I didn’t have high hopes for this album when I first got it, but it was on sale, so I thought I would give it a try. There are many different albums out there of symphonies playing rock songs and I figured this would just be another one to add to the pile. However, I think this is one of the better albums out there that I have heard. The first thing that makes it great is the song selection. The track list is:
- ELP Suit: Tarkus/From the Beginning/Tarkus (Reprise)
- Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
- Jethro Tull – Thick As a Brick
- King Crimson – 21st Century Schizoid Man
- Focus – Focus II
- Moody Blues – Nights in White Satin
- Gentle Gian – Think of Me With Kindness
- Yes – Roundabout
- Genesis- Watcher of the Skies
- Rush – Red Barchetta
That is a great song selection filled with many bands that I enjoy. I think that since it is a collection of artists that are covered it makes it more interesting. I find that if it is just one artists being played by a symphony it starts off interesting, but I lose interest in the middle of album. By playing songs from different artists I think it helps hold my attention a bit better. The next thing that makes this album good is that while it is symphonic covers of the songs they still rock. The orchestra has a drummer to add the rockin’ beat and a few of the songs have guitarists to play the solos. The last thing that makes this album worth listening to is the guest musicians. Some of the songs have guests from the actual bands such as Gavin Harrison (drums) on “21st Century Schizoid Man” and Thijs Van Leer (flute) on “Focus II” while other songs bring in good session musicians to cover important parts such as Ian Bairnson (Alan Parson’s Project and Kate Bush) to play the guitar solo on “Comfortably Numb”.
If you want to enjoy some of your favorite prog rock songs in a symphonic style or if you just want a great symphonic/prog playlist then I recommend checking out the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Plays Prog Rock Classics. Here is just a taste from the album of them covering Yes’ “Roundabout” with Jimmy Greenspoon from Three Dog Night on organ.