Wakeman, Rick - Classical Variations

Year of Release: 2002
Label: President
Catalog Number: RWCD 36
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:29:00

Anyone knowing part of the lavish history of Rick Wakeman certainly knows about his classical background. Having received tuition at a very tender age, Rick was enlisted in numerous competitions, winning lots of them. It was his parent's dream to see young Rick, their only child, become a concert pianist and I can imagine mother Mildred and father Cyril being ever so proud when Rick was allowed to study at the world famous Royal College of Music. It was there that he became aware that there was tougher competition than he had ever witnessed during the many competitions he had done over the years. Our Rick was good yet not good enough to become the concert pianist his parents hoped for. The contact with producers Tony Visconti and Gus Dudgeon made Rick a session musician heavily in demand and the rest, as they say, is history. Nevertheless Rick has never denied how important classical music has been in his life and in fact still is to this day.

Recalling Prokofiev as the most important influence in his life it is therefore a bit strange that from the ten Wakeman interpretations of classical masterpieces offered here not one is from the talents of Prokofiev. Instead Rick treats us to those compositions which sound oh so well on the grand piano, subtle, fragile and played with an immense ease. He adds his unmistakable signature by means of the now legendary "loops" played with a tremendous speed, only to land on the appropriate note in exactly the correct time. So what you get here are ten "classics" yet treated as Wakeman "variations."

Just close your eyes and imagine you are sitting around the dining table in a "normal" house in Perivale, London flanked by Mr. & Messrs. Cyril Wakeman who have invited you over to drink tea and listen to the sheer talent of their son Rick. I dare to imagine that this happened rather frequently once young Rick was being followed by the media, being very talented indeed, and being able to become a big name for himself in only a matter of years. In the credits Rick explains why he has recorded this material in the first place. He says : "it has been common practice throughout the centuries for composers to take the music of their contemporaries and prepare new arrangements or variations on suitable themes in order to give a further interpretation to some of the world's greatest music. It has long been an ambition of mine to create an album by taking some of my own personal favourite classical pieces and perform them in a style that I hope the original composers would approve of. Perhaps more relevant than anything else for the listener is to realise that it is the strength and musicality of the original compositions that enables such an exercise to be undertaken." In a way Rick is correct in saying this and I do hope that in years to come young composers and musicians will tackle Rick's very own work in a similar way.

So in the meantime Classical Variations enables you to play some Rick Wakeman music without it having to be some of his bombastic epics, without the use of a band or sequencers. One man and one piano. Rick Wakeman and one grand piano. Rick Wakeman and ten outstanding classical pieces of music that will please everyone with ease. Muzak? Not if you take the trouble to delve in the subtle details that Wakeman has added to the sheer genius of these compositions. Just marvel at Faur?'s "Pavane," although one would of course love to hear that piano backed by a huge orchestral sound, where a thousand violins try their best to enhance the melody even more. Yet there are no strings but added arpeggios and magic out of Wakeman's "musical box of tricks." More than thirty years after Rick's Piano Vibrations album the piano is once again the focal point, illustrating the immense talent of the one and only Rick Wakeman, a classical composer in his own right.

Pathétique (Beethoven) (6:22) / Meditation (Massenet) (4:42) / O, My Beloved Father (Puccini) (5:31) / O, For The Wings Of A Dove (Mendelssohn) (4:18) / Pavane (Fauré) (6:56) / Berceuse (Fauré) (4:42) / Largo (Händel) (3:04) / The Swan (Saint-Saéns) (4:25) / Where'er You Walk (Händel) (6:15) / Variations On The New World Symphony (Dvorak) (10:14)

Rick Wakeman - piano

Piano Vibrations (1971)
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII (1973)
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (1974)
Lisztomania (1975)
The Myths & Legends Of King Arthur & The Knights Of The Round Table (1975)
No Earthly Connection (1976)
Rick Wakeman's Criminal Record (1977)
White Rock (1977)
Animal Showdown (1979)
Rhapsodies (1979)
I'm So Straight I'm A Weirdo (1980)
1984 (1981)
The Burning (OST) (1981)
Rock N Roll Prophet (1982)
Cost Of Living (1983)
G'ole! (1983)
Crimes Of Passion (OST) (1984)
Live At Hammersmith (1985)
Lytton's Diary (1985)
Silent Nights (1985)
Country Airs (1986)
The Family Album (1987)
The Gospels (1987)
20th Anniversary Limited Edition (1988)
A Suite Of Gods (1988)
Custer's Last Stand/Ocean City (1988)
Time Machine (1988)
Zodiaque (1988)
Black Knights At The Court Of Ferdinand IV (1989)
Sea Airs (1989)
Phantom Power (1990)
In The Beginning (1990)
Night Airs (1990)
Phantom Power (1990)
2000AD Into The Future (1991)
African Bach (1991)
Aspirant Sunrise (1991)
Aspirant Sunset (1991)
Aspirant Sunshadows (1991)
Rock N Roll Prophet Plus (1991)
Softsword (1991)
The Classical Connection (1991)
Best Works Collection (1992)
Country Airs (1992)
Classic Tracks (1993)
No Expense Spared (1993)
Prayers (1993)
The Classical Connection 2 (1993)
The Heritage Suite (1993)
Unleashing The Tethered One - The 1974 North American Tour (1993)
Wakeman With Wakeman (1993)
Light Up The Sky (1994)
Live On The Test (1994)
Lure Of The Wild (1994)
Rick Wakeman's Greatest Hits (1994)
The Stage Collection (1994)
Wakeman With Wakeman - The Official Bootleg (1994)
Wakeman With Wakeman Live (1994)
Almost Live In Europe (1995)
Cirque Surreal (1995)
Rick Wakeman In Concert (1995)
Rock & Pop Legends (1995)
Romance Of The Victorian Age (1995)
The Piano Album (1995)
The Private Collection (1995)
The Seven Wonders Of The World (1995)
Visions (1995)
Can You Hear Me? (1996)
Fields Of Green (1996)
Orisons (1996)
Tapestries (1996)
The New Gospels (1996)
The Word And Music (1996)
Vignettes (1996)
Voyage (1996)
Welcome A Star (1996)
Fields Of Green '97 (1997)
Simply Acoustic - The Music (1997)
Tribute (1997)
Master Series (1998)
Themes (1998)
Official Live Bootleg (1999)
Return To The Centre Of The Earth (1999)
Stella Bianca Alla Corte De Re Ferdinando (1999)
The Masters (1999)
The Natural World Trilogy (1999)
White Rock II (1999)
Christmas Variations (2000)
Chronicles Of Man (2000)
Morning Has Broken (2000)
Preludes To A Century (2000)
Recollections - The Very Best Of Rick Wakeman (2000)
Rick Wakeman The Legend Live In Concert 2000 (2000)
The Caped Collection (2000)
Classical Variations (2001/2002)
Simply Acoustic (2001)
Out Of The Blue (2001)
Two Sides Of Yes (2001/2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 1 - The Real Lizstomania (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 2 - The Oscar Concert (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 3 - The Missing Half (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 4 - Almost Classical (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 5 - The Mixture (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 6 - Medium Rare (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 7 - Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 8 - Stories (2002)
Two Sides Of Yes - Volume II (2002)
Wakeman & Cousins -Hummingbird (2002)
Out There (2003)
Retro (2006)
Retro 2 (2007)
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII Live At Hampton Court Palace (2009)
Always With You (2010)
Past, Present, and Future (2010)
Anderson/Wakeman - The Living Tree (2010)
In The Nick Of Time-Live In 2003 (2012)

Journey To The Center Of The Earth Live In 1975 (2001/2002) (DVD)
Rick Wakeman The Legend Live In Concert 2000 (DVD) (2001/2002)
Rick Wakeman & The English Rock Ensemble - Live In Buenos Aires (DVD) (2001/2002)
Rick Wakeman & The English Rock Ensemble - Out There (DVD) (2004)
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth Live In 1975 - 30th Anniversary Edition (DVD) (2005)
Made In Cuba (DVD) (2005)
Amazing Grace (DVD) (2007)
The Other Side Of Rick Wakeman (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 1 - 1975 Live At Empire Pool, King Arthur On Ice (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 2 - Live At The Maltings 1976 (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 3 - Live 1980 Swedish Television Special (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 4 - 1984 Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 1981 (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 5 - Night Music (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 6 - Rarities Plus Interview (DVD) (2007)
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII Live At Hampton Court Palace (DVD/BR) (2009)
Classical Wakeman Volume 1 - Live In Lugano (2010)

Genre: Other

Origin UK

Added: February 8th 2002
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.rwcc.com
Hits: 562
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]