Review: Thrilling cross-over

Der Westen reviews Jon Lord’s recent concert in Siegen, Germany.

At crossover projects, fans of classical music like to ask if the classical part on its own is musically interesting, especially with music such as Jon Lord’s ‘Concerto for Group and Orchestra’.

Originally intended as a bridge building excercise, a the Siegerlandhalle the opposed musical poles certainly appeared to be in confrontation. But impulses from one world enlivened the other, and what was planned as bridge building in 1969 was understood 40 years later as a symbiosis by an audience which has digested many listening experiences.

There is a huge bang when the rock band breaks into the symphonic structure and big pathos emerge when in the end a new commonness is created: when the symphonic orchestra has taken over rock rhythms and the rock band is allowed to become infected with symphonic lyricisms of strings and brass.

The classical parts were certainly demanding. Jon Lord has written a symphonic score where colourful spaces of sound as well as solo passages are challenging. Through the successful hands of the masterful conductors Jon Lord and Russel N. Harris the juxtapositioned two musical worlds became as one.

The community feeling that emerged during the first part of the concert lead to unity of rock and classic in the second half. Out of a provocative experiment grew harmony, where the protagonists ended up supporting each other.

The second half started with Deep Purple’s ‘Pictures Of Home. Demon’s Eye’s guitarist Mark Zyk made his presence felt with one of his virtuouso solos and got spontaneous applause. Bernd Martin, singer of the tribute band, took over musical duties together with guest singer Kasia Laska.

For ‘The Sun Will Shine Again’ Jon Lord – one of rock’s very few classically trained organ players – played the piano and demonstrated thus the swap from rock to classic. He made this change a couple of times until the long awaited highlight. With standing ovations the audience was demanding encores and was awarded a special finale with ‘Child In Time’.

What many had been hoping for came true: Jon Lord launched into ‘Child In Time’ on the Hammond. Deep Purple don’t play it any more, but the screaming challenge was taken up in Siegen with great success by Kasia Laska and Bernd Martin.


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