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Preparing for Purple and the classics in Essen

January 20, 2009

On February 3 Jon Lord will perform The Concerto for Group and Orchestra in Essen, Germany.

– When we did it in Hagen last February we were going do one night but so many people were interested that we had to do two nights. We got standing ovations.

– In the second half I play a couple of Deep Purple numbers that I have arranged for the orchestra as well as my own solo stuff, too. The concert itself is like a little journey from yesterday to today, if you like – a musical journey. Sometimes I also play with what I call local heroes. It’s always great to go to a town and play with some of the local drummers, bass players and guitar players, who want to play this.

– The Concerto will be 40 years old this year which is quite incredible. It seems that in the last 9-10 years it has found its audience. It was a very brave thing to do in 1969 and a very Hagen Lord Breitenbachoriginal and rather odd and strange thing to do for a rock band. I think it took me eight or 10 weeks to write. These were some of the most important 10 weeks of my life – and if you’d told me back then that we would still be playing it in 40 years time I would have not believed you. I would have called you mad.

– I was a certain kind of young man when I wrote that piece and it represents me 40 years ago. It was the first time I had ever written anything for a full orchestra. I had written for strings and woodwind before but never for a whole symphonic orchestra. So it was a crazy time but I did it – and I’m still playing it.

Zermatt closeup– It disappeared for many years and now it’s being played again and people genuinely seem to enjoy listening to it. Orchestras around the world are asking me, ‘Can we play it?’ It is wonderful to be an older musician and to have a piece that you have made, performed and composed all those years ago, sort of opening doors for people 40 years later.

– I get a different view of the piece every time I play it because everybody plays it differently. I was down in Australia doing it last April with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Their conductor took the opening incredibly slowly, very quiet and mysterious. It was wonderful to hear his view of my music. This is one of the great pluses and wonderful things that happens to you when you write music for orchestras; you hear different interpretations of it. That’s very exciting for me.

Jon Lord first performed with the Philharmonic Orchestra Hagen in February 2008.

– I was approached by the orchestra. These three or four musicians from the Westphalia Symphony Orchestra also liked to play rock and jazz, and their leader Ralph Breitenbach approached me three or four years ago and said that he and his rock band would love to play the Concerto for Group and Orchestra. As they were themselves orchestral musicians it made a nice thought that they would be stepping from one side to the other just for one night.

– As a result of that idea, Ralph Breitenbach went to the Philharmonic Orchestra Hagen to see if they were interested and they were. Then they approached me. That’s how it happened.

– I’m certainly looking forward to it. It’s going to be great to be back again with the Philharmonic Orchestra Hagen. They are good players and wonderful people and I’m looking very much forward to it. It will also be nice to be back in the Grugahalle – this time with an orchestra.

Jon Lord and the Philharmonic Orchestra Hagen play Grugahalle, Essen on February 3, 2009.

Special guest vocalists: Steve Balsamo and Kasia Laska.

Tickets still available.

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6 comments

  1. JON, dear, dear, dear Jon!
    Thank you so much for this wonderful evening in Essen. I wish I could have told you this personally, but as I was waiting for you at the stage door there was this nice security guy who told me to go home… 😛
    You know, my knees were shaking when I got up for the standing ovations. It was thrilling, or rather, it was GRAND. I knew the pieces from Pictured Within and Beyond the Notes before and I love them, but I didn’t know the Concerto, or Sarabande, and you know, I’m glad I didn’t. Because hearing them tonight for the very first time, I was practically overthrown. Smashed. Beaten up by their power.
    There is this deaf French actress, Emmanuelle Laborit, who wrote in her book that she likes to “listen” to music, because she can feel it. Tonight I understand what she talked about. I followed the Concerto with my ears and my fingertips.
    I must admit I’ve never even heard your name before “The sun will shine again”, but since then I’ve been a… well, an admirer of what you do. Most of all I enjoyed watching you tonight. You were so energetic, so very at ease with what you were doing. Aristocratic and wild at the same time. Sometimes it felt like the music was a wild beast which was about to run away, but then you came and tamed it. I don’t have another word but GRAND for this.
    Thank you very much, I hope with all my heart that you will continue with what you’re doing and that we’ll hear a lot more from you.
    Most sincerely,
    Anni, 19, from Bochum

    PS: Good luck for the rest of the concerts! Please be available at the stage door in Budapest in March, because my best friend is going and we wanted to ask you something.
    I doubt that you’re managing this website yourself, so I’d be very grateful if the webmasters could forward this to you. Love, A.


  2. Dear Jon,
    thanks for that great concert yesterday evening in Essen ! Thanks for THE CONCERTO and thanks for CHILD IN TIME ! I love these pieces for 39 years.
    Best Regards
    Crossvalley

    P.S. First I was shocked when someone disturbed the CONCERTO intro with a mobile phone. But later on my way home I thought: Who would have thought in 1969 that this piece of music would be played 40 years later introduced by a small electronic mobile phone device? I think this is the first step in the immortality of the CONCERTO…


  3. Dear Jon Lord,
    So here we were back again at the “Ruhrpott”, now in Essen, as last year in Hagen (twice), hearing the Concerto once again.
    And what a difference it was, having the original Hammond player, back where he belonged (no offense to Mr. Breitenbach).
    It was extremely pleasant, provoking happiness for three hours and more. The setlist was a little bit changed or should we say augmented ?
    Of course, “PW” and “BtN” are fantastic records, as was “Sarabande”, BUT, who would have guessed the return of the two further tunes from “that little band” as the return of “the Beast” ? I had the impression you played in full flight those two nights ago, as heavy, as inspirational, as leaving us all speechless, like in those long time passing duel-times with black-clothed enigma.
    My wife told me, I grinned like madness alive through the whole show, like having lost my sanity completely.

    A thousand thanks for bringing back the magic !

    all the best, til next time
    Hartmut (und Ulrike)


  4. Hey Jon,

    I can’t put that into words, but it was just amazing. It was relly great especially this unbelievable sound of your organ.You’re really inspiring with your music.I enjoyed this concert like not many others. It was really one of my biggest dreams catching you live in concert and listen to your great solos. Your music is so serious, theres relly something behind it, and thats what I love because I take music very serious.
    Now, one of the highlights in my life were those two minutes I met you backstage.Those were really one of the most exciting ones in my live!!!
    You might remember this 16 year old boy who asked you about Superdrumming, you know.
    Many people say if I’m talking about deep purple “okay,they werent really good,just smoke on the water…” I always say “shut up, their keyboarder wrote a huge concerto, one of the best pieces in classical music and did (and actually does!!!) every single night outstanding solos which sound always different!!!”.
    So thank you jon, for your music and that you were so kind and friendly when I met you afterwards.
    I hope that you somehow get to read this!!!

    P.S.:Your roadcrew was very friendly!!!


  5. When I read this article I am happy about people going to see the concert. Dear Jon don’t stop to do creative music. I am 39 years old and I like every of your themes. God bless you!


  6. The concert was one of the most moving, most wonderful, most exciting experiences I’ve had in ages! The sheer vastness of the orchestra needed for it, the wonderful themes you composed, the way rock music merges into classical music and classical music takes over again, or even both musical entities go together … it was enormous to finally hear this music live! I’ve known the Concerto since I was a teenager (which is a WHILE ago in my case, I’m afraid), and hadn’t listened to any recording in a long, long, long while, and still all the tunes came back immediately and I could almost hum along, which was good! You see, your music has stayed with me all my life, whether I KNEW about this or not. Couldn’t this be a sign that you might, indeed, have created something “eternal”??? I think this may VERY WELL mean just that!!! I am sooo happy to have been in that concert. Wow-wow-wow. And the guests I brought along, one of who had NO idea what he was letting himself into, were fascinated with the music, too!
    Thank you!



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