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Deep Purple - Concerto for Group and Orchestra CD (album) cover


Deep Purple



3.21 | 297 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

Guillermo | 3/5 |


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