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


Deep Purple



3.21 | 297 ratings

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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 restraints and is the soundtrack of your indulgence until that grown up responsibility kicks in. Hell if i know. I've never been responsible. (See perfect Strangers for that explanation.)

Preconceptions I do not know but misconceptions there are a -plenty. I've the DVD Audio and DVD releases now. Malcolm Arnold, the conductor and whose Symphony graces the first 2 fifths of this show must have had some idea of the quality of Jon Lord's writing. If it was below par it would not have happened and almost surely Lord would have known that.

The classical tradition is that of strings, brass, wood winds, and percussion: melodies that are sophisticated and need to be explored in real time. With rock this is anathema as this 'pop' music is to be assimilated in the moment. So we have a contradiction conceptually. Music that is to last for all time with the scrutiny and criticism of academic appraisal is to be allied with roc. Now this also is just as eagerly scrutinised but with fewer academies involved. Is it exciting, working class, unpretentious etc. How can it be with music that is approached from a diametric opposite view? I.e. that of the classical world. Deep Purple, the so called "third rate Beatles" were apologised to by one string section member who had refused to lend her abilities to this project as her training connected her with Mahler, Beethoven and Mozart (then) rather than Lord (now) that is now in 1969. They (Gustav, Ludo and Wolfie) had the distinction of being dead and established while Jon was (and is) alive and oh dear, rocking. And rock was in its infancy (in some view) and time and hindsight will see 1969 as the year rock grew up. But this was not seen in 1969, so, contretemps back stage and on stage.

The essence of the concerto is to have solo instrument allied with orchestral accompaniment. But Lord made his group the solo instrument; modest or not? Well both. The DVD provides clues as Lord's witty commentary indicates.

The full show on the DVD Audio is wonderful. But the merging of two musical worlds both bound by conservative restrictions (and this is ironic, Alanis) just underline how constrained both rock and classical are in terms of establishment and audience. As progressive listeners we have to try to be a little ahead of the game otherwise we are just as traditional and reactionary as either restrictive camp.

Malcolm Arnold's Symphony on the DVD Audio is not rock. It is, however, music. A more detailed analysis is what it deserves as does Lord's Concerto. If you like letting music provide your imagination with fuel then you will probably like this. If you are strictly rock then probably not. Not if you're a progressive music fan then you will be open to suggestion. Pay attention 9 that hard part of music listening) as things happen and move on quickly unlike the more indulgent aspects of rock. Presumably different drug requirements are needed here. After Arnold's magnificent piece Purple enter and warm up the audience with a pop hit (Hush) give Gillan his real moment (Child In Time) and allow Blackmore and Lord to warm up soling chops with Wring That Neck.) The two worlds collide and combine. The multifaceted soloing machine that is Purple combines with the orchestra.

It might do one well to consider the various points of view here. Arnold, the classical composer and conductor, Lord the contemporary well spring with Purple the rock group seeking academic classical approval and also thinking that a rock band is worthy of that context. Very progressive in thinking and yet not one that finds favour in the progressive rock camp. Perhaps we could be a little more progressive in our thinking as Lord was with his. The later version of the Concerto is even more superior (in most senses) to the original here.

There is the sense of orchestra versus group rather tan the melding (like on Rainbow's later Stargazer) but we have to start somewhere and the tunes Lord has turning up in his Concerto should provide many a ban with sings for a lifetime. This is serious music that requires academic as well as emotional analysis which is where we trip up as rock is not normally about academic analysis unless you are the Floyd or The Beatles (done papers on both)?

These are young guys with some album experience and some touring to drug fuelled rock fans playing the razor's edge of pop immediacy and all it's illogic as well as classical music and it's established ideas that require 100 years to go by before some releases that these chord prog4ressions are relevant to the youth or old of today. More illogic.

This is not helped when Blackmore improvises a solo while Arnold searches through the score frantically looking for the bit he missed. It is quite amusing to watch and hear lord's wry commentary. This is rock' n' roll and is Blackmore's contribution to the composition, now established? irony there.

Ultimately this album is a requirement to a symphonic progressive rock library. If you are of the metal head variety then In Rock will be in your library as it is in mine. And do settler for Glover's re-master it is fabulous btw. The Concerto is flawed where the attitude of the participants is paced ahead of the music (whether classical or rock players). As for criticisms of the drum solo and it's reprise do please bear in mind that drum solos were then considered to be the culmination of a music (especially rock) performance. Also do please note that rock drums were seen as a rhythm instrument by rock and putting them in the front was quite daring. Later a drum solo was filler and seen that way while indulgences by audience and performers were imbibed.

Deep Purple have a wide variety of music and operatic and symphonic worlds were visited often by Glover and Lord, jazz by Paice, R and B by Lord, Hughes, Paice, folk by Blackmore, funk and fusion by Coverdale, Hughes, Gillan, Glover and Bolin and of course the world of rock, particularly heavy rock was dominated by various combinations of this crew in various ensembles.

But here the concerto not a solo instrument but a multifaceted one (it's therein the title - Concerto for GROUP and Orchestra) progresses music. Listen to the melodies and what everyone does with them. Not pop music to be semi digested and discarded because of some inane fashion non-statement. This is serious rock. It may or may not be successful in execution (not Purple's fault) but it is with intent and requires deep and serious appraisal. Thus it is okay for progressive listeners but not for the rock fans that wants suitable distortion to soundtrack his high. Of course it may do very well there, but it will require some thought on the part of the listener. I hope you are up to the trip. It really is multi-faceted and chances are drugs will only impair judgment. Can't really confirm that as a good part of a bottle of Napoleon fuels my second time though this DVD Audio version.

Summary, essential Deep Purple, essential symphonic progressive rock, not perfect but not far off it, and able to fuel minds for ages unless one is of a serial pop music intent in which case forget it and check out the top 20 of any given year / moment.

Wonderful and thank you to Jon Lord for this album without which many other would not have happened. After all when 90s Britpop songs featured orchestras, or 70s symphonic rock was happening (once everyone got the green light of ITCOTCK) it was Lord and The Nice's Keith Emerson who paved the way.

Rating: 5 for conception, three and a half for overall execution, four for the complete concert.

uduwudu | 4/5 |


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