Review: His Lordship asked to ba-roque

lordschaftEx-Deep Purple keyboardplayer Jon Lord performed the symphonic “Concerto for Group and Orchestra” in the Grugahalle. The audience thanked with standing ovations.

As the last tunes of the encore “Child in Time” faded, the 1900 listeners in the theatre-style Grugahalle got up for another standing ovation. If it had been for the most people, the evening could really have started now, with the, for the interplay with the Philharmonic Orchestra Hagen re-arranged, Deep Purple classic – and of course with more Deep Purple songs. But it was all over, the common repertoire of the rock band DCRS and the 40-member Philharmonic Orchestra Hagen had quite simply run out.

In any case, the main theme was the by now 40-year-old “Concerto for Group and Orchestra” which Jon Lord wrote and performed together with the “Royal Philharmonic Orchestra” in London in 1969. Back then, the concept was to combine folksong and choral, romanticism and pop-ballad, jazz-harmony and rock-rhythm to a great symphonic concert, controversial up to daring.

Today, requests from symphonic orchestras from all over the world pile up, orchestras who want to go into the experiment and work out new target audiences. In the Grugahalle, the “Concerto” sounded up to date and fresh. With visible pleasure bassist met violist, e-guitarist met harpist and drummer met timpanist who fed each other lines within this symphonic frame.

It was the proof that the by now 67-year-old Jon Lord is musically a downright accomplished and versatile border crosser, who loves blues, jazz and classic, rock and baroque all the same and who knows how to swiftly transcribe them musically.

Contrasting to other attempts to merge rock and classic (“Nokia Night of the Proms”), the “Concerto” seems authentic and of one piece, a truly composed oeuvre.

The true experience of the evening, however, was the encounter with Jon Lord himself. How he stood at the Hammond organ that looked like an ancient desk, with his hair caught in a grey plait, in his black suit – that was cinema at its most.

The tunes he elicited the instrument sounded to wonderfully ancient that they could even without any orchestra be called classical. Even if Lord had stood on stage alone this evening in the Grugahalle – the standing ovations would have been certain. The Germanophile musician sketched his musical life’s work in anecdotes in the best British understatements.

And how he, “with this little band you might know” had once been in the Grugahalle and that his favourite studio in Cologne became a car dealership, “but good cars.” Only “Smoke on the water” was missing for the perfect concert – maybe next time, Mister Lord?

By Dirk Angenendt, © Neue Ruhr Zeitung
Translated from German by Annika Jobski


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