Jon Lord and Hagen celebrate 100 years

Hagen 2491

Hagen Philharmonic Orchestra turned Friday night’s performance of Jon Lord’s ‘Concerto for Group and Orchestra’ into a victorious celebration of not only the orchestra’s own 100th anniversary, but also of Jon Lord’s versatile talents as a composer. The Hagen locals agreed and afforded the sold out show (1.200) a prolonged standing ovation at the end.

The concept of teaming up with a local orchestra to perform some of his orchestral pieces seems a successful (not to mention practical) way for Jon Lord to take his music ‘on the road’ more often.

Hagen Lord orchestra

The Concerto was performed for the first time without Jon Lord onstage. The group parts were played by local band DCRS, who had worked five years on this opportunity to perform Jon Lord’s classic work onstage.

Jon Lord has performed the Concerto some 40 odd times and in his introduction he also remarked that the piece is nearing its own 40th anniversary in 2009. Mentioning the orchestra’s anniversary, Jon Lord broke the ice by remarking dryly that he knows full well how long a 100 years is ..

Hagen Lord speaks sideview

A little tentative at first, the three movements of the Concerto at times seemed a tad slower than usual. Making the most of the evening, the DCRS band seemed to really pounce on their sections and guitarist Richard Güth and arranger and keyboard player Ralph Breitenbach even introduced inspired snippets of Purple classics in their solos (‘Speed King’ and ‘Mandrake Root’ respectively). Even the clarinet solo felt daringly jazzy.

Hagen Concerto manuscript

The three movements each filled their role in the overall structure of the piece. The first movement displayed the beauty of the orchestra and the brutality of the group, the second movement starting off ominously, then moving into carefully executed displays of musical co-existence between group and orchestral, with the third movement coming at full celebrational throttle and sounding amazingly fluid.

In general the Hagen Concerto was a moving and enjoyable reacquaintance with an old friend, allowing listeners new and old to enjoy all the signature traits of Jon Lord’s orchestral brush, painting moods of elation, contemplation, joy, temper and playfulness.

Hagen Jon concert closeup

The evening’s second half opened with a most welcome fierce and abbreviated version of ‘Fantasia’ from the ‘Sarabande’ album. This set the mood for a bombastic and emotional second set comprising pieces from Jon Lord’s solo albums, including for the first time in 30 years a full orchestral version of the ‘Sarabande’ title track.

‘The Telemann Experiment’ (from ‘Beyond the Notes’, 2004) was rhythmically elegant and groovy with Jon adding slight touches of boogie piano.

Hagen Lord Tanja
Tanja Schun with Jon Lord

The remainder of the show consisted of beautiful versions of ‘One From the Meadow’ and ‘Wait a While’ alternated with favourites from the ‘Sarabande’ album. ‘One from the Meadow’, gorgeously sung by Tanja Schun, moved the audience to possibly the evening’s longest applause afforded a single piece.

‘Sarabande’ remains a highlight of Jon Lord’s career. Most of it was written in California, where he lived at the time (1976), but it was recorded in Oererckenschwick, a small town near Dusseldorf not very far from Hagen. As such the swaying masterpiece title track came full circle on Friday, competently performed with ease and charm at Hagen Stadthalle with Ralph Breitenbach adding the synthesizer touches.

Hagen Lord Breitenbach
Jon Lord with Ralph Breitenbach

‘Gigue’ was the evening’s ‘display of fireworks’ closer, resplendently droused in Hammond and orchestral waves, grooving and bouncing from strength to strength. A genuine crowd pleaser and mood raiser, this piece never fails to impress and inspire.

Hagen Lord Hammond wide

Hagen Hammond volumeThe encore was a rousing version of John Miles’ ‘Music was my first love’ for which Jon Lord again took over the Hammond and delivered a striking solo.

The set:

Concerto for Group and Orchestra
1st movement
2nd movement
3rd movement


The Telemann Experiment
One From the Meadow
Wait a While

Music (by John Miles)

Hagen ovation

Hagen Philharmonic Orchestra
Piano and Hammond organ: Jon Lord
Vocals: Jefferey Krueger and Tanja Schun

Keyboards: Ralph Breitenbach
Guitar: Richard Güth
Bass: Gunnar Polanski
Drums: Niko Mareske

Add your own review in the comments below


5 thoughts on “Jon Lord and Hagen celebrate 100 years

  1. It was an amazing event.The whole evening was absolutely fantastic. The Hagen Orchestra played very well and also the band DCRS did a very good job.
    The female singer Tanja Schun has a wondeful voice and she did a great job while singing “One from the Meadow” and my all time favourite “Wait a While”.

    And finally what shall I say about Jon Lord. He play absolutely brilliant (as usual) and especially I like his great humour and all his jokes). More than 10 minutes of standing ovation after the concert….

  2. It was a beautiful evening! The connection between Jon, Tanja Schun and the orchestra was incredible! Thank you so much! And don’t forget in your article to mention the conductor of the orchestra : Gwennolé RUFET who gave a deep interpretation of the concerto and such an energy during all the concert!

  3. Thank you Sarah, you are right, conductor Gwennolé Rufet deserves praise for his efforts in making the Concerto (and everything else) sound so good.

  4. The concert was an amazing event, but it also has to be said that the Hagen orchestra wasn´t really first class. The French horns struggled badly from the beginning on (´Fanfare For The Common Man´) through the whole Concerto, the trumpets followed their way.
    DCRS was on the level of the orchestra. Guitar-player Richard Güth should have played more close to the Blackmore solos. Organist Ralph Breitenbach did well, but he shouldn´t have played at all with Jon Lord being in the same hall!
    The second part of the event was better, but the sound mix between band and orchestra was awful. The band was much too loud…
    However, singer Tanja Schun was a perfect substitute for Sam Brown, and even the orchestra picked up for ´Wait A While´ and ´Gigue´ at the end of the set.
    I was waiting for ´Bourree´ as perfect encore, but they played John Miles´ ´Music´. I still wonder why. It was a bad ending for this concert…
    Jon Lord should work only with top orchestras (Vienna Philharmonics, Berlin Philharmonics or London Symphonics) in the future and have his own band with him. (…and Sam Brown! …and Frida!)
    Praise the Lord!

  5. I think both my girlfriend Fanny an myself were the only french people present in the StadtHalle. It was our chance, we could meet Gwenollé Rufet, and we met also Werner (first violin) for a real frienchip (his wife is french). It was great.
    What a pleasure to see and hear Jon Lord playing with that ensemble and with that rockband. A kind of freshness resulted from that combination between maestria, spontaneousness and meticulousness… The result was simply a great human work.
    Merci pour tout, Jon, et bravo encore à Gwennolé et aux cinq musiciens du DCRB.
    For the french readers, we posted about that concert, reviews on a french forum : please take a look on those reviews (I write there under the pseudonym Mad Dog, and Fanny is So Deep)

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s