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Munich review: ‘Two royal children find themselves’

December 16, 2010

Jon Lord’s concert in Munich on November 21, 2010, reviewed by Joachim Buch of Augsburger Allgemeinde:

Munich If you want to combine the sound of a classical orchestra and a rock band, it often brings up the saying about the two royal children to mind: They couldn’t come together. One of the few musicians who succeeded with the synthesis is British Jon Lord.

Long-standing organ player for hardrock band Deep Purple, he enthused fans of classical music as well as rock fans at Munich‘s Gasteig-Philharmonie, together with Filmorchester Babelsberg and German Deep Purple coverband Demon’s Eye.

Lord himself guided the audience through the program with British humour. Opening with his 41 years old “baby”, as he lovingly calls his first big opus Concerto for Group and Orchestra. This piece in three movements traces the approach between rock music and classical orchestra sound. At the beginning it’s pure contrast: Orchestra and rock band play and handle the themes uncompromisingly in their own ways.

In contrary to the original, the slow movement as caesura and “lull in the battle” was divided between two singers. Steve Balsamo had a bit of Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan’s style. Kasia Laska sang over entrancingly beautiful piano passages.

During the Concerto’s finale some kind of equality is finally reached. Here, orchestra and band are making music quasi at eye level, with fast Gigue-like 6/8 rhythm and it’s vicinity to shuffle-rock contributing a lot to overcome those borders.

After the intermission they presented a successful mix of old Deep Purple numbers and Lord’s compositions. In Pictures of Home the orchestra, lively conducted by Scott Lawton, excelled with a new intro.

Recently thoughtful notes
Most attendants knew their Jon Lord, and so already after the first bars of Bourrée from the Sarabande album, applause arose. With its long crescendo and the permanently changing instrumentation of the main theme, a formal likeliness with Ravel’s Bolero could not be ignored.

Then Pictured Within, which originated at the end of the nineties and couldn’t be omitted here, reflexive notes dominate Jon Lord’s work. Big applause for Lord and the orchestra’s principal cellist.

With Gigue from Sarabande orchestra and band hit the home run, after which two Deep Purple tracks rang out as encores: Soldier of Fortune from the album Stormbringer – with Lord as sub-conductor for the rock band – and Child in Time, which didn’t need any announcement for this audience containing a big portion of old rockers.

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