Concerto for Group and Orchestra
|Concerto for Group and Orchestra|
|Live album by|
|Released||20 December 1969 (US)|
January 1970 (UK)
|Recorded||24 September 1969|
|Genre||Classical crossover, progressive rock|
|Deep Purple chronology|
Concerto for Group and Orchestra is an album by Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Arnold, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall, London, in September 1969. It consists of a concerto composed by Jon Lord, with lyrics written by Ian Gillan. It was released on vinyl in December 1969. The original performance included three additional Deep Purple songs, "Hush", "Wring That Neck", and "Child in Time"; these were included on a 2002 release.
The 1969 performance was among the first combinations of rock music with a full orchestra; predating works such as Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (1972), Rick Wakeman's Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1974), Roger Waters' The Wall – Live in Berlin performance (1990), and Metallica's S&M concert (1999).
The original score for the concerto was lost in 1970; however, it was performed again in 1999 with a recreated score, and has been performed several times since.
Original 1969 Royal Albert Hall performance
The programme consisted of:
|1.||"Symphony No. 6, Op. 95" (Malcolm Arnold)
||The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra||25:13|
|2.||"Hush" (Joe South)||Deep Purple||4:42|
|3.||"Wring That Neck" (Ritchie Blackmore, Nick Simper, Jon Lord, Ian Paice)||Deep Purple||13:23|
|4.||"Child in Time" (Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Lord, Paice)||Deep Purple||12:06|
|5.||"Concerto for Group and Orchestra" (Jon Lord, with lyrics by Ian Gillan)
||Deep Purple |
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
|6.||"Parts of the Concerto's "Third Movement" (Given as an encore.)||5:53|
|for Group and Orchestra|
|by Jon Lord|
|Duration||About 50-55 minutes|
|Scoring||Orchestra and group|
|Date||24 September 1969|
|Location||Royal Albert Hall, London|
Concerto for Group and Orchestra is split into three movements.
- First movement (Moderato – Allegro)
- After an extended orchestral introduction, the group and orchestra work as separate blocks, trying to get dominance over the main theme and working as antagonists to each other. There are cadenzas for electric guitar and clarinet.
- Second movement (Andante), with lyrics sung by Ian Gillan
- This movement is based around two tunes that are played in various different arrangements by the orchestra and the group, individually and together. After a combined pop / blues version of the second tune, there is an organ cadenza followed by a quiet ending by the orchestra.
- Third movement (Vivace – Presto)
- Apart from Ian Paice's drum solo, the music combines the orchestra and group together in a "free for all". The movement alternates between 6/8 and 2/4 time signatures.
The Concerto was first performed at the Albert Hall in London on 24 September 1969 with Deep Purple and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Arnold. It was performed at second time at the Hollywood Bowl on 25 August 1970, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lawrence Foster, after which the score was lost.
Concerto for Group and Orchestra was released on vinyl in December 1969 in the United States (Tetragrammaton) and in January 1970 in the United Kingdom (Harvest). These releases contained only the "Concerto", with the second movement broken in two-halves. Copies of the original US editions are rare as Tetragrammaton went bankrupt while the album was still being issued. In the following year, the Concerto became the only Tetragrammaton release to be reissued by Warner Bros., Deep Purple's new US label. On 4 April 1970, the Concerto was shown on British television as The Best of Both Worlds. The 1990s saw a CD release including the songs "Wring That Neck" and "Child in Time". In 2002 EMI released special edition DVD-A, SACD and 2-CD sets of Concerto for Group and Orchestra, featuring the entire program of music played that night. In 2003, a video recording of this concert was released on DVD. However, four and a half minutes of the 1st Movement are missing in this video, as it was taken straight from the BBC's 4 April 1970 broadcast of the event (see above). The edit was in the original BBC broadcast.
|1.||"First Movement: Moderato — Allegro"|
|2.||"Second Movement: Andante Part 1"|
|3.||"Second Movement: Andante Conclusion"|
|4.||"Third Movement: Vivace — Presto"|
|3.||"Wring That Neck"||13:24|
|4.||"Child in Time"||12:02|
|5.||"First Movement: Moderato - Allegro"||19:21|
|6.||"Second Movement: Andante"||19:11|
|7.||"Third Movement: Vivace - Presto"||13:09|
|8.||"Encore: Third Movement: Vivace - Presto (Part)"||5:52|
1999 Royal Albert Hall performances
|Concerto for Group and Orchestra (album)|
|Released||4 April 1970 (TV), 6 May 2003 (DVD)|
|Recorded||24 September 1969|
|Genre||Classical crossover, progressive rock|
|Length||52:30 The Best of Both Worlds|
|Deep Purple video chronology|
On 25 and 26 September 1999, thirty years after its initial performance, the Concerto was again performed in front of a live audience in the Royal Albert Hall. To make this performance possible, a new score was created by Lord with the assistance of Paul Mann and Marco de Goeij by listening to the recording and watching the video of the 1969 performance.
- The London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Paul Mann
The programme consisted of:
- Four Scottish Dances (Malcolm Arnold), performed by the London Symphony Orchestra
- "Pictured Within", performed by Jon Lord and Miller Anderson
- "Wait A While", performed by Jon Lord and Sam Brown
- "Sitting in a Dream", performed by Roger Glover and Ronnie James Dio
- "Love Is All", performed by Roger Glover and Ronnie James Dio
- "Via Miami", performed by Ian Gillan
- "That's Why God Is Singing the Blues", performed by Ian Gillan
- "Night Meets Light", performed by The Steve Morse Band
- "Take It off the Top", performed by The Steve Morse Band
- "Wring That Neck", performed by Ian Paice & The Kick Horns
- Concerto for Group and Orchestra (Jon Lord, with lyrics by Ian Gillan), performed by Deep Purple and The London Symphony Orchestra
- "First Movement: Moderato-Allegro" (19:23)
- "Second Movement: Andante" (19:11)
- "Third Movement: Vivace-Presto" (13:09)
- "Ted the Mechanic", performed by Deep Purple and The London Symphony Orchestra
- "Watching the Sky", performed by Deep Purple and The London Symphony Orchestra
- "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming", performed by Deep Purple and The London Symphony Orchestra
- "Pictures Of Home", performed by Deep Purple and The London Symphony Orchestra
- "Smoke on the Water", performed by the evening's entire ensemble
A recording of the concert was released on a double CD as Live at the Royal Albert Hall. A cut recording of the performance was also released on DVD, entitled In Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Encouraged by the success of the 1999 performances, Deep Purple took the Concerto on tour, first performing it in South America with local orchestras, then in Europe with the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, in Japan with the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, all conducted by Paul Mann.
40th anniversary performance
On 24 September 2009 Jon Lord joined the RTÉ Concerto Orchestra in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, Ireland to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first performance of Concerto for Group and Orchestra. Also performed, were pieces from Jon Lord's solo career and a number of Deep Purple songs including an orchestral version of Child In Time.
The score of the concerto having been recreated, groups and orchestras across the world were free to perform it:
|Sydney Opera House, Australia for the Sydney Festival||George and The Sydney Symphony Orchestra|
|Perth, Australia||Jon Lord, George and The Western Australian Symphony Orchestra|
|July 2006||Henley Festival, England|
|7 October 2007||Malcolm Arnold Festival, Northampton, England||Jon Lord and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra|
|This festival in memory of the late Malcolm Arnold also included Arnold's Symphony No. 6 and Lord's Masque, a work dedicated to Arnold.|
|27–29 March 2008
|Adelaide, Australia||Jon Lord and The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra|
|11–12 March 2009
|Bratislava, Slovakia||Jon Lord and The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra|
|2 May 2009||São Paulo, Brazil||Jon Lord and Orquestra Sinfônica Municipal de São Paulo|
|1 September 2009||Plovdiv, Bulgaria||Jon Lord with singers Doogie White and Kasia Łaska, Darin Vasilev (guitar), Ivaylo Zvezdomirov (bass), Venko Poromanski (drums) and Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nayden Todorov|
|5 November 2009||Bucharest, Romania||Jon Lord and Rousse Orchestra|
|16 May 2010||Newark, Delaware, United States||Brian Stone and the University of Delaware Symphony Orchestra|
|16 June 2010||Liverpool, United Kingdom||Jon Lord and The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra|
|28 April 2011||Palermo, Italy||Jon Lord and The Vincenzo Bellini Symphony Orchestra|
|6 June 2011||Mulhouse, France||Jon Lord with singers Steve Balsamo, Kasia Łaska and Patrick Rondat (guitar), Patrice Guers (bass), Steve White (drums) and the Orchestre Symphonique de Mulhouse. Musical direction by Gwennolé Rufet.|
|21–22 November 2019||Palais Montcalm, Québec, Canada||50th anniversary performance and Canadian premiere featuring Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson, The Paul Deslauriers Band and the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec. Musical direction by Paul Mann.|
2012 studio version
In October 2012, a studio version of the Concerto for Group and Orchestra was released. The recording features the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann. The soloists are Jon Lord (organ), Darin Vasilev (guitar in the 1st movement), Joe Bonamassa (guitar in the 2nd movement), Steve Morse (guitar in the 3rd movement), Steve Balsamo, Kasia Łaska, and Bruce Dickinson (vocals), Brett Morgan (drums), and Guy Pratt (bass). The orchestral parts were recorded at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool on 1 and 2 June 2011. The band parts were recorded in August and October 2011 and also in May 2012. The album was mixed at Abbey Road Studios in late May 2012. According to Paul Mann, Jon Lord heard the final master of the recording a few days before his death on 16 July 2012.
Malcolm Arnold's views
What strikes me about Deep Purple is their tremendous musical integrity. This is so refreshing in a commercial world. I loved working with them. They're thorough musicians. They're not trying to prove anything. They just like to play now and again with a Symphony Orchestra. They're not trying to prove any deep philosophical problem. They just want to write music that's enjoyable.
Ritchie Blackmore's views
I was not into classical music then. I was very very moody and just wanted to play very very loudly and jump around a lot. I couldn't believe we were playing with orchestras. We kept getting lumbered playing with them. We started off in '68 – this is my opinion – as a relatively competent band with a lot to say but saying it all at the same time as each other. In '69 we went into the classical stuff because it was Jon Lord's big thing to write a concerto for group and orchestra. He was very sincere, but I didn't like playing it or respect the fact that we were doing it. The orchestra was very condescending towards us, and I didn't like playing with them, so it was one big calamity onstage. But Jon was happy with it and management was happy with it because we had a press angle, which I resented very much.
In 1970 I said, 'right, we're going to make a rock and roll LP. If this doesn't succeed I'll play in orchestras for the rest of my life', because Jon wasn't too into hard rock. Luckily it took off, so I didn't have to play with orchestras any more.
I love orchestras, chamber music—unaccompanied violin is my favourite. But I respected them too much, and we just weren't in the same calibre. I'd been playing 15 years at the time, and stuck next to some dedicated violinist who's been playing for 50 years just to give an angle to the press—it's insulting. That's why it started and ended very abruptly.
- Jon Lord: keyboards
- Ritchie Blackmore: guitar
- Ian Gillan: vocals
- Roger Glover: bass
- Ian Paice: drums
- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: orchestral instruments
- Malcolm Arnold: conductor
- Original album (1969)
- Reunion performance (1999)
- Jon Lord's studio version (2012)
- Concerto for Group and Orchestra (Media notes). Harvest Records. 1970. SHVL 767.
- brendanball (13 September 2012). "Jon Lord – Concerto for Group and Orchestra". Brendan Ball's Blog o-iii. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
- "40th Concerto anniversary in Dublin". Jon Lord - The Official Website. 17 June 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- RTÉ. "RTÉ - Orchestras". Rte.ie. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Eder, Bruce. Concerto for Group and Orchestra at AllMusic
- "The Malcolm Arnold Society". Musicweb-international.com. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- Sounds, December 15, 1979
Vincent Budd, The Gemini Man: an Introduction to the Orchestral Works of Jon Lord, 2003, Gnosis Press