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classical rock

Musicians who combine rock or pop and classical have always interested me.

There’s undoubtedly a PhD to be written about what people like Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson and the late Jon Lord produced in the late 60s and early 70s.

Stuart Maconie’s programme yesterday on Radio 4 – Rock ‘n’ Roll In Four Movements – revisited some of the genre’s finest and not so finest moments.

It’s well worth a listen – particularly the sequence about ELO’s 10538 Overture, which came from Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne ‘messing about,’ as Wood described it, at a session for Birmingham band The Move.

Rick Wakeman also gets chance to reprise his best stories about ‘King Arthur on ice.’

And the bursts of ELP reminded me why I find listening to their classical hybrids now a bit of an ordeal.

The band though did introduce me to Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures At An Exhibition,’ their 1971 album which me and my fellow teenage musos felt at the time was ‘cool.’

Not so much classical hybrid as bona fide cover version.

Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s original piano version is of course sumptuous.

But it’s the original I return to time after time, particularly Barry Douglas’s 1986 recording, which I’ve worn out several copies of.

Emerson Lake and Palmer – Promenade/Baba Yaga’s Hut

Barry Douglas – Great Gate Of Kiev

Rock ‘n’ Roll In Four Movements – BBC iPlayer

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