Deep Purple Concerto For Group And Orchestra

Years before Kiss and Metallica attempted to translate their music for a symphony and failed, Deep Purple (classic rockers and arguably amongst heavy metal music's forefathers) had done it with success while escaping pretension. For one night in 1969, the band invited conductor Malcolm Arnold and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to accompany them for a night in 1969 at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall, and since Deep Purple's albeit heavier music lent itself to classical rhythms and tones, the experiment worked decently, although the resultant pieces aren't exactly memorable. The three movements play out like standard epic movie soundtrack pieces, which are best suited for background listening, with each faction playing their parts for the majority of the time in a fragmented manner to suspenseful cat and mouse rhythms, as opposed to an overlap or marriage of their sounds. The major highlights of this hour-long performance are when Deep Purple (in their pre-Machine Head days) take charge, playing out full-on psychedelic funk-rock, with every player on top of their game, save Lord, who seems too preoccupied trying to keep the regimented musical ball on track with the elderly symphonists, and the excellent documentary direction, lighting and editing, which covers only the necessary musical moments, never missing a beat. The occasional shots of audience members (it's easy to pick out the hipsters versus the serious scholastic types) and the much older, bewildered orchestra members grooving (or trying to) to the band's rock moments are rather amusing as well. The only true surreal element to this presentation is the superb remixing and remastering of the audio, as its resolution is superior to that of the two-inch source video tape that the affair was filmed on. Extras: insightful commentary by composer and keyboardist Jon Lord; still photographs. (Abbey Road/Eagle Vision/EMI)