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Deep Purple Concerto for Group and Orchestra album cover
3.28 | 341 ratings | 27 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Live, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. First Movement: Moderato - Allegro (19:21)
2. Second Movement: Andante (19:11)
3. Third Movement: Vivace - Presto (13:08)

Additional tracks on CD release (placed before the Concerto)
4. Wring That Neck (13:12)
5. Child In Time (12:02)

In 2002 this record was released as a two cd set with the following track listing:

Disc 1 (band only):
1. Intro (radio clips) (3:27)
2. Hush (4:40)
3. Wring That Neck (13:23)
4. Child In Time (12:02)

Disc 2: Concerto:
1. First Movement: Moderato - Allegro (19:21)
2. Second Movement: Andante (19:11)
3. Third Movement: Vivace - Presto (13:08)
4. Encore: Third Movement: Vivace - Presto (part) (5:52)

Line-up / Musicians

- Ritchie Blackmore / lead guitar
- Ian Gillan / lead vocals
- Jon Lord / organ, keyboards, backing vocals, [string/woodwind arrangements]
- Ian Paice / drums, percussions
- Roger Glover / bass, backing vocals

Releases information

Deep Purple recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic
Orchestra. The LP was released by Harvest (UK)Tetragrammaton (USA) in 1969.
EMI promo vinyl PSR-325 released in 1970 has edited highlights from the concert.

Thanks to momomo for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
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DEEP PURPLE Concerto for Group and Orchestra ratings distribution

(341 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

DEEP PURPLE Concerto for Group and Orchestra reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Zitro
3 stars 3.5 Stars

One of the best album of the progressive phase of Deep Purple, and one I recommend for a progressive rock collection.


This album contains 5 songs ... all exceed 10 minutes and 4 are symphonic epics (3 containing an orchestra). Wring that neck is from the previous album "Book of Taliesyn", but this version is much better and more virtuosic ... you hear all the musicians shine, especially Jon Lord on the hammond organ. Child In Time is from 'In Rock' album but this album is released earlier, so this is the original version of the song. The arrangements are extremely simple, but the song's buildup is nevertheless amazing and very powerful. Those growing screams are the essence of the song. The extended guitar solo is excellent too, a masterpiece (but I prefer the studio version since the sound mix and quality is better on it). The last three songs are all good symphonic epics with strong classical influences:

First Movement begins with string arrangement and eventually leads into a hard rock territory in which the whole band participates. IT is instrumental.

Second Movement follows the vein of the first movement. This one is somewhat mellower in parts and more experimental, It is somewhat flawed and parts lose my interest like If I am hearing Tales of Topographic Oceans.

Third Movement is very good because it is the most dynamic of the pieces and the band and orchestra blend well (yet, don't expect it to bend as well as magnification-Yes and Journey to The Center of The Earth). Instrumental.

While they are quite good, I feel like the rock instruments and the orchestra don't bend that well together.

1. First Movement: Moderato - Allegro (7/10) 2. Second Movement: Andante (5/10) 3. Third Movement: Vivace - Presto (6.5/10) 4. Wring That Neck (8/10) 5. Child In Time (10/10

My Grade : C/D

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars I think this review will get some heat among progheads , but we have here a disaster at hand! Actually I was never fond of those groups seeking recognition of higher arts by playing to an orchestra as if rock was to gain nobility from this fact.

The Nice had already done this , and IMHO , they were never convincing! When The Moody Blues tried it on Days Of Future Past , they were actually fairly succesful (but hardly entirely either)! When Procol and Caravan will try it themselves , they will have more success of it (but Caravan's New Symphonia sounds cruelly under-rehearsed), mostly because they reworked their songs to include the Orchestra, so the task was quite different.

Actually what baffled me most is that the liner notes on the inside gatefold sleeves gives all the reasons why this record was a failure. And truely the writing job was insufficient , consisting of the band answering to the orchestra (or was it fighting!!). If John Lord had done a tremendous job of writing the centerpiece of the April suite in the previous album, writing for a full orchestra is something completely different, having so many musicians to write for. Obviously , the cooperation was not full and some orchestra members had contempt treating Purple as "Third Rate Beatles".

Hardly worth the investigation , but yet another piece in favor of the proto-prog or not debate! As for the two bonus tracks presented above , I have never heard them under that particular version.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I liked this musical production very much! It's the most artistic musical effort that DEEP PURPLE ever did, so if one should promote this band on this kind of progressive website, this is the album to be promoted. The musical texture and melodies of the classical parts resemble lot's of the music done by young JEAN SIBELIUS, so if you like this music, check out the "Concerto for violin and orchestra in d-minor" by J.S., I believe you would like it. Here the classic and rock music segments emerge first separately, and they slowly fuse then together. There's not very much singed parts, which is sad as the second calm part with IAN GILLAN is the best part of the music. I would also note, that if you are going to buy "Concerto for Group and Orchestra", consider carefully which version you do want to get. There's so many versions moving around, with tracks which the band played before the main feature, with the classic concerto by the conductor, and as a DVD with a film capture from the concert.
Review by Chicapah
2 stars As an aspiring rock guitarist in the late 60s I had such high hopes when I found this in the record bin and couldn't wait to be floored when I got it onto the turntable at home. For years I had yearned to hear a collaboration between rock and symphonic/orchestral music and this was the first attempt I had come across. Another reviewer has pointed out that the Nice had already breached this particular chasm but I wasn't aware of that band at that time.

Unfortunately, it was a bomb. The true mix of genres didn't happen at all. It was like someone was saying "Okay, now the band plays" and then "Okay, now the orchestra takes a turn" and back and forth like that throughout the LP. It was a dreadful disappointment even to my naiive and idealistic ears. There seemed to be no attempt to meld or adapt either medium, just musicians playing what they were told to play.

But the good news was that they tried and for that I give them an E for effort. It took some serious cajones to even attempt this project live on stage and in the Royal Albert Hall, at that. And maybe this was one of the many reasons the wonderful, earthquaking, restriction- shattering Mellotron was developed. And we all know what that did for Progressive rock.

More of a curious footnote to the developing grand scheme of things at the end of that glorious decade of musical experimentation than any kind of a true classic, it still has to be judged on its own merits and, in that regard, I have to give it a low grade.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I received this album under its cassette version somewhere in June 72. At that time it was the basic version which featured the three movements only. Each one contains a solo work from Paice, Lord and Blackmore. Those were the only moments I could cope with this record. My experience with the Purple in those days was chronologially the single "Black Night" and their albums "Fireball" and "Machine Head". I spinned the last one quite extensively for a few weeks before hearing this classical / rock combination work from Jon Lord which I could never, ever enter into. So, these classic numbers were quite a shock and cannot be compared with a standard Purple album. It is the first album of the Mark II era, and the first to chart in the UK (Nr. 26).

The remastered and extended version provides a bonus CD with "Hush"," Wring That Neck" and "Child In Time". Gilan and Glover have just joined the band. Their live performances in these early times of Mark II era will still be influenced by some Mark I tracks and will be quite expanded ("Wring That Neck" and "Mandrake Root"). The highlight on this bonus CD is of course "Child In Time". It must be one of their earliest live version for it and Gilan is really fanstastic in the vocals. This version is by far superioir to the one on "Made In Japan". Ritchie outrageous guitar solo is also one of the greatest hard rock experience you can expect. Fabulous. The "Hush" version also shows that Gilan is from another caliber than Rod Evans. You should only buy this one if you can get hold on the double CD version unless you can stand classical music which is not my case. For the very good bonus CD, I will rate this one three stars (only one star for the original vinyl album).

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Although on the surface "Concerto..." sounds like the most progressive rock album by DEEP PURPLE, things are not quite good.

After three interesting but comercially flawed early proto-prog/psychedelic albums, they (or rather: Jon Lord as the leader at the time) decided to go symphonic. And, as it usually happens in similar cases of mere ambition, they failed simply because this "symphonic rock" is not what we all know by that term as a sub-genre of Prog (GENESIS, YES...). You don't make rock progress by simply adding the Royal Philharmonic or any other orchestra for that matter. Progressive rock is not necessarily the inclusion of the influnces and musical ideas borrowed from Classical symphonic music of the XIX century. Or not only that. Otherwise it becomes a pathetically indulgent piece of work where the rockers are urged to show their musicianship and composing skills in a rather bombastic and pompose way.

The performance of "Concerto" is quite fair and decent, but what's the point? Orchestral parts and all that "movement" structure is pretty boring, Blackmore's and Paice's solo parts save the material a bit and remind you that this is after all a rock band. Jon Lord probably wanted to present himself as a "serious" composer and arranger in front of the academically trained musicians but he did not succeed.

After this album, the band changed direction and got a fame as a premier hard rock/heavy metal act which was to influence hordes of headbangers to come, so this effort with orchestra remains largely of interest for the historians of early prog rock and for devoted fans of DEEP PURPLE who must own everything that bears the band's name.

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Two concerti: one for group, one for orchestra.

Both are patchworks. The question is how successful (from the artistic point of view) these patchworks are.

Okay, the title is completely wrong. Concerto is a piece composed for a soloing instrument and orchestra. This is only my cynical intention to draw attention to the fact that both band and orchestra were not actually working well and homogeneous together. It was more like playing on turns. "Wring That Neck" and "Child In Time" are not a concerto by no means - however they are absolutely out of place here. The first one is an average Purple's bluesy tune, certainly not on a level of (intended) majestic atmosphere of a concerto. "Child In Time" is alright, but far from the best live version. If we take into the consideration the over-discussed fact about plagiarism of another band, then these two rock tunes are certainly just a patchwork of ideas that was suitable enough to fill the fourth vinyl side in.

As far as the Concerto goes, it's not a real concerto neither, since concerti are written for one soloing instrument (rarely two) and orchestra; we can talk about rock band as an one-piece entity (and a very versatile instrument too) but this happened only in traces. Lord respected the traditional structures and forms (three movements), and his writing skills are sometimes lovely, sometimes interesting, sometimes ingenious, sometimes plain boring.

To know why this Concerto was recorded at first place we should probably enter into the Lord's head and see what was he thinking at the time: he introduced new members of the band, wanted more advanced approach to the music, and was inclining towards classical repertoire. It was 1969 and rock music was music was moving towards the symphonic sphere rapidly - but even in the right moment, the record was not really a coherent statement, more a semi-failure and historical curiosity rather than a staple. Some critics were labeling DEEP PURPLE as the "traitors of the rock 'n' roll" after the premiere, however nobody characterised THE NICE in that way. Or other bands at the time: KING CRIMSON, THE MOODY BLUES and PROCOL HARUM.

Why? I guess because it is inconsistent. On a plain surface, some moments in Concerto are brilliant, Lord were using not only major and minor scales, the main theme in the first movement is both catchy and intelligent, second movement is dramatic, third one is furious. I think I've found traces of Stravinsky somewhere there, but that's not the problem.

The bands sounds too dry on a recording; that's not a problem with orchestra of course, but lacking the "beef" in the sound of the rock band, the record in its entirety already lost half of the possible appeal. The other thing is, they were playing on turns: eight bars of orchestra - eight bars of the band. Lord's songwriting saw light of a day too soon; it certainly lacks a lot of polishing. Raw drumming is out of place, Blackmore's anxiety too. Gillan's voice on Second Movement is sweet, and the lyrics are intentionally neutral - they can be interpreted both from a lenses of love as well as religion; that part was fine, although a bit tacky. Lord's Hammond is not on the same level as orchestral parts - it's majestic, expressive, powerful, but not both complex and beautiful as orchestrations. Since the whole Concerto was his baby, we can only wonder whether it is due to his technical inability as a organist, or his intention while writing a piece to emphasize the contrast between a rock band and classical orchestra. If the first one is the case, we will forgive him. If it's the second case, then that's a pure arrogance and nothing else. Arrogance and self-indulgence shouldn't be here - and here's why:

Nobody expected Emerson or Wakeman on Hammond here, they would be both out of place (in my opinion), on the other hand Ken Hensley (because of his raw power) would be out of place too. The only organist that fits here is Lord himself - with his amount of classical influence and furious rock approach - but he simply doesn't fit perfectly. Which means that the whole peace should have been rewritten - or to put it simply - it's weak.

Too bad. This record could have been a masterpiece if only a) Lord had polished his piece long enough b) waited for another parameters to happen, and for audience's preferences to become more inclined towards progressiveness and c) if he had written Concertino For Group and Orchestra.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Concerto for group OR orchestra

Contrary to many people's perception, the first album released by the classic mark 2 line up of Deep Purple was not "In Rock", but this live recording. Very much a Jon Lord project, this was one of several attempts around this time (1969) to bring together a rock group and an orchestra. The bands concerned went about it in different ways, with Procol Harum simply orchestrating existing material, the Moody Blues creating essentially a symphonic pop album while The Nice made a rock album with orchestral support.

Lord decided to attempt to write something which was essentially classical, but with digressions into rock from time to time. He had been working on the project for many years, an indication of the way he was thinking coming on the final track "April" on the band's third (self titled) album. When Lord finally managed to get the go ahead, he had just three months to compose the score ready for the planned event at the Royal Albert Hall (RAH) in London. Incidentally, the score was subsequently lost, being painstakingly re-created by a fan many years later, but that's another story.

The gig at the RAH took place on 24th September 1969. The first part of the performance was a recital by the orchestra alone of a symphony written by their conductor Malcolm Arnold. There then followed a band performance of three of their songs, with the concerto occupying the latter part of the evening. Only the actual concerto appeared on the original LP release. This was partially rectified on the 1990 CD version, when two of the three band tracks were added to the start of the CD. These are a 13 minute version of "Wring that neck", a song originally recorded by the mark 1 line up prior to the arrival of Gillan and Glover, and "Child in time" which had then yet to appear on a studio album. The other song was "Hush" by the way.

"Wring that neck" is effectively a vehicle to allow the band to loosen up through a guitar and organ based jam. The version of "Child in time" here lacks the refinement of the subsequent studio recording, but in some ways that is what makes it alluring. That said, this is pretty much the finished product here.

The Concerto is divided into 3 lengthy parts running to just under an hour, with the titles of the "Movements" using classical terms such as Allegro, Andante and Vivace-presto to emphasise the ambitions of the composition. Overall, it is a powerful piece, which tends to fall into the trap which catches many aspiring rock/classical composers of relying to heavily on the percussion, especially timpani.

The second section is the most accessible and the softest. The strings are the most dominant overall in this movement, while Gillan adds some regal vocals. The final section is marred by an unnecessary drum solo which completely destroys the "Concerto" notion. This part of the movement is an indulgence pure and simple and should never have made it into the composition. Thankfully, the rest of the band and orchestra are soon back from their comfort break, and things continue as before.

The main criticism which can be levelled at the concerto is that it largely fails in its objective. Group and orchestra do not really work together at all, with one or the other taking centre stage at any given time. This leads to rather jarring contrasts between the two styles, which in turn makes for a rather disjointed feel. I have seen it said that this was deliberate on the part of Lord, who wanted to demonstrate through the three movements how the two opposites (band and orchestra) start off apart, but move together as the piece progresses. While the intention is undoubtedly noble, whether it works is open to debate.

All that aside though, this album is further evidence of the prog credentials of this fine band.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars When I first listened to this album long time ago in the 70s, I could not believe that Deep Purple played this kind of music that was hard to understand. First of all, I was not quite familiar with classical music. Secondly, I could not understand Deep Purple played it this way. But with the familiarization of Rick Wakeman's "Six Wives of Henry VIII" finally I got attuned with this "rock meets classic" marriage and I started to really enjoy it. The toughest parts for me were the segments where the music is so silent and I could not bear with it. But the more I played it, the more I got used to it.

This album was the representation of Deep Purple music when they were not so sure about their music direction. It was Jon Lord who drove this project and made it for an album for Deep Purple. It has always good when I say a particular band tries the new music horizon they never been before because by doing so, it can be seen how the individual member of the band contributes the music skills.

Overall, this is quite enjoyable for those of you who have been familiar with classical music. This can also be good for those who enjoy "Pictures at an Exhibition" by Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by tarkus1980
2 stars Enter lead vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover ... who are basically wasted on this album. Though this technically is the debut album of Mk. 2, it feels more like the worst possible culmination of Mk. 1. The thing is, I actually really like well-done classical music; I'm not as familiar with its nooks and crannies as I am with some genres of rock, but I've accumulated a good amount from a number of composers (favorites are Beethoven, Bartok and Stravinsky), and there are several classical pieces I absolutely love. But I don't think of this as classical; it's just prog rock with a heavier dose than normal of "pure" orchestration. Kinda like "April," but stretched out and made as crappy as possible.

The Concerto itself, which makes up the last two thirds of the album, is ridiculous. The "classical" portions are mediocre movie soundtrack quality at best; I guess the same thing could be said about the orchestrations on Days of Future Passed, an album I love, but those orchestrations existed to augment the moods of the actual songs and provide segues. The orchestrations here are meant to be treated as crucial portions of large-scale composition, and they're just not interesting enough to work that way. Parts go loud, parts go soft, and above all parts go nowhere. And the portions where the band joins in, gah ... There's an ok song buried inside the second movement (though the thought of Ian Gillan being forced to sing pretentious, meaningless prog lyrics is one I find bothersome; aren't lyrics like this anathema to Ian's purpose of existence?), but the rest is a bunch of alarmingly uninteresting group jamming interspersed with what sounds like Blackmore playing warmups. No thanks.

Oh, and did I mention that the central feature of the third movement is a drum solo? Did I also mention that the "encore" involves the band and orchestra going through the section with the drum solo a second time? Sheesh ...

The thing that redeems this album, at least slightly, is that the expanded version includes the band's opening set, sans orchestra, which is actually pretty decent. The opening performance of "Hush" is flat out great, with Gillan putting more gusto into his vocals than Evans did, and the band is super tight. "Wring that Neck" and "Child in Time" aren't done at their very best, as the band doesn't yet have the telepathic chemistry that would make the band so amazing within a couple of years, but they're decent enough, at least if your wank- tolerance is at a reasonable level.

Still, that's not a ringing endorsement, is it. That ** is awfully close a *, and should be regarded accordingly. At least the band didn't make this sort of thing its primary focus in the future ...

Review by Guillermo
3 stars I recently read an interview done with DEEP PURPLE`s original bassist Nick Simper. He says in that interview that shortly before his and Rod Evans`s departure from the band they knew that there were plans to play in concert with an orchestra and to record it for a new album. Simper says that he really did not like the band`s previous Classical Music arrangements done to some songs from their first three studio albums, and that he really never liked the mixture of Classical Music arrangements with Rock in those albums. So, he was not happy with the idea to record a full album with that musical mixture, which was a project mainly planned and created by Jon Lord with the support from the management and from Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Paice. So, Simper and Evans left the band. Lord said in other interviews that Blackmore was always the main "instigator" in the changes in the line-up of the band when he was in the band, and that he was supported by Lord and Paice. So, with Simper and Evans out of the band the new line-up which included Ian Gillan and Roger Glover first recorded a single called "Hallelujah", and later they went to record this "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" album with Conductor Malcom Arnold and the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra, an Orchestra which also was going to work with the Dutch band EKSEPTION in their "00.04" album from 1971.

The concert for this album was also filmed, and I also could watch it on the web.

This album has some of the last Prog Rock attempts done by the band to mix Classical Music arrangements with Rock, a thing that they did several times in their first three albums. Those musical ideas were more influenced by Jon Lord thanks to his previous Classical Music trainning. Those ideas sometimes worked well and sometimes they did not work well in those albums. Anyway, the band tried again with a more ambitious musical piece consiting of three Movements, with music composed by Lord, with the Second Movement having lyrics written and sung by Gillan. Maybe it was more of a fad then to try to do a mixture of both musical styles, as several other artists have done it in some of their albums (PROCOL HARUM, THE NICE, THE MOODY BLUES, EKSEPTION...). In the case of DEEP PURPLE the results are not very satisfactory, but as a "musical experiment" it was a good idea, before going with this new line-up to record more heavy albums playing Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music, both styles of music which were more proper for this band, I think.

Those years (from the late sixties to mid seventies) were a very creative period. So, several Rock bands tried several "experiments" and projects to try to give Rock music a more "serious" and respected role in popular music. This album was one of them. The album sounds more like a separated "musical dialogue" between the orchestra and the band, not really mixing their roles very often. The orchestral parts are very good in most parts, and some of the music which the band plays is sometimes heavy. The best parts in this album for me are the Second Movement on which Gillan sings very well but also briefly, and the Third Movement which includes a very good drums solo by Ian Paice, showing that from his early twenties he really was a very good drummer. As a whole, the album sounds as a good project on which Jon Lord took the lead role more prominently. Unfortunately, the album really shows that it was recorded during an era of "musical experiments" which sometimes worked well and sometimes not.

Review by Progfan97402
3 stars Jon Lord must've had a monster-sized ego to come up with orchestra and rock group concept. Not that they would be the first (the Moody Blues were the first with Days of Future Passed) nor the last (Procol Harum, Rick Wakeman, The Nice, ELP, even Eloy, if you're wondering what that Eloy album was, it was Dawn) had all tried rock with orchestra concepts with varying degrees of success. Lord had a background in classical so I guess he was familiar with the music. I'm sure at fire Malcolm Arnold, the conductor had his reservations, but then it resulted in him being pleasantly surprised to see a rock and roll musician try classical and had an understanding in classical composition. Ritchie Blackmore thought it was a bad idea and felt the orchestra was rather condescending (the usual rift between classical and rock). This album was the first with the Mark II lineup (Roger Glover and Ian Gillan as the newcomers, as you probably already knew that) and a rather strange way to get started. I was resistant in buying the album because of the mixed reaction, but since I found a used LP for cheap (second American pressing on Warner) I gave it a shot and wasn't all that bad. Certainly there are big glaring obvious flaws that there isn't too much band/orchestra interaction. Usually it seems one of the band members will participate with the orchestra but rarely the whole band, and when the whole band performed, as in the killer jam they do on "First Movement" the orchestra remains silent. "Second Movement" is actually two parts (because of the time constraint of the LP). Ian Gillan does everything to sound like his predecessor Rod Evans, you'd almost think Evans was still a member of the band. He never uses his trademark high pitch screams (a big influence on the likes of Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Ronnie James Dio and many other heavy metal singers). The second half of the "Second Movement" has some bluesy passages from the band, while "Third Movement" is most notable for the extended Ian Paice drum solo, like they were taking after the likes of "Toad", "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" or even "Moby Dick" (but bear in mind this was recorded in September 24, 1969, LZII was released a month later). The '70s was often considered a decade of excess, and this album is the epitome of '70s excess, even if it was released in December 1969 (originally in the US on Bill Cosby's Tetragrammaton label, yes THAT Bill Cosby, although that pressing is hard to find give the label quickly went belly up shortly after this album's release and no wonder Warner gave that album a second life when the band moved to that label in the States, since it didn't have much a chance on Tetragrammaton).

I have to say it wasn't entirely a success. There could have been more band and orchestra interaction. The Moody Blues's Days of Future Passed wasn't entirely a successful combination of rock band and orchestra, it too suffered problems of lack of band/orchestra interaction (either the band plays or the orchestra), it was a big commercial success, and even a critical success, because at least there the orchestra frequently played themes that the band would often play too, although (I'm not the only one) many had criticized Peter Knight's orchestral style as it veered too close to lite classical (but then to be fair, it seemed lite classical was a big influence on the Moodies). Deep Purple it sounded like the orchestra did not relate to the band, and neither did the band relate to the orchestra, aside from Jon Lord.

It can be easily thought of in many different ways: Rubbish, a rock band/orchestra experiment that failed, 70s excess at its worst, or actually a great example of proto-prog. I am a bit torn about this album, but to my ears it isn't too bad, but this isn't exactly In Rock or Machine Head, and I obviously didn't expect that. There are some brilliant ideas, but there areas either the band or the orchestra loses focus. So I guess three stars it is, because I enjoyed it despite obvious flaws.

Review by GruvanDahlman
2 stars (I am only reviewing the original "Concerto for group and orchestra" album, not later editions containing "Wring that neck", "Child in time" etc.)

I have found that through the years this album been an alluring one. The cover is strikingly simple with its photo depicting the interior of Royal Albert Hall and the group is at first really not visible but there they are, slouched in the seats of the great theatre. It has become quite an iconic cover and it has been the very thing that drew and draws me in to this album. And yet, I find it a difficult piece of Music but not in the sense one might imagine..

The marriage of classical music and rock is one that is made in heaven. The pompousness of classical music merges so well with the over the top view of progressive rock. Unfortunately it doesn't always turn out as great as it could have done. Ekseption and ELP are but a few of the prog rock groups that managed to pull it off in the most glorious of fashions. Jon Lord, as brilliant a man as he was, dreamt of making the perfect blend of the two genres and actually got the go ahead quite a few times in his career. The first attempt was "Concerto for group and orchestra" and the idea was born half a century ago. When released in 1969 it was really not the barnstormer he had hoped for. For the marriage to succeed classical music (in this case a symphonic orchestra) has to cooperate with rock music (the group). When that is the case I love it, as in the case of the brilliant "VIctor" by Rigoni & Schoenherz. In the case of "Concerto..." you get a scizophrenic experience since the two genres for the most part seem seperated from each other. You get the orchestra playing without the group for 8-10 minutes and then the band plays for a while before handing over the microphone (or whatever) to the orchestra. This is the case, in general, on "Concerto...". Only rarely do they interact with each other. I get a bit uninterested in the long classical bits, which is a shame, just waiting for the group to come crashing out of the speakers.

The parts where Deep Purple actually plays are generally good and interesting. I wish Gillan sang a bit more but there you go. The rock pieces are not very complex but energetic and shows, if nothing else, something new as opposed to the albums recorded by the Mark I setting. I find that interesting. To make matters worse, sorry to say, there is a lengthy drum solo in the third section that should have been shorter, in my opinion.

The musicianship is as always spectacular and the sound of the group is quite raw and rough, which I like. The thing I like the most about the album is actually the organ played so brilliantly by Mr. Lord. It may be it's not his most technically challenging playing but the sound and how he handles the keys is enough to give me goosebumps. As for the vocals, as previously mentioned, Gillan should have been given more space and really show his talent since he by then had been given the role as lead singer, now that Evans was out of the picture. He gets only a fraction of room to show his talents and that's a pity.

So, while this could have been a defining moment in the progress of progressive rock music it falls pretty flat in comparison to other excursions in the same genre made by other bands. I think Lord, however proud of the achievement he was, should have given the execution of it all another thought. Had he merged the two genres into one pompous cohesive body of work this would really have been something extraordinary. The opening of side A should not have consisted of eight minutes of classical music. It would have suited the album better had the classical music started the album with, say, three minutes and then let the band enter it would have been a completely different matter. When you get to know the album properly it all works fine, you just live with it, but it makes the album sort of a hard listen. You just sit there, waiting for the rock parts to dive head into the pool of orchestrated music. It really never happens. While it is all very competent and quite bold it does not reach the heights I hoped and still hope for. Nevertheless I hold a great love for this album. It's something endearing with it but at the same time the flaws and inadequacy of the end result is there and no matter how much I want it to be different, there it is. Warts'n'all.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Listening to the two pieces last night...moved and with immense pleasure, I had to do this remaster and post to those interested a musical analysis of the works a little more technical. I saw reviews from the 70's and some more recent ones here too with bad approachs about Jon Lord's work and i ... (read more)

Report this review (#2772825) | Posted by von bathel | Sunday, June 26, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a special album. It deserves respect! By 1969, no rock band could play at the Royal Albert Hall. Deep Purple was the hand opening the door. Furthermore, many members of the orchestra were not into "non-classic music". Malcolm Arnold was an open-minded influence to all. Ok, but, what ab ... (read more)

Report this review (#882794) | Posted by H. Siedler | Thursday, December 27, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I had listened to this record in my teenage years, but never payed it much intention. Lately, I found a vinyl copy of this record with only the three movements on it. In the main while I became influenced for several years by progressive influences and became more open- minded to classical musi ... (read more)

Report this review (#753448) | Posted by the philosopher | Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a fabulously interesting examp0le of progressive rock for a couple of reasons. 1. No one knew it was progressive rock. 2. No one knew if it was orchestral (classical) or rock. PO fans didn't care and rock fans were there. Lucky beggars. Rock is (I think) music of youth, freedom from r ... (read more)

Report this review (#558218) | Posted by uduwudu | Friday, October 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars What's the point of marrying classic music with rock ? ELP, The Nice and other symphonic prog bands has married classic music and rock with great success. But they all did it on their own terms. What Deep Purple has done, read John Lord, is to try marrying fire with water on this album. Besi ... (read more)

Report this review (#295587) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, August 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Concerto for Group after Orchestra. I liked this album from the start and my opinion hasn't changed. Even after all this years I find the music on this record quite entertaining. The only point of critique I can make - and which has been voiced by other reviewers here - is the fact that group ... (read more)

Report this review (#165839) | Posted by strayfromatlantis | Sunday, April 6, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This Deep Purple release is horrifing, it is fruit of Jon Lord's great desire to write music for an orchestra, and to mix classical music with Deep Purple sound: and the result is simply an awful alternation of deep purple improvs and classical pieces without a logical sense in it; the worst asp ... (read more)

Report this review (#138241) | Posted by Malve87 | Friday, September 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Spinal Tap could not have come up with a more ridiculous sounding project and the results is mostly as you would expect ridiculous. I remember well when this record was new, I bought it home full of eager anticipation for the "progressive music" it most certainly must contain. Well it was disa ... (read more)

Report this review (#96454) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ROCK MUSIC IS MANIFESTLY IN THE WRONG ZONE WHEN SET BESIDE A SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA --Frank ZappaAlthough the quotation above is undoubtedly true, it didn't stop Zappa from meeting the challenges that arise when one tries to integrate amplified rock music with an acoustic orchestra. Many have t ... (read more)

Report this review (#88141) | Posted by The Mentalist | Thursday, August 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3.9 ACTUALLY this might be called "deep purple plays Jon lord's ideas" as all the orchestral tracks were composed by him, with collaboration of Ian Gillan's lyrics on second movement. this is not the bes combination of classical music and rock. but it's a nice attempt. the songs are pleasa ... (read more)

Report this review (#79193) | Posted by Progressive! | Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Reviewing such thing as a concert, somehow preserved for future listeners with the technology available under the circumstances, is more or less a no-no. But let us stick to the music. In the beginning there was the concerto grosso. Then came the solo concert.We have double concertos, and t ... (read more)

Report this review (#50716) | Posted by | Saturday, October 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I've always had a soft spot for Deep Purple's Concerto since it was the first rock vinyl LP I owned. When I listen to it nowadays it always brings back memories of studying for my Physics Higher Grade exam when I was in Secondary school. I listened to it a lot back then. This may not mean a lot ... (read more)

Report this review (#49725) | Posted by jimpetrie2000 | Sunday, October 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Composed and scored by the genius of Jon Lord I think this is one of the best results of cooperation beween a rock band and an orchestra. According with the intention of Jon Lord, while in the first movement there is not a really amalgam betwen the group and the orchestra and it's possible to h ... (read more)

Report this review (#48395) | Posted by | Sunday, September 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I wasn't that impressed with this album. It marks the arrival of lead singer Ian Gillan (the Screamer) and Roger Glover. This is more of Jon's experiment of blending classical with heavy metal rock. Not the best combination. The only highlight worth listening to is the Third Movement with ... (read more)

Report this review (#46718) | Posted by uriah561 | Thursday, September 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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