Sunday, April 26, 2015

CD Review: Prog-Rock Songs Gets Classical Treatment From The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Over the last few years, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has strayed away from their classical basis to take on a new challenge with progressive rock music. They released an album last year of the RPO performing the song of Rush and have now expanded their horizons with their latest work "The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Plays Prog Rock Classics." This new ten-song release dives deeper into these well-known rock hits and showcases them in a different light that only enhances the song's legendary status.

Beginning with the "ELP Suite: Tarkus/From The Beginning/Tarkus (reprise)" the RPO is off and running at top speed to keep up with the song's tempo. The music begins to settle down with their fulfilling performance of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" featuring guitarist Ian Bairnson (Alan Parsons Project) with an electrifying extended cover of David Gilmour's iconic guitar solo. They condense the Jethro Tull epic "Thick As A Brick" down to six-and-a-half minutes, before showcases the RPO's full potential with the intricacy on King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" featuring touring Crimson drummer Gavin Harrison and prog-rock guitarist Guthrie Govan. If any song was created for this setting, it has to be the Moody Blues' "Nights In Whits Satin" as the song's original melody plays through this piece featuring a harmonica solo by the great Mark Feltham. The album closes with a pair of songs that embodies progressive rock, beginning with the lush orchestration of Genesis' "Watcher Of The Skies." Then, Rush's "Red Barchetta" builds up the intensity once again with its energetic rhythm and amazing guitar interludes supplied by Iron Maiden's Adrian Smith. To find out more about this release, please visit

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