Jon Lord : Concerto For Group And Orchestra

Listening to this album was always going to be emotional. It was the very last thing Jon Lord recorded before he passed away earlier this year. In fact the mixing was only completed just 2 or 3 weeks beforehand, and I’ve been trying to decide whether I’m worthy of reviewing this magnum opus. Can I do it justice?

This is an album of classical music, in the truest sense of the word. I could easily be listening to any of the great classical composers from the start such is the quality of the arrangements. Then, of course, the modern twist kicks in. This album features some of the finest musicians around at the moment, and to list them all would really miss the point. What this album does, is mix new and old, classical music and classic rock.

Not in the same way as say ELP’s Fanfare For The Common Man or the rock plus orchestra albums like Metallica’s S&M  or Scorpion’s Moment Of Glory. No, this is built from the ground up, with the rock music arranged around the orchestra, rather than the orchestra arranged around the rock music. It makes for some fascinating soundscapes, and listening to it is like wrapping yourself in a cocoon and shutting yourself away from the rest of the world.

Seriously, this album took me to places I never thought possible and Jon’s talent as a musician and a composer couldn’t have gotten a better stage to shine. We all know him as one of the finest musicians to ever have graced our planet, but this is unbelievable. It tells a story from start to finish, and you can immerse yourself right into it. You feel as though you’re part of the music, twisting and turning as you’re carried away by some invisible force.

I will profess to liking a lot of classical music, although not all of it by any means. This album is not in the “heavy classic” vein, as it’s fairly light hearted. It’s skipping along one minute, then comes soothing melody, and then it builds and builds into a huge crescendo, and then it veers off in another direction altogether. It’s extremely well put together, and it has a great many surprises along the way.

All in all, this is a musical celebration, an album of such quality, I’m sure that it could go down as one of the finest musical compositions of the modern world. Jon hasn’t just left us with a great album here, but his legacy, and this album shows just how lucky we were, just to have been able to hear him play. I have been truly humbled listening to this album, and I don’t mind admitting that it brought more than one lump to my throat. This is as beautiful as music can ever be, and we should be honoured just to hear it. I know that I am.