers / electric & classical guitars
- Paul Karas / bass
- Mark Nauseef / percussion
- Pete York / drums, gong, sleigh bells, shaker

Releases information

Artwork: Michael Bryan

LP Purple Records ‎- TPSA 7516 (1976, UK)
LP Line Records ‎- OLLP 5332 (1983, Germany)

CD Line Records ‎- LICD 9.00124 O (1987, Germany)
CD Purple Records ‎- PUR 305 (1999, UK) Remastered (?)

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JON LORD Sarabande ratings distribution

(103 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JON LORD Sarabande reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars Whatever you want to say about Jon Lord’s discography, there can be little argument that this particular album is pure symphonic rock. On the symphonic side is the Philharmonica Hungarica Orchestra, conducted by Eberhard Schoener. On the rock side are Lord, Police guitarist Andy Summers, and Spencer Davis Group drummer Pete York. And just to spice things up, former elf drummer and world-music percussionist Mark Nauseef adds his appreciable talents as well.

This album was recorded over just three days in Germany late in 1975, and was released by (big surprise) Deep Purple Records ltd. The entire album was composed and scored by Lord.

This is an all instrumental album, and frankly I can’t imagine any vocalist could have added anything to it anyway. Apparently a sarabande is a triple metre slow dance that originated somewhere in Latin America, and was later adopted as a movement in Baroque-era suites. In those days the slow tempo and suggestive metre was considered somewhat obscene. And no, I did not know this – I looked it up, so if that’s incorrect please disregard. Another big surprise (not!), Debussy and Monteverdi were both fond of this musical style and incorporated it into their music a hundred years or so later. Now I’m not a musician, or even an expert on music history, but I do believe that there is a connection between this suggestive style of dance music in Baroque suites, and the contradanza in Ravel’s ‘Boléro’, also from the Baroque era. That was also considered a suggestive and obscene ballet score. And the slow, building ¾ dance timbre that builds to a maddening crescendo in that work has been repeated ad nausea in modern progressive and post-rock by bands like Jefferson Airplane, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and even ELP. So I guess this work has some historical significance.

But these tracks don’t get me as worked up as either ‘Boléro’ or the Godspeed albums. Today they mostly sound like energetic classical music conducted by an orchestra, which is of course exactly what they are. Lord adds plenty of embellishment on all manner of keyboards, including grand piano, ARP, a Hammond, and string synths. Summers really doesn’t add a whole lot to the mix, although he manages a bit of almost flamenco acoustic picking on “Bource” (a little difficult to separate from the keyboards), and cuts loose just a bit on the percussion-frenzied “Caprice”.

The rest of the tracks are serious symphonic stuff, with the exception of “Pavane”, which combines acoustic guitar, piano, and only a mild accompaniment of strings.

This is not a rock album, and it is not anything like you would expect if the only Jon Lord you’ve ever heard is his work wit Deep Purple. But this is one of the albums that earned him the progressive label, and combines with ‘Windows’ and ‘Gemini Suite’ to provide the most conclusive argument that the title is legitimate.

Lord has managed to wander off on different paths during his long solo career, but before he started down those many roads he delivered this archetype symphonic rock gem for us to enjoy, perhaps just to prove he could. A 4.5 effort, technically perfect and engaging, but just a tiny bit shy of essential. Highly recommended for symphonic rock fans, as well as fans of exquisite piano and acoustic guitar.


Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A memorable classic symphonic prog album .

When I first listened to this album by Jon Lord, I was surprised with the fact that Jon made an album that was totally different in style and approach from whan I had known him couple of years before through his tenure with Deep Purple. By that time I was listening to albums like Led Zeppelin "Physical Graffiti", Deep Purple "Burn", "Made In Japan", "Machine Head", Jethro Tull "War Child" "Aqualung" and having "Sarabande" in one of the play list albums was a kind of break from normal undertaking on classic rock albums. Of course, by that time I also knew Depp Purple's "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" but "Sarabande" for me was much more accessible musically - that's why I frequently spun the Perina cassette of "Sarabande" more than "Concerto for Group and Orchestra". I also love Jon's "Windows" album which local cassette maker in Bandung, Yess, labelled the cassette with "When Rock Meets Classic" - that might be my first introduction on the marriage of rock and classical music.

Knowing that this album was composed and scored by Jon Lord and was recorded in only couple of days that's enough to conclude that Jon Lord is really a very talented musician. I finally got the CD version in 2001 issued under license to Eagle. One of the things that I love is about the inclusion of a 12-page sleeve notes describing Jon Lord and Sarabande album. Through this album he successfully gathered professional musicians under Philharmonica Hungarica Orchestra (conducted by Eberhard Schoener), percussionist Mark Nauseff whom I knew contributed also to Ian Gillan Band's "Child In Time", guitarist Andy Summers whom later I knew as member of rock new wave trio The Police, and Pete York on drums. In fact, Eberhard Schoener solo albums were progressive in style and must be added into this site - one of them that I know quite well is "Bali Agung" which features "Kecak Rock". Kecak is a Balinese dance which is very famous in Bali, Indonesia.

Musically, this album is really heavy with classical music content while Jon had creatively inserted rock components into the music. The opening track "Fantasia" demonstrates clearly the classic symphony nature of the music where the track serves as an overture to the whole album. It is structured in three sections with grandiose orchestra. What follows is an attractive composition, the title track "Sarabande". I believe any human beings would love this song - whether he likes or not rock music or general music. It's simply composed in a way that melody and beats are combined beautifully in multi structure sections through out the song. Another great offering this album has is the fifth track "Bouree" which is similar in style with "Sarabande" i.e. in dance beats in eastern nuance. Through "Bouree" Jon combines the work of violin and keyboard / Hammond solo beautifully and all of them are laid down wonderfully in music structure that has a very nice flow. There are quite balance solos performed during this track. Other tracks are excellent as well like "Aria", "Gigue", "Pavane" etc. I think this album is the best out of all albums ever made by Jon Lord. For detailed analysis and review of each song, you can read completely in the CD sleeve notes, written by Vince Budd.

Overall, this is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED album for those who like Jon Lord and symphonic rock. I don't think it's wise owning legendary albums by legendary bands but missing this great album by Jon Lord. You definitely must have it. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A crash of orchestra and cymbals opens this huge work, one of a small number of genuine symphonic constructions by a rock musician. Composed partly in the form of a traditional baroque dance suite, 'Sarabande' was a touch more than just another pet project by a self-involved and misled rocker. Keyboardist Jon Lord had been working toward this his whole career. The title piece is strong, with a cool bass line and Lord's infectious synth, built up with masses of horns, strings, and percussion shifting from Latin moves and sweeping winds to jazzy and romantic encounters. This is *orchestral* rock more than it is *symphonic*, and the record is bold even for 1976, betraying little of Lord's purple past. In the 11-minute 'Guige' we hear remnants of Dave Brubeck's proto-fusion and even Bo Hansson's distant impact, as instruments talk to each other in spirited conversation. The second half grooves smoothly into hip street rhythms, Arabian sand storms, Eastern treasure and T.E. Lawrence. 'Caprice' is first-rate syn-phonic rock sewn into a fascinating quilt of opera, pomp and circumstance and is benefitted by Eberhard Schoener's firm conducting.

Along with other beloved and bemocked prog/classical excesses like Rick Wakeman's 'Journey to the Center of the Earth', the Nice's 'Five Bridges Suite' and Mahavishnu's 'Apocalypse', Jon Lord's opus holds much quality music and is among a handful of records representing all that was both marvelous and maddening about that indulgent era. What a glorious time.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Baroque and roll

Following his live 1974 release "Windows", Jon Lord decided that his next album should benefit from the production and engineering facilities available in a studio. He put together a small band of whom only Pete York had played on the previous album, the most notable of the newcomers (from a fame perspective at least) being Andy Summers, later of the Police, on guitar. An orchestra is once again deployed; this time we have the Philharmonica Hungarica Orchestra conducted by Eberhard Schoener.

To understand the motivation behind "Sarabande", we need go no further than Jon's own words: "(it is) that of a baroque dance suite; a form of music which was brought to its highest level by Bach. The title of each track is the name of a dance used in one of those dance suites and I have tried to use the same tempo and feel as an original Sarabande, Gigue etc." The music is therefore written by Lord himself, but he makes his inspiration clear. Ask a music expert though and they will tell you that Lord's lofty pretensions are at times suspect, the "Fantasia" and "finale" here having little to do with baroque, while several recognised baroque dances are overlooked.

The "Fantasia" is actually just that, a fanfare to introduce the album; it quickly leads into the 7 minute title piece. "Sarabande" signals that this will be no "Windows" part 2, the composition and performance both being much tighter. The synthesiser sounds explored by Lord may seem prosaic now, but at the time they would still have been pleasingly new and modern. The synth counterpoints well with the lead guitar of Andy Summers throughout the piece while the orchestra is effectively used as an alternative lead instrument.

"Aria" is a delicate piano and synthesiser duet, it's theme sounding simultaneously familiar yet refreshingly new. The two longest pieces on the album are "Gigue" and "Bouree", both of which run to 11 minutes. "Gigue" would make for a great piece of soundtrack music for a horseback chase in a western or a road movie. Summers is allowed to show his under- appreciated talents on lead guitar while Lord displays his more familiar dexterity on organ. Once again, for no explicable reason, a drum solo by Pete York is again inflicted upon us.

North African desert sounds and styles come to the fore on "Bouree", the soundtrack theme moving straight into "Lawrence of Arabia" (or maybe "Carry on, follow that camel"!) before the gentle "Pavane" restores a more serene order. Once again, Summers shows how his abilities were suppressed during his subsequent career, as he moves to classical guitar. "Caprice" wakes us up again with a start as it dives head first into the most spirited part of the album. It is all over in 3 minutes, making it the obvious choice for a single release. ("Bouree"/"Aria" was in fact the only single release). The album concludes with a brief "Finale" which seems like the album played all over again in 2 minutes.

In all, the general observation that this is Lord's finest solo work from the 1970's gets my vote too. This quasi-classical work finds him blending that style with rock better than any of his other attempts.

Chronologically, "Sarabande" finds Lord dealing with the departure of Ritchie Blackmore from Deep Purple after the "Stormbringer" tour, and preparing to record the band's first and only album with Tommy Bolin. "Sarabande" was actually released after "Come taste the band" by which time it seemed that Deep Purple had run their course.

This would be Lord's last solo album for several years, Jon preffering to work on projects both within and outside Deep Purple. It would also be his last album of this type (i.e. with a full orchestra).

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Praise the lord (with moderation!)

During the period from the late 60's to the mid 70's, Jon Lord was very much interested in fusing Classical music with Rock. 1976's Sarabande album was the very culmination of that interest and most probably the most successful of his works in this style (I must admit that I have not heard them all, hence the 'probably'). I would say that this is about 80 - 85% Classical music and about 15 - 20% Rock music. In stark contrast to Concerto For Group And Orchestra, the Rock elements are perfectly blended into the overall mix of Sarabande. While Concerto For Group And Orchestra sounded more like a battle of group against orchestra rather than any kind of interesting fusion of Rock and Classical music, Sarabande achieves the goal of actually fusing the different styles together (even if the Classical elements dominate things). Maybe Lord himself also thought that he had achieved his goals with this album since this was the last album he ever did in that style.

The Rock elements consist of drums, occasional electric and acoustic guitars, bass and a quite interesting array of different keyboards including Hammond organ (obviously!), acoustic and electric piano and some different synthesisers. While Lord is most known for his Hammond playing, he did use synthesisers during the latter half of the 70's and occasionally in the 80's both with Deep Purple and on outside projects. However, from the 90's onwards he went back to his roots and played only Hammond and piano like he did in the 60's and early 70's. Maybe the presence of synthesisers is what has made Prog fans like this album so much? Or maybe it is the memorable melodies? Anyway, I think that this is worth listening to, but it is by no means essential.

Review by Menswear
4 stars Do not judge a book by it's cover.

Despite a craptacular art cover (creepy mustachioed exhibitionist or something) this album is a total keeper for the orchestra-keyboard-marriage lover that I am. I went around the block many times over, re-listening to the same old records and trying to discover some new material. I even went to the newcomers, unfortunately, nothing new to the horizon, just the same old flash in the pan: boom bang goes the drums, duhduh duhduh goes the bass and nini nini on the keys...yawn.

Finally Jon Lord arrived (too late) in my life, without Ritchie Blackmore this time. Frankly, this is a balm to me. On the contrary of ELP, Trace or Par Lindh Project, Jon Lord takes his time and does not focus on 'Hey Mom! Look what I can do!' attitude. He is not showing off; should he a bit more? If you like Triumvirat or Rick Wakeman, this could grind your gears (useless drum solo in Gigue, bongos, little keyboard diversity and humble technique). On the other hand, if you're a keyboard driven veteran, you could appreciate the modesty and the exotic/ modern music tangent of the album. The orchestral arrangements are nice and catchy, many times I surprise myself to air-maestro. Jokes on the side, the orchestra is very well melted in the songs: bombastic when needed and emotional as well.

Why this album is not in everyone's collection? Is it because it's on the simpler side of prog? Hey, a guy needs a bleeping break once in a while and Sarabande is a perfect soundtrack to chill out in your chair with a book and a pint of Harp lager.

Dedicated to the Raiders of the Lost ARP.

Review by Matti
3 stars When the progressive, or symphonic, prog was a new thing, ie. in the late 60's and the early 70's, several musicians combined the worlds of orchestral music and rock. To a varying results, of course. Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra (1970) is among the most ambitious of those early works, but it left me with an impression that the two elements didn't function together very well. (The Moody Blues' classic and lovely album Days of Future Passed from 1967 deserves a mention, although the pop group's song performances and the orchestral extensions/interludes were in the end two rather separate entities.)

In the case of Deep Purple, the father of the project was the band's organist Jon Lord. Later on his role in Purple became somewhat smaller as guitarist Ritchie Blackmore became more recognized figure. Lord continued his literally symphonic adventures as a solo artist, debuting with the pretentious Gemini Suite (1972). The next, Bach- inspired album Windows (1974) was a collaboration with composer Eberhard Schoener, who is conducting the orchestra on this album too.

Sarabande functions better as a whole than its precursors. As the track titles reveal, the album was influenced and inspired by the dance forms of Baroque music. Lord tried to maintain the tempo and mood of each form even though the end result goes rather far from the Baroque per se. Anyway, it becomes clear at once that the rock and classical elements mingle much more naturally than on the DP Concerto. Here and there the album reminds me of the more recent crossover projects -- in good and in bad. For example 'Bouree' makes me think of my countryman Anssi Tikanmäki. In its 11 minutes it is slightly too long, but finds more energy in the end.

After two pompous pieces comes 'Aria' which centers on romantic piano and thus resembles The Enid. 'Gigue' has a lively Rick Wakeman vibe on the keys, but its extended drum solo in the end is very unnecessary. My favourite is definitely 'Pavane', in which the sensual string section is joined by classical guitar (Andy Summers before his time in The Police!) and softly played piano. Faster pieces like 'Caprice' and 'Finale' are farther in spirit from art music.

Sarabande is a fine example of orchestral, instrumental prog rooted in classical (Baroque) music. My personal enjoyment however remains on the medium three-star level.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Many consider Sarabande to be the most successful of Jon Lord's experiments to combine an orchestra and rock band. In spite of Lord's hard rock credentials, do not go in expecting a symphonic metal album. As the song titles suggest, the focus is on classical music rather than rock, with the songs ... (read more)

Report this review (#1471806) | Posted by Replayer | Friday, October 2, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A very good album, though often overlooked (just take a look at the amount of ratings). If you have ever sought for an album where classical music and rock really merge into another (with stress on classical music) you should give this one a try. 8 very good tracks, pleasant to hear, though some ... (read more)

Report this review (#168222) | Posted by strayfromatlantis | Sunday, April 20, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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