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Rick Wakeman

Symphonic Prog

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Rick Wakeman Lisztomania (OST) album cover
2.58 | 147 ratings | 7 reviews | 5% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Rienzi / Chopsticks Fantasia (4:20)
2. Love's Dream (4:25)
3. Dante Period (2:05)
4. Orpheus Song (3:10)
5. Hell (1:59)
6. Hibernation (1:11)
7. Excelsior Song (2:32)
8. Master Race (0:45)
9. Rape, Pillage & Clap (3:09)
10. Funerailles (3:48)
11. Free Song (Hungarian Rhapsody) (1:57)
12. Peace At Last (2:59)

Total time 32:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Rick Wakeman / keyboards, arranger & producer

- Roger Daltrey / vocals (2,4,10,12)
- Linda Lewis / vocals (5)
- Paul Nicholas / vocals (7)
- David Wilde / Liszt piano music
- The English Rock Ensemble
- The National Philharmonic Orchestra
- George Michie
- John Forsythe

Releases information

The soundtrack of the Ken Russell film Lisztomania, a biography of Franz Liszt.

Artwork: Roland Young with Junie Osaki (design)

LP A&M Records ‎- AMLH 64546 (1975, UK)
LP A&M Records ‎- SP-4546 (1975, US)

CD A&M Records ‎- D32Y3550 (1987, Japan)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy RICK WAKEMAN Lisztomania (OST) Music

RICK WAKEMAN Lisztomania (OST) ratings distribution

(147 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(19%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (27%)
Poor. Only for completionists (14%)

RICK WAKEMAN Lisztomania (OST) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Zitro
1 stars This album is overly disappointing. Even Wakeman himself has said 'it stinks'. It is mediocre at best and weak in most places. Most of the music here is dark, with a few ballads fit in it. The ballads, while pretty, are uninspired, and the dark songs are done better in Judas, Jane Seymour, and other songs.

Only for completionists, do not buy!

My Grade : A Big Fat F

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This record is pretty different from Wakeman's usual progressive work: the songs here have almost all a different style: from classical music to floating mellotron ballads, passing by clavinet pop rock and piano solos, the repertoire is broad. Roger Daltrey's ordinary voice can be heard on the simpler songs; there is another singer on "Excelsior song" that almost sounds like a crooner. The music does not sound like a movie soundtrack. There are some very good & bombastic orchestral arrangements. However some of the Wakeman's fans could be quite disappointed: the often pop compositions are not really complex: they are just slightly progressive!

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Matti
2 stars This is just the kind of an LP that you see in Red Cross circulation centre costing 1 euro and immediately decide to buy it for curiosity, knowing very well that musically it probably stinks. I did so, but my curiosity was more due to the Ken Russell film than Wakeman. The sleeve is full of wild pictures from the film (starring Roger Daltrey as Franz Liszt, featuring Wakeman as a viking cyborg!). Naturally I read what says about it, and it gives very bad review. It's easy to believe, with or without this soundtrack, that it's one hell of a crazy rubbish adult-fairytale film, extremely visual but nearly brainless. Russell does have more valuable films too, and if THEY are not shown in TV anymore either, there's no slightest reason to wish for seeing this one sometimes.

There's not much to say about the music. Wakey has arranged well-known pieces by Liszt and Richard Wagner into a pretentious pop opera style, with some little pieces of his own Lyrics are mainly by Daltrey (THE WHO), who is the main singer; one track is sung by Linda Lewis and one by Paul Nicholas. Must be some B-class actors... But the music is not so VERY bad (if not very good either), and it does have a certain value of interest. Therefor it just reaches into two stars from me.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Terrible movie, decent music and good performances

Progressive Rock fans are hard to understand, RICK WAKEMAN is an icon of the genre and one of the men who has done more for the music "we love", I rarely find a Proghead that didn't enjoyed "Close to the Edge" and at least two or three WAKEMAN albums, in every poll he's considered among the best and most popular keyboardists in history.

With 10% of this merits, any POP artist is considered an untouchable legend, but many of us who talk hours about our love for Prog, are the same ones who blame good old Rick as direct guilty of the first debacle of Symphonic Prog.

We shout "close minded" when anybody dares to admit he doesn't like "Thriller" or "Never Mind the Bollocks" but we say that "Lisztomania is crap and most nod in approval. Now, I admit this soundtrack is not a masterpiece in the level of "Six Wives of Henry the VIII", "Criminal Record" or "Myths & Legends", but it's a good chance to listen one of the best keyboardists in Rock history giving excellent performances on arrangements of Wagner and Liszt music.

If this wasn't enough, Roger Daltrey (A living Rock legend), the competent Paul Nicholas (Cousin Kevin in Tommy), The National Philharmonic Orchestra and The English Rock Ensemble are part of this album.

I agree that the movie is ridiculous, because it's like watching "Tommy" in the role of FRANZ LISZT facing WAKEMAN as the Nordic God Thor, but we are here because of the music, not the movie...and I believe that the music is not bad.

Apart from the usual clean piano performance, Rick plays a killer Moog in songs like "Master Race" or "Rape, Pillage & Clap" plus the memorable "Free Song" in which gives a lesson in the use of Synthesizers.

If this was one of his boring 80's New Age albums, I would be the first one to rate it low, but this is RICK WAKEMAN in 1975 at the peak of his career and the performances are above the average. The least "The Cape Crusader" deserves is respect and no less than 3 stars on this release.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well, my chief reason to purchase the cassette version of this album when it was released was because of Rick's pervious albums and also his collaboration with Roger Daltry who came from another stream of rock music. Unfortunately I was so disappointed, overall, with this soundtrack album. Of course I have never watched the film as it's not my hobby; so I only focus on the music this soundtrack presents. One thing that made me play the cassette at that time because of 'Peace AT Last' that became one of major hits in the seventies: many radio stations aired this song alone and the presenter always mentioned Lisztomania as the song title instead of Peace AT Last.

That was then .... And later I found this album interesting. When I found that I had not reviewed this yet at this site, I then played this soundtrack again. Now I can see the joy of the music offered here. Yes there are many disjointed segments performed here and there but I fully understand why - because this is the soundtrack. It would be great watching the movie so that I can appreciate better. Having listened this soundtrack especially with those vocal parts by Roger, I can imagine how actually if Rick has had Roger to sing on his previous works with Ashley Holt. It would be great I believe. I can't imagine The Prisoner being sung by Roger Daltry.

Another good point about this soundtrack is the artwork: it's excellent!

Overall, this is a good music performed collaboratively by Rick and Roger. You should not expect this sounds similar with his previous albums like The Myths and Legends of King Arthur or Journey. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by VianaProghead
2 stars Review Nš 294

"Lisztomania" is the fourth solo studio album of Rick Wakeman and was released in 1975. It was composed to be the soundtrack of a film with the same name and that would be released by the English film director Ken Russell. It was made, supposedly, to be a filmed biography of the Hungarian classical composer, pianist, conductor and teacher Franz Liszt. However, the album was later upgraded by Wakeman as, "The Real Lisztomania". Why he did it? Because, he himself became very dissatisfied, disappointed and frustrated with the original release of the album, indeed.

As many of we know, almost of all Ken Russell's works are marked by imaginative and provocative films, almost all dedicated to the music of the great classical composers. In between, there is the rock opera "Tommy", released in 1975, with the soundtrack of the charismatic band The Who and also starring Roger Daltrey, the famous singer of the group, besides other famous artists such as Elton John, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton and even Jack Nicholson. To adapt the rock opera for the screen, Ken Russell had the famous composer and guitarist of The Who, Pete Townshend. "Tommy" has become a cult film and a favourite for critics and fans, especially in the time when it was released and directed.

Building on the success of the opera rock "Tommy", Russell joined the cast of the film and held "Lisztomania", also in the year of 1975. In short, "Lisztomania" is a musical fantasy about the life of Liszt, shown on the film as a pop star and with the role also performed by Daltrey. The soundtrack was produced and performed by Wakeman, who appears on the film acting as Thor, the god of the thunder, and there's even a cameo appearance of Ringo Starr, on the film, in the role of Pope. However, mainly due to the abuse of situations and grotesque caricatures, the film hasn't been great and was considered too outlandish, even for some Russell's fans. So, it was never able to reach the status of "Tommy".

The line up on the album is Rick Wakeman (keyboards and synthesizers), David Wilde (Liszt piano music), Roger Daltrey (vocals), Linda Lewis (vocals) and Paul Nicholas (vocals). The album had also the musical contributions from The English Rock Ensemble and from The National Philharmonic Orchestra.

"Lisztomania" is a very short album with about thirty minutes and twelve tracks. So, "Lisztomania" is a soundtrack of a Ken Russell's film featuring the music of Liszt and Wagner adapted to symphonic rock. Wakeman composed a short piece of music and added lyrics to another one. Most of the songs are sung by Daltrey and Wakeman plays Moogs, very well as ever. However, Wakeman always said that he didn't like this album, but perhaps, it will please for some of those who liked his first albums. Despite I'm not an expert on Liszt or Wagner, I only know that most of the soundtrack is based upon Wakeman's rather liberal reinvention of extracts from both composers' works. But expert or not, there is hardly even a single, even the tiniest reason on Earth, to make somebody want to go out and buy this collection of rag-taggy "musical pieces". All the actual pieces can be divided in two major groups: Wakeman fiddling around on piano solo, occasionally with a very light touch of orchestration, or Wakeman making some bombastic arrangement or other, hopping on top of a synthesizer or two and making the formerly classical composition "rock out". Group number one is more tolerable in general, but more pointless, because, like I said, I don't see any use in hearing Wakeman playing Liszt. Perhaps he would have done a better job if he just, well you know, had recorded an entire album of "Wakeman Plays Liszt". This would just look like a normal thing. And it would liberate us of the necessity to hear group number two, synthesizer-treated and at times rock-band-treated reinterpretations of Liszt and Wagner. In their banality and ugliness, these passages have nothing to do with Emerson, Lake and Palmer's "Pictures At An Exhibition". The latter displayed some true creativity, innovation, improvisation and a great band playing. In short, "Pictures At An Exhibition" remains a great album, but in here, everything is a waste of time. Even Wakeman said, about this album, "It stinks".

Conclusion: "Lisztomania" is a very different album from what Wakeman made until that moment, "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII", "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth" and "The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table". The songs aren't properly progressive and they range different styles, from classical music, ballads, pop and electronic music. I never was a big fan of film soundtracks, especially made by progressive rock bands. So, when I knew that Wakeman accepted a commission from the controversial and megalomaniac film director Russell, to produce a soundtrack for a film, I didn't expect anything good of it. All in all, "Lisztomania" isn't a bad album but isn't a good album either. It has some good musical moments but this is very short for a Wakeman's work, especially at the peak of his career. It isn't a coherent, cohesive, balanced and well constructed work. It's like more a punch of songs put together in the same bag. Even the vocal tracks, mostly sung by the living legend Daltrey, aren't always sung very well. I think it was a mistake Wakeman has accepted this lunatic commission. Anyway, he has already still recognized it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

3 stars In 1975 Rick accepted a commission from lunatic film director Ken Russell to produce the soundtrack for his latest piece of madness, Lisztomania. The soundtrack is composed almost entirely of music by Liszt and Wagner, played mostly by Rick, and is as endearingly bonkers as you might expect. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#77024) | Posted by MorgothSunshine | Wednesday, May 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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