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Various Artists (Tributes) Symphonic Music of Yes album cover
2.52 | 39 ratings | 12 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Live, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Roundabout (6:10)
2. Close to the Edge (7:39)
3. Wonderous Stories (3:53)
4. I've Seen All Good People (3:50)
5. Mood for a Day (3:01)
6. Owner of a Lonely Heart (4:43)
7. Survival (4:17)
8. Heart of the Sunrise (7:49)
9. Soon (6:16)
10. Starship Trooper (7:16)

Total Time 54:54

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Howe / guitar, vocals
- Bill Bruford / drums
- Jon Anderson / vocals
- Tim Harries / bass
- Julian Colbeck / hammond organ
- David Palmer / synthesizer, piano, Hammond organ
- The London Philharmonic Orchestra
- The English Chamber Orchestra
- The London Community Gospel Choir

Releases information

CD RCA Victor 09026-61938-2 (1993)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) Symphonic Music of Yes ratings distribution

(39 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (28%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) Symphonic Music of Yes reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Classical Yes

This is not a Yes album as such, and should not be mistaken for the more recent "YesSymphonic" DVD release. "The Symphonic music of Yes" appeared some nine years before "YesSymphonic" but is similar in orientation. The ten tracks included here will all be familiar to Yes fans, being taken from their early albums up to "90125". A few have been significantly edited, "Close to the edge" loses a full 10 minutes, "Heart of the sunrise" a couple, and only the closing "Soon" section of "Gates of delirium" is used.

While the album is basically a vehicle for the London Philharmonic Orchestra to render orchestral versions of Yes songs, it is afforded greater credibility through the presence of Steve Howe, Jon Anderson and Bill Bruford.

Anderson sings on only two tracks, the opening "Roundabout", and "I've seen all good people". "Roundabout" is a pretty faithful rendition, with Howe repeating his guitar sections with little deviation. The keyboards parts are replaced by the orchestra in true "YesSymphonic" style. "Your move" is completely absent from "All good people", with only the repetitive second section being used. Anderson is joined by the London Community Gospel Choir for this gospel tinged version. Unfortunately, Anderson tends to rather dominate the mix, to the exclusion of the choir.

All the sections of "Close to the edge" are used, but each is pared down significantly. For such a familiar piece, this can initially be quite disconcerting. The version here is entirely instrumental, with the orchestra taking the vocal melody in true orchestral rock fashion. "Owner of a lonely heart", "Heart Of The Sunrise", "Soon", and "Starship Trooper" are all presented in a similar way. "Owner of a lonely heart" is interesting, as the guitar is the dominant instrument, Steve Howe offering his own interpretation of Trevor Rabin's composition. On "Soon", Howe speaks briefly at the start of the track, reciting a line from elsewhere in "Gates of Delirium".

Two tracks feature The English Chamber Orchestra in place of The London Philharmonic Orchestra. "Mood for a day" features Howe's (the only Yes man to appear on all the tracks) familiar guitar recital, but his piece is transformed by some highly effective orchestration. "Survival" is for me the most successful track. The melody of the verses is played by solo violin or flute, with the chorus section being sung by the London Community Gospel Choir, this time without Anderson. The result is a truly moving rendition of this early Yes classic.

In all, some very pleasant and imaginative interpretations of familiar pieces. Some are more successful than others, but as a package, worthy of investigation by those who enjoy the music of Yes.

Footnote, Alan Parsons engineered and produced the orchestral sections.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is not an essential CD in any means, but I think it's a better individual of their poor repertoire done after 1980. Not all of the orchestral versions work very well, but the shortened "Close To The Edge" for example is an interesting one. Also Dean's covers are suberb, I wish I could find an art book of his post 90's paintings in vein of "Views".
Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars I'm always a bit sceptic about Orchestra arrangements of Rock , but I found this one in a sales bin.So, what do we got here on the menu: David Palmer did the arrangements and the production together with Steve Howe, Alan Parsons did the engineering. Bill Bruford, Steve Howe on all tracks and Jon Anderson on 2 tracks. The LSO,a chamber orchestra and a Gospel Choir. The only thing missing is the Red Army Choir!You mix everything, cook it for 2 days and serve it ..lukewarm. It is embarassing! Strings tend to soften things up and DP did just too much 'softening'. The only track with an interesting dynamic is 'Heart of the sunrise' all the rest sounds like Mantovani.
Review by ghost_of_morphy
2 stars This is not a Yes album. This is a collection of orchestral versions of famous Yes songs with guest appearances by the band. The good news is that it is not as God-awful as that sounds. All of the tracks (except maybe for Owner) are interesting and will capture the attention of Yes fans who are familiar with the originals. But at the end of the day you will go back to the original tracks. The possible exception to this is Survival, in which the process of orchestration somehow has removed my occasional desire to retch when I hear that particular song.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First off, this not a live album, it's another version of YES classic tracks rearranged, performed and recoded with an orchestra with London Philharmonic Orchestra and The English Chamber Orchestra. Some members of YES are also involved in this project: Steve Howe, Bill Bruford, and Jon Anderson. Plus additional musicians: Tim Harries (bass), Julian Colbeck (Hammond organ) who used to assis Steve Hackett, and David Palmer (synthesizer, piano, Hammond organ). It's a very good album especially when it was released because there was nothing on Yes symphony until we had Yessymphonic live album. "Roundabout" is not performed differently from the original studio version because Howe, Anderson and Bruford dominantly characterize the song. The additional orchestra does not seem to differentiate a lot from the original. The edited version of "Close To The Edge" is performed with The LPO without Jon's vocal. "Wonderous Stories" is also performed similarly. "I've Seen All Good People" is sung together by Jon Anderson and The London Community Gospel Choirs.

It's rewarding experience when I first listen to "Mood For A Day" performed by Howe with orchestration by The English Chamber Orchestra. It does not change a lot in terms of composition but it's interesting to enjoy the orchestra. It's also good to see Steve Howe playing Trevor Rabin's "Owner of A Lonely Heard" where he adjusts his style to suit the music, arranged with the orchestra. Another track with great orchestra arrangement is "Heart of The Sunrise". Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars I am very reluctant to this mix of genre. When rock meets classic. Really not my cup of tea. I have suffered already with such albums : Tull, Purple, Camel and now Yes. While I can cope when a rock band is playing with a classic orchestra as a background partner, I can hardly listen to an album in which the orchestra is taking over the command. In this YesSymphonic, we get a bit of both. Some words beforehand : it is not really a combined YesEffort. The whole stuff is produced by Steve Howe and David Palmer (from the London Philarmonic Orchestra). Chris Squire does noy play in here. There is also no trace of Wakeman nor Kaye. The keys are hold by Julian Colbeck. Another surprise : Bill Bruford (a founding member of Yes) is back on the drums ! Jon Anderson is only featured on three tracks (the vocal ones).

There are quite good tracks here : some pure intrumentals, some with vocals.

The opener "Roundabout" is slighty shorter than the original (this will be most of the times always the case on this album) and is one of the best track of the album. Quite rocking version, the orchestra is there but discreet. That's how I like it. Very good debut.

The next track is a complete disaster. "Close To The Edge" which could have been great (like in "Symphonic Live") is totally massacred. The orchestra has the lead and sounds rather pompous and boring. When you hear this, it is quite difficult to go on with this record. But since it is so weak, things can only get better, right ?

In their immense repertoire "Wonderous Stories" is probably a song that can be associated with this excercise. It has, by essence, already a classic symphonic mood. A good track (although it is fully orchestra oriented). Another track with vocals is "I've Seen" : it is also very pleasant to listen to; the orchestra being a partner only.

"Mood For A Day" is one of the track that works best here : the subtle guitar play from Steve is marvelous and the orchestra surrounds him quite beautifully. Very good (although this number has never been a favourite of mine) and also one of my preferred one on this album. I would say that this is the best version I know of this song (original included).

With the next one "Owner" one of the bottoms of this CD is reached. This FM oriented original does not work at all in this format. Just awful. "Survival" is the worse vocal track of the whole (probably the worst of all here). Mellow orchestral intro and, bizarrely very weak vocals. It is rather strange because it was one of my fave on their first album (back to 1969); vocals being a strong part of it !

I was quite sceptic before I heard "Heart Of The Sunrise" : this violent track should not survive such an experiment. Quite frankly it is one of the number I prefer here (it is also one of my all time fave) even if it is shortened by almost four minutes. Great acoustic guitar work from Steve and good job from the orchestra.

As "Wonderous Stories", "Soon" was also meant for this type of experience. It is another very good moment of this album. There is a short narrated part in the intro and then both the band (extremely emotional keys) and the orchestra come into a fantastic symbiosis. A highlight.

It is one of very few (if not the only one) track to be extended in comparison with the original (by two minutes or so). The closing number "Starship Trooper" is not so well rendered and leaves the listener a bit unsatisfied. If you're not into classic music (like I am) I would recommend to stay away from this record (even if there are some good numbers). Two stars.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars The early nineties brought a small flurry of these orchestral recordings of prog rock bands. Genesis, Jethro Tull and even Pink Floyd were also honored by this treatment. But they were not necessarily a good thing.

This one was graced with the appearance of three of the Yes band members playing throughout the album. Jon Anderson, Steve Howe and Bill Bruford do give the recordings some credibility. Bassist Tim Harries, a session bass player who has played with Bruford's Earthworks, among others, does a decent but stiff imitation of Chris Squire. David Palmer, a former member of Jethro Tull, plays keyboards and orchestrated the arrangements. And Alan Parsons produced and mixed the album.

With those credits the album couldn't miss. Right?


First of all, David Palmer's orchestrations mostly do to Yes' music what the surgeons did to him when he became Dee Palmer. The majority of the songs sound more suitable for shopping malls than concert halls.

And I love Bill Bruford's drumming, but here he sounds like he was just going through the motions. I understand that at this point in his career he was using appearances with Yes and King Crimson to finance his solo ventures. But he didn't have to make it so obvious.

The only songs that come off well are Mood For A Day where a string section makes the piece into some fine chamber music, and Heart Of The Sunrise, which allows the rock band to take charge, and the orchestra mostly add embellishments.

If you really love Yes, you might find some value in this album. But otherwise, meh.

Latest members reviews

1 stars This gets off to a good start with a lively version of Roundabout sung by Anderson himself. Rock instruments are mixed with the orchestra to good effect. We feel this might be a valuable addition to the Yes canon. Doubts creep in with the severely truncated CTTE (7minutes) and Wondrous Stories, b ... (read more)

Report this review (#302762) | Posted by Cheesehoven | Friday, October 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars A great idea executed so very poorly. It is common for classic rock bands to have or, at least, let their music arranged for a symphony. Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, among others, have done the same. But, there's a big problem with Yes' symphonic album...they are playing on it. Bruford, Anderson ... (read more)

Report this review (#137296) | Posted by White Shadow | Saturday, September 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I can't really say that this is worth spending money on unless you are a diehard Yes fan. This album just takes a few of Yes' best songs and adds an orchestra behind it. Rather than improve the quality of the songs, the orchestra takes away from the songs. Only 2 of the tracks have vocals, an ... (read more)

Report this review (#124796) | Posted by weaverinhisweb | Tuesday, June 5, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A totally enjoyable interpretation of some Yes's best music, wonderfully performed, with the natural acoustics of a live performance without the whistling morons who ruin Yesshows, House of Blues etc. I was disappointed, and rather surprised, that nothing from Tales appeared on this album as t ... (read more)

Report this review (#52699) | Posted by | Friday, October 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think that this album should win a 3 stars, but after earing the track "Close to the Edge" on it... I cannot say that this album is only Good. Ok, this new "Close to the Edge" is not as excellent that the real one, but this one Kick A*S too! they put some different things in it and that crea ... (read more)

Report this review (#35222) | Posted by Gabzs | Saturday, June 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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