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Deep Purple - Concerto for Group and Orchestra

On December 20, 1969, "Deep Purple" released their fourth album, "Concerto for Group and Orchestra".

This is a unique and groundbreaking album when it comes to combining Rock with Classical music and to the best of our knowledge it is the first album that documented a performance by an entire Philharmonic Orchestra with a Rock band, playing electric instruments.

Although "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" was not the first case of a rock band that combined classical accompaniment, even "Deep Purple" themselves did it before, There is no doubt that this album took the idea much further than anyone who has done it before, paving the way for so many combinations of rock and orchestra, among the best known of which are "S&M" by "Metallica", "Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra "By Yngwie Malmsteen and more.

For example, "The Moody Blues'" 1967 "Days of Future Passed" included classical compositions that usually began and ended most of the songs on it. But in the case of "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" it is one complete work, composed from beginning to end as one that combines all the instruments of a philharmonic orchestra, and the modern and electric instruments of a Rock band, as opposed to short melodies designed to accompany and decorate songs written by the band. More than that, while in the case of "The Moody Blues" the orchestral accompaniment was recorded in the studio and combined with the band's songs, in the case of "Deep Purple" the band and the symphony orchestra played together, live, on stage. Another significant difference is that in the case of "Deep Purple" the keyboardist Jon Lord wrote and composed the roles for the entire orchestra, while in the case of "The Moody Blues" the person who wrote the classical additions was the conductor of the orchestra that played the album - Peter Knight.

The person who came up with the idea for the work was Jon Lord, who has already experienced it on the band's two previous albums, the work "Anthem" from the album "The Book of Taliesyn" and the work "April" from the album "Deep Purple".

The work Lord wrote for this album is mostly instrumental, except for two excerpts that also included the band's lead singer Ian Gillan. The orchestra chosen to play the piece along with "Deep Purple", was the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of England, with the rock parts of "The Band" having a prominent dominance of Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord who are simply surpassing themselves.

The piece was divided into three parts: the opening section "Allegro", the second section "Andante" which also included the singing parts by Ian Gillan, and the third section "Presto" which included a drum solo by Ian Paice.

In 2002 a remastered version of the album was released, which beyond the main work that was composed by Jon Lord, included two excerpts from the band's repertoire: the instrumental track "Wring That Neck" from the album "The Book of Taliesyn" and an earlier version of the song "Child in Time" which will later be included as part of the "In Rock" album. In later releases, additional tracks were added to the album including the track "Hush" from the debut album "Shades Of Deep Purple".

The performance in which the piece was played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the tracks mentioned above, was held on September 24, 1969, at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The performance was also videotaped and aired on British television on April 4, 1970, with the concerto being portrayed by the announcer as "the best of both worlds".

It is interesting to note that this is actually the first full album of the MKII lineup of "Deep Purple", featuring singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover.

In honor of the album's 30 anniversary, "Deep Purple" asked to recreate the show, but then it was discovered that all the musical notes written by Jon Lord for all the orchestra players were lost. The notes were restored from the work by Lord, with the help of a fan musician and the result was the album and show "In Concert with The London Symphony Orchestra", which included the work in its entirety plus additional tracks, released in 2000.

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