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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 a rock vs. classical head-to-head battle. Sound of the album is not that good (referring to vinyl, bought it for four bucks). However, it was a bold attempt to wow the crowd at the Royal Albert Hall in that year. It also was a point where DP got screwed by Bill Cosby's US label, Tetragrammaton, and lost a lot of money in the process. The next would be released by Warner Bros.
Report this review (#46718)
Posted Thursday, September 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
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

Report this review (#46939)
Posted Saturday, September 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
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.

Report this review (#47653)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
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 hear the antagonism between them, in the following movements he search to fuse them, and the result is very good. There are some magistral pieces of classical symphonic music, also thanks to the conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Malcolm Arnold. Although Ian Gillan intervenes just two times, his work on vocals is magistral: he seems to be really inspired and his singing is full of feeling and emotion. As I've told it surely is one of the best results of cooperation beween a rock band and an orchestra; I think that if you are searching for good works in this directions, between the sixties and the seventies, you should take a look to "Days of future past", Moody Blues, and "Concerto grosso n.1", New Trolls.
Report this review (#48395)
Posted Sunday, September 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
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.
Report this review (#49615)
Posted Saturday, October 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
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 to some peolpe, but Bob McBeath should remember the Scottish Education system to know what I am talking about.

It was always Jon Lord's baby but its not the best piece they did. In my opinion there just isn't enough of the group playing. This is certainly true of the first movement, where you have 6 minute orchestral introduction before you get to hear the group. The second movement starts off well enough and moves on to a "jazz/blues explosion", this is the only time in the whole piece you hear Gillan. Thereafter I find this movement beomes quite tedious. Lord's own organ solo (also in this movement) is poor. The third movement on the other hand works very well with the "rythmic free for all" at the start which has excellent group/orchestra interaction. This movement also has the drum solo, as drum solos go its very good but at 5 minutes it's too long.

During rehersals Blackmore got really fed up with the orchestra's superior attitude so he hatched a plan to 'show these ba***ds'. (The rest of the group were not in on the plan). After the lengthy orchestral introduction in the first movement, we first hear the group when the settle down to their interpretation of the clarinet tune that was just played. The original intent was that the group would play for about 90 seconds with Blackmore improvising. As it turned out he solos for just over 5 minutes. This section is the highlight of the piece for me. His playing is superb with not a dull moment during the 5 minutes. What a statement to make.

Report this review (#49725)
Posted Sunday, October 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
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 triple concertos, so why not merge both concepts into one, and provide a concerto grosso-solo concert, as the one we have in hands? The fact that the ripieno is a full symphony orchestra and the concertato is a rock group simply proves once more that the ways of art ar far from spent. But then again we hear solo parts, full-fledged cadenzas and the like, giving the piece enough characteristics of the solo concerto to allow the rightful title of 'concert' notwithstanding the fact that just by its name (concerto for group and orch) it is clearly a concerto grosso. One has to bear in mind the fact that this was heard more than thirty years ago. Those of us with enough time in this earth to remember those times are in a somewhat more privileged position to appraise the event than those who were born later. But it becomes extremely enlighting to read the opinions of such people, who only listen to the aural results of the proceedings, avoiding the cultural, social, economical and political 'ambiance' of those times, as opposed to the present.

The work is pioneering. Others have merged rock and classic, electric and acoustic, modern and traditional, but up to that time, the idea of a formal concert with rock group and orchestra, fully scored and rehearsed and not a rehash of established songs, had never been carried on. In the sixties one would have expected Iron Butterfly to try such, but it did not happen. The results of pioneering work as this concert is, falls beyond criticism. There were no equals to compare with, no possibilities of ranking against anything of the sort, and no established criteria for evaluating. It somehow reminds us of the absolutely new terrain to step upon the critics of the Benny Goodman 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert had in front of them, or the general opinion of Ravel's Bolero, or Stravinsky's work. They are new, they break the usual, and they are there. One likes it or not, but criticism as such, is unthinkable.

And, as Jon Lord succintly put it, the expected antagonism between both forces happens. And the reconciliation, accord and cooperation follows. And the joy and merry of such accord, finishes.

And there you have, with unbiased thought, the analysis of the three movements. The characteristics of the event reflect in the recording (I own only the Capitol Records pressing available in the early 70's in Mexico, and I do not know if the recent releases are of a different source as far as miking and mastering is concerned) but the fact that thirty years from then we are writing about that concert clearly shows that the effort was not in vain. Long live the concert, and history certainly has a place for Jon Lord, Malcolm Arnold, Deep Purple, and all concerned.

If the sayings are true --that the orchestra, or part of it was not fully convinced of the value of the piece, that Mr Arnold had to tell them off ('this is music....") , that the guitarrist gave the orchestra a five minute lecture on brilliant electric guitar to 'break the ice' , that the singer somehow improvised even part of the lyrics-- it simply adds to the delight and emotion of re-listeing to the record. By the way, for those interested, listen to the first piece of the aforementioned 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert by Benny Goodman and Orchestra, listen carefully to the beginning, feel the caution and fear of the musicians, the conductor, the audience. Feel the panic grow, second by second, and wait for the astounding drum break about 90 seconds from the start. The drummer, Gene Krupa, explained in less than 3 seconds, loud and clear, 'it is now or never, pals' . The solo guitar in the first movement does that, and more. It clearly tells the Orchestra what can happen if cooperation is not full, the orchestra understands, feels its way, finds it in the second movement, and proves its worth in the third. All in all, a thrilling experience.

Report this review (#50716)
Posted Saturday, October 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#69717)
Posted Friday, February 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
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 pleasant, though the sound quelity is not that good.

HIGHLIGHTS: second movement, because its nice maleody and the beatiful part in wich Gillan sings. NICE SONG. and Third mivement, it is an interesting Rock band v.s orchesta theme.

*PD*: aftter all, this is an underrated album, just like DP effort before "in Rock" , wich, in my opinion, is overrated.

Report this review (#79193)
Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permalink

Although 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 tried: most have failed. And this has generally not been the fault of the music, rather, the laws of acoustics have determined in advance that incongruity shall prevail. (some horribly inept orchestrations might also be to blame).

So how does Jon Lord and Deep Purple's 'Concerto for group and orchestra' fare in regards to the major pitfalls of sonic incongruity and orchestral ineptitude? Well, in terms of marrying rock band and orchestra (the marriage of heaven and hell?) , we come up against the same age-old problems: a poorly rehearsed, indifferent, snobbish and at times damn right hostile orchestra (remember this was 1969: the musical establishment had never witness the likes of this sort of thing); and a rock band that was always going to be too loud.

As far as the music and that all-important orchestration goes, well, it's really rather good. The orchestration is so good in fact, it makes one wonder if Jon Lord maybe had a bit more help from conductor/composer, Malcolm Arnold, than he's letting on. If the scoring is all Lord's own work, then for a first attempt at a major orchestral work, it's pretty impressive.

Certainly the music and orchestration is not in the least bit original and much of it sounds uncannily like Jean Sibelius. However, this in itself is no mean feat. There's shades of Shostakovich, especially in the final movement. And a strong English influence can be heard, e.g. Bax, Vaughn Williams, Holst, etc. Naturally, the influence of Malcolm Arnold, himself, can be heard - a composer for whom Jon Lord has great admiration and who put his not inconsiderable reputation on the line to conduct the concert. It's interesting to note that Arnold had this to say about the music " 'I met Jon Lord, listened to what he had written so far, and knew right away that it was extraordinarily good". High praise, indeed.

The first movement's seven minutes-worth of opening material is pure Sibelius with a hint of the opening of Stravinsky's 'Rite of Spring'. It's without much warning that Deep Purple enter the fray and literally blow the entire orchestra out of the water with their own take on the thematic material, which then leads into a great solo by Blackmore, and later a slightly shorter one by Lord. Throughout this movement there is no attempt by Jon Lord to reconcile the two forces: It is a battle between Rock and the Establishment. The movement ends with staccato stabs from both band and orchestra and is reminiscent of the end of 'Mars' from Holst's 'Planet Suite'. The second movement is much calmer and more reflective. The orchestra plays a beautiful melody which is then set to words and sung by Ian Gillan. When played by the orchestra, the melody sound typically English. When sung, it's given a 6/8 swing treatment that totally transforms it. Whichever way it's played, there's no denying that it's a very lovely melody, indeed. The movement features some fine guitar playing from Blackmore, and a considered Hammond organ cadenza from Lord and ends with a short, plaintive fugal passage on the main theme.

The last movement is, by Jon Lord's own admission, heavily influenced by the great Shostakovich. It's a fast and furious movement that attempts to fully integrate band and orchestra. (The writing for horns is worthy of note.) We also get to hear a drum solo from a then very young, Ian Paice, who shows himself to be a precocious talent. The movement ends with much syncopation and Shostakovian menace. (played very badly by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, I hasten to add)

All in all, a noble attempt at trying to reconcile the irreconcilable, and for 1969, was audacious to say the least. In many ways it succeeds where others have failed: It's more ambitious than the attempts by Emerson and the Nice; (although I do like the 'Five Bridges Suite') more original than ELP's disastrous effort, which, let's face it, was just a case of dressing-up their old material in orchestral clothing. Ditto, Yes' and Tull's recent attempts. Then there is dear old Camel, whose delightful 'Snow Goose' would probably have been better off without an orchestra. There's countless others I shudder to even think about...Rick Wakeman's efforts, for instance Only a scant few from that era have surpassed 'Concerto for group and orchestra'. I'm thinking of Zappa's '200 Motels' and 'Ahead of their Time' which are altogether on a different level. The additional disc in this set contains previously unreleased performances of 'Hush' 'Wring that Neck' and 'Child in time' from the same concert. These are performed without orchestra. I give this album * * * * but if there were a rating system for sheer audacity, I'd give it * * * * * x 100

You have been listening to the ramblings of ThE mEnTaLiSt.

'There is no possible justification for the arrogant, high-minded way in which British music critics treat musicians. These critics are a standing joke throughout the world ... Let us say down, down, down with the music critics before they make our music the arid and joyless music of the concentration camp'

Malcolm Arnold, The Guardian, 3rd June 1971

Report this review (#88141)
Posted Thursday, August 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
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 disappointing even to my 12 yr old ears it sounded silly. We are presented with an Orchestra and a group that are supposedly playing together what we get is a Orchestra playing followed by a group, then back to Orchestra then group and so on. When the two do come together its would seem that the Orchestra doesnt really have the skill or inclination to play the material properly. I get the impression that the rock stars were trying far harder to make this work than the so called serious musicians. Jon writing is often very good and when at time the whole thing comes together it hints at a work that could have been far better. It is not a patch on the work of the Nice for instance , but remains an interesting aside in the Purple Catalogue. It certainly sounds like a battle between the orchestra and the Band rather than a collaboration. The fact that this is a live recording is very obvious with many Musical mistakes and tuning errors mostly it must be said on the orchestras side. It has moments (many in fact) were the Guitar solos total overpower the music. A notable experiment and an interesting idea pitting an Orchestra against one of the heaviest live bands we have so far produced. In a way its a meting of two worlds the prodominatly working class rockers and the middle class musicians of the orchestra. In belongs in the Joke section along with Spinal Tap as it never really works. As it is this record has to many faults to recommend it, and remains a strange document of a time when Rock Star's started to take themselves seriously as composers. In many cases this was a good thing and even this strange record deserves to listened to now and then if only to remind us that Rock (even prog) is not classical music but is worthy in its own right of being considered fine art.

Report this review (#96454)
Posted Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
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).

Report this review (#105146)
Posted Monday, January 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#125304)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#128332)
Posted Friday, July 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
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 aspect of it all is the never reached amalgamation between the band and the orchestra, and so what you hear in the end is simply a chaotic self indulgent mechanical attempt by a hard rock band to sound cute or to demonstrate their "classical roots". In addition to this certainly not good premise, the music is also bad and pretty much boring.

Awful, simply awful: 1 Star.

Report this review (#138241)
Posted Friday, September 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
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.

Report this review (#145221)
Posted Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
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

Report this review (#154574)
Posted Friday, December 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
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 and orchestra never play together but in turns. That was the same with >April< but nobody complained, odd enough. The concerto in fact is going one step further than April since it's much longer and rooted in traditional classical music. So the concerto seems to be the natural end and highlight of DP's development so far. The group obviously takes the place of the solo instrument playing cadenzas. The lively third movement is certainly the most accessible track of the concerto but the others are also worth the effort. Since nobody did anything better in the same style at the time the concerto is certainly worth 4 stars. Favourite Tracks: all three

Report this review (#165839)
Posted Sunday, April 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
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 ...

Report this review (#287584)
Posted Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
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. Besides of megalomania (a personality disorder, I believe), I cannot see the point of this release. It removes the best of Deep Purple and it removes the best of this symphony orchestra. Well, the symphony orchestra is the one who comes out of this fog with any credit whatsoever. The music here is pretty decent and that it thanx to them. Deep Purple's contributions is getting totally overwhelmed by the symphony orchestra. Even the normally dependable Lord and Blackmore. The less said about Gillan, Glover and Paice; the better. I understand why Ritchie Blackmore vetoed any return to the ideas from this album. I am very happy that this pile of squirrel droppings was later buried under Deep Purple In Rock some months later.

In short; two stars to Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for their contributions and the final ejection of this CD from my CD player.

2 stars

Report this review (#295587)
Posted Saturday, August 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#558218)
Posted Friday, October 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
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 music, although I've never build up a classical music collection.

I was a bit skeptical about Deep Purple placed in the proto-prog category, but since I listened to this Concerto for Group and Orchestra it became all clear. While the music is never progressive rock in it's true sense, the orchestra plays progressive stuff and Deep purple handles with the rockin' part. Released in 1969 this is a record at the beginning of the progressive rock movement.

I felt in love with the First Movement. John Lord made this movement to show the differences between the band and the orchestra - as antagonists. This lengthy composition (over 19 minutes) is based on a nice clarinet tune with lots of sideways. The first 8 minutes are played by the orchestra. There are some nice passages, some bombastic passages, some tension building passages and some optimistic parts. And then Deep Purple takes over and shows the electrified version of the clarinet tune. Blackmore shows his fast skills on the guitar until the orchestra tries to take over again. There is some nice interaction here between a bombastic orchestra and the band and the orchestra finally takes over. Later on the band emerges again with some keyboard solo's. This composition has so much to offer! This is my favorite track/composition of Deep Purple's entire catalog!

The second movement is divided in two halves, because of the vinyl format. This dividing is done without any problems however and results in two compositions. The first of them end with the first vocal interventions by Ian Gillan for Deep Purple. His talent is shown from the first moment!

The second side of the vinyl record contains the second half (or actually three quarter) of the second movement and the third movement. While there are some passages the band and the orchestra is playing together there is no real fusion of them. Mostly it is the orchestra or the band. This offers some nice variation however and when accepted this works out as a benefit compared with Deep Purple as a band only.

While I must admit the first side is the better one this is a great record. Especially the orchestra is doing some great job and does convinces me of the quality classical music is able to deliver. In my opinion this edition without the bonus tracks is the better one. It is far more coherent and feels like a whole. In this particular case I should say: more is less. First side: 4,5 stars and the second side: 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#753448)
Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
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 about the concert itself? I will be quick and direct: in this album, you may see the 2 entities: the group and the orchestra. They play together and separate, as a duel. It's very interesting, because you won't see those things in any other orchestrated rock album! This is an unique experience. I know some people will hate it this aspect, but I think it is different and unique.

But the best in here is the guitar solo in the first movement! OH MY GOD!!!!!!! To me, this is the best guitar solo ever!!!! You are not supposed to agree with me, but that's my oppinion! The sound they made... a funky swing, with amazing powerful drums and a marked bass-line set the fire on the stage! Beyond that, we find an amazing drum solo from Paice!

Downsides: Gillan sings in only 2 short parts... he seems a special guest instead a group's frontman! A shame! Lord had lost the opportunity to make an even brighter work!

4 stars because it's unique, different; because of that funky part in which there's the greatest guitar solo I've ever heard and because of the Lord's audacity! What a great composer he was (there's no much rock-players capable of write those things nowadays)! This album is a gem!

Report this review (#882794)
Posted Thursday, December 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.

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Posted Saturday, August 30, 2014 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#1573529)
Posted Wednesday, June 1, 2016 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#2047638)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 | Review Permalink

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