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Rick Wakeman - Journey To The Centre Of The Earth CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.73 | 342 ratings

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3 stars After the ''Tales from topographic oceans'' album, which accordingly to Wakeman was one of the worst records he ever played on, Rick was about to part ways with Yes and focus on his solo career.He composed a long suite entitled ''Journey to the Centre of the Earth'', based on Jules Verne's eponymous science fiction novel and performed it twice on a back-to-back live set at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 18 January 1974.Wakeman was accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra and the English Chamber Choir along with a supporting group of musicians on rock instrumentation.Due to financial reasons, only one of these performances was recorded and released through A&M Records.

Wakeman displayed a huge array of keyboard equipment, including Mellotron, organs, grand piano, clavinet and moog synths, but the fact that the album was recorded live prevented actually the use of dual keyboard themes.''Journey to the Centre of the Earth'' is another one of his Classical-oriented Symphonic Rock releases and his performance was definitely great without signs of self-indulgence, maybe because it wasn't really possible to come up with a full-blown keyboard sound because of the live performance.The live was split into two almost 20-min. movements with impressive work by the orchestra and the English Chamber Choir, supported by the now measured Wakeman and his sometimes excellent keyboard delivery.The moog synth parts are actually the best with a very personal sound and some virtuosic textures, still the presence of various different keys offers a lot of diversity and shifting moods, from dreamy and ethereal soundscapes to grandiose and cinematic themes, always with a huge symphonic sound.Following steadily the whole concept, the album however suffers from the interrupting and long narrations of actor David Hemmings, which do not allow the music to unfold fully, but this would definitely make an impressive live experience.

This is one of the albums you would actually prefer to taste through a DVD, or, even better, should have been a fantastic experience if you were part of these early live sets.Wakeman delivers great moments of keyboard-led instrumental Progressive Rock, but as a whole this work is a bit inconsistent.However this remains a nice chance to meet the talent of this legendary keyboard wizard.Recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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