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Martin Orford Classical Music And Popular Songs album cover
3.62 | 58 ratings | 8 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Field of Fallen Angels (6:26)
2. A Part of Me (5:14)
3. Quilmes (3:02)
4. The Days of Our Lives (6:15)
5. Fusion (5:05)
6. The Final Solution (5:59)
7. The Picnic (1:21)
8. The Overload (5:20)
9. Tatras (5:30)
10. Evensong (5:09)

Total Time: 49:21

Line-up / Musicians

- Martin Orford / vocals (1,4,6), keyboards, piano (3,9), flute (1,9), mandolin & bagpipe chanter (1), acoustic guitar (7), orchestration (9,10), composer & co-producer

- John Wetton / lead vocals (2)
- Peter Nicholls / lead vocals (8)
- Gary Chandler / guitar (1,2,4-6,8,10)
- David Kilminster / acoustic (1) & lead (2,6) guitars
- Mike Holmes / lead guitar (5)
- Tony Wright / saxophone (4)
- John Jowitt / bass (1,2,4-6,8,10)
- Steve Christey / drums (1,2,4,5,10)
- Paul Cook / tambourine (2), drums & percussion (6,8)

Releases information

Artwork: Geoffrey Chandler

CD Giant Electric Pea ‎- GEP CD1026 (2000, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MARTIN ORFORD Classical Music And Popular Songs ratings distribution

(58 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MARTIN ORFORD Classical Music And Popular Songs reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
3 stars Martin ORFORD who is likely better known for his leadership in Neo Prog bands IQ, JADFIS and The John WETTON PROJECT as their main keyboardist delivers a prog friendly album full of personal charm and character. Martin ORFORD obviously plays all keyboards and much of the vocals as well with John Wetton and IQ's Peter Nicholls leading 1 track as well. As you would expect ORFORD calls on a vast arsenal of prog talent he has worked with over the years (Gary Chandler - rhythm and electric guitars, Steve Christey - drums, John Jowitt - bass, David Kilminster - acoustic and lead guitars, Paul Cook - drums, Michael Holmes - lead guitars). The end result is a grand song/melody based album full of magical little moments with an overall sound not unlike at times IQ, JADIS and Paul Menel-era IQ with a semi classical twist.
Review by richardh
4 stars One of my favourite albums of all time.A well balanced collection of songs and instrumentals by the IQ keys man aided by an array of talented musicians members of IQ and Jadis as well as John Wetton and Dave Kilminster(currently playing in Keith Emerson's band).Not a single bad track Martin has saved up more than a few gems over the years.It's also complimented by nice packaging and some interesting sleevenotes.This is clearly a labour of love.I think anyone with any interest in prog would find something here to enjoy and it may even convert a few non prog fans!
Review by progrules
4 stars First is a bit of a rocking tune, not really Orford style I would think but good track (3,5*).

Second is also quite loud but with more accent on variation between vocals, guitar and keyboards. Even better than previous I think (3,75*).

Third track is more what I had expected at first since this is supposed to be a sort of bridge between pop and classical music. Here the piano classical style takes its turn although it sounds more modern than real classical works. Still this is what I hoped for and I'm rewarded for my hopes. (3,5*).

Next is the most popular of all songs, very accessible music, could have hit the charts I feel if Martin would have tried. Nice song but not very progressive (3,25*). Here Martin is obviously assisted by Gary Chandler, what an recognizable (and great !) guitar this man plays.

Next up would have to be a more classical piece you would expect but it's not really the case, at first it seems to start that way but when powerfull guitar accompanies it can't really be called classical, can it ? But another very fine instrumental track (3,75*).

No.6 is The Final Solution, a bit like the 4th track but less poppy, still sounds like something in between neo and AOR to me but a very good song again (3,5*).

7th track is only the second classical like song of this release and that's slightly disappointing. It's also very short but very nice as well (acoustic guitar) (3,5*).

The Overload is a slightly celtic sounding song with mr. Nicholls on vocals here singing it in great style. It's a slow song but not much wrong with it as far as I'm concerned (3,5*).

Tatras is another "bridge song" between pop and classical and the atmosphere here is truly awesome. Probably the highlight of the album (4*). At least for me.

The closing track is Evensong and fortunately this is another classical toned song to even things out a bit (3,75*).

So quite an equable album this, no fillers and almost equally classical and pop related material as Martin promised in his title. Also even in vocally and instrumental performances and I like that as well. As the ratings show hardly anything below 3,5* and some even above so I see no reason why I shouldn't give this 4 stars.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Well, after hearing Martin Orford's second CD I was quite surprised by its overall AOR sound instead of a more proegressive approach. So I decided I should get his first to make sure I was not being unfair in my judgement. And surely Classical Music and Popular songs is a lot more what you should expect from somenone like Martin Orford than The Old Road. Yes, the Asia connection is here too (and the presence of John Wetton singing on some tracks certainly fuelled this feeling) on such songs like A Part Of Me and The Days Of Our Lives . It is no surprise those two have Wetton on lead vocals.

But the album has much more than just that. The opener Field Of Fallen Angels and The Overload could be on any IQ album. Excellent prog tracks! But the real gems are the instrumental ones: Quilmes, Fusion and Evensong are great pieces of prog music that actually differs from Orford's works with both Jadis and IQ and still they bear all the trademarks of a great songwriter and musician he is. Those songs alone are worth the price of the CD. The presence of almost all his colleagues from those bands did give the album a very strong and balanced sound on the whole of the CD.

In the end I think this album is less homogeneous than his second. But it has a far more strong and progressive material also. If you're a fan of IQ and Jadis I strongly advice you to get this album before The Old Road. If you liked the two Wetton sung tracks, than you should check The Old Road. If you don't, you better stick with the IQ and Jadis discography. And that should include Classical Music and Popular Songs. I really hope Orford will rellease more albums like this one in the future. 3,5 stars at least.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars One of the worst album titles I have come across (haha). This is Martin Orford's first solo offering. Martin of course is most well known as the former keyboardist for IQ but people often forget he played the same role in JADIS. In fact it's JADIS who are the core band here, although we do get some IQ members helping out as well as John Wetton singing on one track. Interesting that Neal Morse actually offered his singing services for this record but Martin didn't feel like he had the right song for him to sing. Andy Latimer was asked to help out and he apparently was willing but CAMEL duties prevented him from helping out.

"The Field Of Fallen Angels" is pastoral to start then it becomes uptempo after a minute.Vocals from Martin before 2 minutes. Keyboards swirl after 3 minutes then it settles back with vocals. "A Part Of Me" with Wetton on vocals really sounds like an ASIA track. "Quilmes" is Orford on his piano by himself offering up beautiful melodies. "The Days Of Our Lives" is a vocal led track with some guest sax 2 minutes in.This sounds like a contemporary Christian song. I do like the guitar late from Chandler that goes on and on. "Fusion" kicks in quickly and I really like the lead guitar from Holmes (IQ) that comes and goes.

"The Final Solution" is a vocal led track.There is a synth solo after 3 minutes. "The Picnic" is another track with Martin playing piano by himself. "The Overload" features all the IQ members except Holmes. So yeah we have Nicholls singing on this one which is my favourite track. It's interesting that Nicholls and Orford wrote this during the "Subterranea" sessions. "Tatras" opens with piano as this orchestral flavour accompanies.Orford sounds amazing on piano here. "Evensong" is an instrumental with orchestration and piano leading the way. Drums and a fuller sound after 2 1/2 minutes.

A good album but not very proggy, but then Martin (as the album's title suggests) was just trying to create good songs.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Martin Orford's first solo album is a collection of light songs mostly in the neo-prog vein you would expect of Orford if you are familiar with his work in Jadis or IQ - for my part, I think the material leans more towards the Jadis end of the spectrum than the IQ end, not least because of the lack of any complex and sophisticated epics and because of the occasional AOR leaning.

Unlike The Old Road, which seemed to be constructed as something of a conscious swansong for Orford prior to his retirement from the music industry, Classical Music and Popular Songs comes across as a side project - a chance to record a few pieces developed by Martin over the years which, for one reason or another, he never got to use with IQ, Jadis or John Wetton. In other words, it sounds like an odds and sods collection - an alright one with some good songs, but there's nothing here so compelling as to make it a necessary part of anyone's IQ or Jadis collections.

Review by kev rowland
5 stars It has been far too long in coming, but since Widge is in one or two bands, and does the odd bit of touring along with running a record label I suppose he has an excuse. Seriously, this is a solo album that many progheads have been looking forward to. No lyrics in the booklet, but a bit about each song and also the players. Martin has gathered around him musicians he has been playing with for years, so Dave Kilminster and John Wetton join him from, um, John Wetton, while the rest of Jadis are here and the rest of IQ, but only the final song has a 'complete' band line-up as Jadis play out with an instrumental. While Martin provides most of the vocals, John guests on one while Peter Nicholls guests on another.

The album opens with long held-down keyboard chords, with some lilting flute over the top, then some mandolin touches (all played by Martin) leading us gently into "The Field Of Fallen Angels". This soon goes into some Rush-style runs (with some great bass from JJ), then into a bombastic Jadis-style number. Martin is a great vocalist in his own right, as anybody who has caught him on a solo show will know, and it is wonderful to hear him on CD not just providing backing vocals. The song develops into a much more intricate keyboard-driven piece without ever losing the central theme before switching tracks altogether into a more acoustic piece.

By the end of that, I knew that this album was a winner. Up next was "A Part Of Me", which Martin co-wrote with John Wetton who provides the vocals. A fairly laid-back beginning with a repeated piano motif gave no hint of what was to come. It turns into a song that Asia would have been proud of, layered vocals and Gary Chandler and Dave Kilminster locking horns on guitar. A speeding keyboard/guitar harmony shows just how well these players understand each other. This song in itself is enough to make me want to grab each of you by the scruff of the neck and force you to buy this superb album.

There is the superb solo instrumental of "Quilmes" which Martin performs as a solo piece when on tour with John Wetton, or "Tatras" which is Martin's classical number. There is "Fusion" which used to feature in gigs by The Lens so lead guitarist on this is Michael Holmes. This is a fun uptempo number with some great guitar leads. Oh [&*!#], I could write about this album forever. I love it. If I have just time to mention one more song, then it ought to be "The Overload" which Martin co-wrote with Peter Nicholls who guests on vocals and is the closest thing to an IQ-style song on the CD. .

A great album from one of the nicest guys in the business. .

. Originally appeared in Feedback #60

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is a very enjoyable album by IQ's keyboardist (and multi-instrumentalist) showing us all his well-known compositive skills with IQ and JADIS, as much as his capabilities with flute and guitar playing, a clear voice (he could be the voice of IQ if this band neednīt a painted Gabriel-esqu ... (read more)

Report this review (#12619) | Posted by | Tuesday, March 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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