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Jon Lord – Sarabande
Label: Purple Records – 2J 062-97943
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Style: Symphonic Rock
Record Company – EMIAL
Recorded At – Stadthalle Oer-Erkenschwick
Pressed By – Columbia, Athens – 5233
Bass – Paul Karass*
Bongos, Congas, Timbales, Rototoms [Roto-Tom], Talking Drum [Israeli ” Talking ” Drum], Drum, Wood Block, Claves, Triangle, Cabasa, Idiophone [Flexitone], Maracas, Effects [Thunder Sheet], Tam-tam, Gong [Water Gong], Siren, Vibraslap, Cymbal, Finger Cymbals, Cymbal [Crotales], Bells [Sleigh Bells], Percussion [Gourds], Guiro, Tambourine – Mark Nauseef
Composed By, Producer, Organ [Hammond], Piano [Rmi, Steinway], Grand Piano [Yamaha], Synthesizer [Arp Soloist Pro, Arp Odyssey, String Ensemble], Clavinet, Score – Jon Lord
Drums, Gong, Bells [Sleigh Bells], Shaker – Pete York
Guitar – Andy Summers [founding member of the rock band the Police]
Mixed By, Producer – Martin Birch
Orchestra – Philharmonia Hungarica
Orchestrated By, Conductor – Eberhard Schöner*
1st Greek issue.
Made in Greece by EMI.
Composed and scored between January and August 1975 in Munich, Germany.
Recorded between 3rd and 6th of September 1975 at the Stadthalle Oer-Erckenschwick, Germany.
Matrix / Runout (Side A Label): TPSA.7516A
Matrix / Runout (Side B Label): TPSA.7516B
Matrix / Runout (Runout Side A): TPSA 7516 A-1 NICK W.
Matrix / Runout (Runout Side B): TPSA 7516 B-1 NICK W.
Other: A/A 5233
Other: MT 5233
Sarabande is the second solo album by Jon Lord recorded in September 1975 near Düsseldorf (Germany). The orchestra Philharmonia Hungarica was conducted by Eberhard Schoener.
The complete Sarabande suite was premiered in live performance in Budapest on 18 September 2010 and later in Sofia on 30 October and Essen on 15 November. Lord amended the 1975 orchestrations, and also orchestrated Aria, which was played on piano and synthesisers on the recording, and Caprice which was simply a group performance on record. ‘Finale’ was rearranged to allow the ‘parade of themes’ section (which was done with tape-loops on the recording) to be played live.
The cover shows the drawing of an ouroboros, a mythological snake, biting its own tail on which three naked women ride. The woman on the right stands in a position similar to the woman on the cover of Whitesnake’s later Lovehunter album, on which Lord played. The original Jon Lord sleeve was designed by Kosh, and the illustration by Mike Bryan.
In early Deep Purple recordings, Lord had appeared to be the leader of the band. Despite the cover songs “Hush” and “Kentucky Woman” becoming hits in North America, Deep Purple never made chart success in the UK until the Concerto for Group and Orchestra album (1970). Lord’s willingness later to play many of the key rhythm parts gave Blackmore the freedom to let loose both live and on record.
Deep Purple released another six studio albums between 1971 (Fireball) and 1975 (Come Taste the Band). Gillan and Glover left in 1973 and Blackmore in 1975, and the band disintegrated in 1976.
The complete Sarabande suite was premiered in live performance in Budapest on 18 September 2010 and later in Sofia on (30 October) and Essen (15 November).
Among the rock section, Lord’s keyboards are supported by ex-Spencer Davis Group drummer Pete York and a pre-Police Andy Summers on guitar. German composer and conductor Eberhard Schoener conducts the Philharmonica Hungarica Orchestra.
Typically, when an artist branches out from their current band for a solo outing, it is to “prove” something. Wishing to be seen as more than just “one of the guys in the band,” they want to take an excursion into the studio, hoping to demonstrate to the loyal legion of fans that they have something different to offer. This is especially true when they are not the main songwriter in said group. Jon Lord, a founding member and former member of Deep Purple, successfully found a way of sounding relevant with Sarabande, his second solo outing, without losing the respect of Purple’s fan base. Originally released in 1976, Eagle Records has digitally remastered and reissued this absolute masterpiece.
Anyone expecting a Deep Purple-sounding album will be disappointed. In this case, that may be a good thing. If you have an appreciation for majestic, brain-jarring compositions of pure musicianship, Sarabande may be the album for you. With the Hungarian Philharmonic as his accompaniment, in addition to an array of other studio musicians, including a pre-Police guitarist Andy Summers, Lord offers up eight songs of pure musical, majestic bliss. To some, it may appear Lord is just being pretentious; but to those with open ears, he is merely demonstrating that his talents reach beyond his years with Deep Purple.
In a way, Sarabande almost resembles the soundtrack, to one of Hollywood’s old-time classics, ala Lawrence of Arabia or Ben-Hur. That’s what I love about it. It is truly grand on all levels. With the musicianship and the swooping, epic-like execution of each track, there is not a moment on this mesmerizing album where the listener will fail to be impressed. Combining classical music with jazz, blues, and straight forward rock, it is an ambitious piece of work that, for the most part, succeeds, thanks to the genius of Lord’s capabilities.
The opening track “Fantasia” begins slow, building up steadily to a bombastic conclusion, before moving onto the title track. I will not give a tedious breakdown of each track, aside from mentioning that each composition stays true to Lord’s musical intent, never swaying from its course.
“Caprice,” I must point out, is my personal favorite. It is very up tempo, almost leaning towards radio-friendly pop, but staying closer to the always melodic influence of Mozart. The closing track, the appropriately titled “Finale” does suffer a small bit, only by being a tad overly ambitious. Every style of music is thrown into the mix, never really transcending from one feel to the next – instead becoming a large, potentially messy musical mixing pot. But that is not to say it is, in any regard, a bad track.
If I must muster some criticism, it would be with the pacing on the song list. “Gigue” and “Bouree” are both 11-minute tracks. Appearing subsequently, they become a bit intrusive, on listening to them straight through. Had they been broken up and book-ended with a couple of the other tracks, the flow of the album would be a bit smoother. This, however, is just a bit of unnecessary nitpicking and has little bearing on my perspective of the overall album.
Produced by Martin Birch, of Deep Purple and Iron Maiden fame, this one of the most amazing albums I have heard in some time. Unfamiliar with Sarabande upon its original release, I am grateful to have now been exposed to it. Sarabande is not Deep Purple, nor was it intended to be. It wasn’t made for the casual rock listener, but more so for Lord’s personal trek of playing a wide array of classically inspired music. This is a brilliant example of what a true “solo” album should be like.
4 stars Whatever you want to say about Jon Lord’s discography, there can be little argument that this particular album is pure symphonic rock. On the symphonic side is the Philharmonica Hungarica Orchestra, conducted by Eberhard Schoener. On the rock side are Lord, Police guitarist Andy Summers, and Spencer Davis Group drummer Pete York. And just to spice things up, former elf drummer and world-music percussionist Mark Nauseef adds his appreciable talents as well.
This album was recorded over just three days in Germany late in 1975, and was released by (big surprise) Deep Purple Records ltd. The entire album was composed and scored by Lord.
This is an all instrumental album, and frankly I can’t imagine any vocalist could have added anything to it anyway. Apparently a sarabande is a triple metre slow dance that originated somewhere in Latin America, and was later adopted as a movement in Baroque-era suites. In those days the slow tempo and suggestive metre was considered somewhat obscene. And no, I did not know this – I looked it up, so if that’s incorrect please disregard. Another big surprise (not!), Debussy and Monteverdi were both fond of this musical style and incorporated it into their music a hundred years or so later. Now I’m not a musician, or even an expert on music history, but I do believe that there is a connection between this suggestive style of dance music in Baroque suites, and the contradanza in Ravel’s ‘Boléro’, also from the Baroque era. That was also considered a suggestive and obscene ballet score. And the slow, building ¾ dance timbre that builds to a maddening crescendo in that work has been repeated ad nausea in modern progressive and post-rock by bands like Jefferson Airplane, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and even ELP. So I guess this work has some historical significance.
But these tracks don’t get me as worked up as either ‘Boléro’ or the Godspeed albums. Today they mostly sound like energetic classical music conducted by an orchestra, which is of course exactly what they are. Lord adds plenty of embellishment on all manner of keyboards, including grand piano, ARP, a Hammond, and string synths. Summers really doesn’t add a whole lot to the mix, although he manages a bit of almost flamenco acoustic picking on “Bource” (a little difficult to separate from the keyboards), and cuts loose just a bit on the percussion-frenzied “Caprice”.
The rest of the tracks are serious symphonic stuff, with the exception of “Pavane”, which combines acoustic guitar, piano, and only a mild accompaniment of strings.
This is not a rock album, and it is not anything like you would expect if the only Jon Lord you’ve ever heard is his work wit Deep Purple. But this is one of the albums that earned him the progressive label, and combines with ‘Windows’ and ‘Gemini Suite’ to provide the most conclusive argument that the title is legitimate.
Lord has managed to wander off on different paths during his long solo career, but before he started down those many roads he delivered this archetype symphonic rock gem for us to enjoy, perhaps just to prove he could. A 4.5 effort, technically perfect and engaging, but just a tiny bit shy of essential. Highly recommended for symphonic rock fans, as well as fans of exquisite piano and acoustic guitar.
4 stars A memorable classic symphonic prog album .
When I first listened to this album by Jon Lord, I was surprised with the fact that Jon made an album that was totally different in style and approach from when I had known him couple of years before through his tenure with Deep Purple. By that time I was listening to albums like Led Zeppelin “Physical Graffiti”, Deep Purple “Burn”, “Made In Japan”, “Machine Head”, Jethro Tull “War Child” “Aqualung” and having “Sarabande” in one of the play list albums was a kind of break from normal undertaking on classic rock albums. Of course, by that time I also knew Depp Purple’s “Concerto for Group and Orchestra” but “Sarabande” for me was much more accessible musically – that’s why I frequently spun the Perina cassette of “Sarabande” more than “Concerto for Group and Orchestra”. I also love Jon’s “Windows” album which local cassette maker in Bandung, Yess, labelled the cassette with “When Rock Meets Classic” – that might be my first introduction on the marriage of rock and classical music.
Knowing that this album was composed and scored by Jon Lord and was recorded in only couple of days that’s enough to conclude that Jon Lord is really a very talented musician. Through this album he successfully gathered professional musicians under Philharmonica Hungarica Orchestra (conducted by Eberhard Schoener), percussionist Mark Nauseff whom I knew contributed also to Ian Gillan Band’s “Child In Time”, guitarist Andy Summers whom later I knew as member of rock new wave trio The Police, and Pete York on drums. In fact, Eberhard Schoener solo albums were progressive in style and must be added into this site – one of them that I know quite well is “Bali Agung” which features “Kecak Rock”. Kecak is a Balinese dance which is very famous in Bali, Indonesia.
Musically, this album is really heavy with classical music content while Jon had creatively inserted rock components into the music. The opening track “Fantasia” demonstrates clearly the classic symphony nature of the music where the track serves as an overture to the whole album. It is structured in three sections with grandiose orchestra. What follows is an attractive composition, the title track “Sarabande”. I believe any human beings would love this song – whether he likes or not rock music or general music. It’s simply composed in a way that melody and beats are combined beautifully in multi structure sections through out the song. Another great offering this album has is the fifth track “Bouree” which is similar in style with “Sarabande” i.e. in dance beats in eastern nuance. Through “Bouree” Jon combines the work of violin and keyboard / Hammond solo beautifully and all of them are laid down wonderfully in music structure that has a very nice flow. There are quite balance solos performed during this track. Other tracks are excellent as well like “Aria”, “Gigue”, “Pavane” etc. I think this album is the best out of all albums ever made by Jon Lord.
Overall, this is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED album for those who like Jon Lord and symphonic rock. I don’t think it’s wise owning legendary albums by legendary bands but missing this great album by Jon Lord. You definitely must have it. Keep on proggin’ ..!
4 stars Do not judge a book by it’s cover.
Despite a craptacular art cover (creepy mustachioed exhibitionist or something) this album is a total keeper for the orchestra-keyboard-marriage lover that I am. I went around the block many times over, re-listening to the same old records and trying to discover some new material. I even went to the newcomers, unfortunately, nothing new to the horizon, just the same old flash in the pan: boom bang goes the drums, duhduh duhduh goes the bass and nini nini on the keys…yawn.
Finally Jon Lord arrived (too late) in my life, without Ritchie Blackmore this time. Frankly, this is a balm to me. On the contrary of ELP, Trace or Par Lindh Project, Jon Lord takes his time and does not focus on ‘Hey Mom! Look what I can do!’ attitude. He is not showing off; should he a bit more? If you like Triumvirat or Rick Wakeman, this could grind your gears (useless drum solo in Gigue, bongos, little keyboard diversity and humble technique). On the other hand, if you’re a keyboard driven veteran, you could appreciate the modesty and the exotic/ modern music tangent of the album. The orchestral arrangements are nice and catchy, many times I surprise myself to air-maestro. Jokes on the side, the orchestra is very well melted in the songs: bombastic when needed and emotional as well.
Why this album is not in everyone’s collection? Is it because it’s on the simpler side of prog? Hey, a guy needs a bleeping break once in a while and Sarabande is a perfect soundtrack to chill out in your chair with a book and a pint of Harp lager.
Dedicated to the Raiders of the Lost ARP.
4 stars Lord learnt from the bottlenecks of his previous 2 classically inspired works and came up with an improved results on “Sarabande”. The fusion between the orchestra and Lord’s instruments (moog, organ, piano, synths) are more seamless and less pompous. Lord has invested more time in composing music with motives spanning the long pieces. There are loud full-fledged overtures as well as beautiful calm tracks (“Aria” with leading piano and beautiful synths). Other rocks players get space to provide a solo or two but they do not dominate. It’s Lord instruments that glue everything together. This is a well thought symbiosis of classical music and ambitious/progressive rock playing.
4 stars Many consider Sarabande to be the most successful of Jon Lord’s experiments to combine an orchestra and rock band. In spite of Lord’s hard rock credentials, do not go in expecting a symphonic metal album. As the song titles suggest, the focus is on classical music rather than rock, with the songs being based on Baroque dances.
The album is certainly more cohesive than Lord’s earlier effort with Deep Purple, Concerto for Group and Orchestra, where the objective was to start off with the orchestra and the rock band in opposition and gradually integrate them over the course of the three movements.
Sarabande was recorded in Germany, by the Philharmonia Hungarica, a distinguished symphony orchestra founded by Hungarian expatriate musicians fleeing the Red Army’s occupation of Hungary in 1956.
Lord is also backed by a rock group comprised of competent session musicians. Future Police member Andy Summers does a fine job on the guitar, particularly his electric solos on Gigue and Bouree. The drummer is Pete York, formerly of the Spencer Davis Group. Mark Nauseef, who would later be drummer in the Ian Gillan Band, provides interesting percussion. The bass is played by Paul Karas, previously of Rare Bird and Stackridge. Lord does not try to hog the spotlight and plays a variety of keyboard instruments.
Fantasia is the only purely orchestral piece and stars things off with bombastic brass. The middle section with woodwinds, harp and stings is quite lovely.
The title track starts off with just the rock band playing a jazzy Latin American-influenced tune. Soon strings join in, followed by brass. Lord and Summers have solo spots halfway through.
I originally thought Aria is a misnomer, since it is not a vocal work, but apparently the term ‘aria’ was also used for instrumental pieces. It’s a beautiful and melancholy piece that showcases Lord’s piano playing. Interestingly, the sparse accompaniment is played on synthesizers, though it fooled me. Its mood is somewhat reminiscent of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
According to a quote by Jon Lord on his website, Gigue quotes the first twenty-four bars of Bach’s 4th English Suite. Similarly to part 3 of Concert for Group and Orchestra, Gigue is slightly marred by a superfluous drum and percussion solo towards the end. Nevertheless, I consider it to be the most progressive composition on the album, with a multipart structure, and good solos by Summers, Lord and York.
Bouree has nothing to do with the Bach composition famously recorded by Jethro Tull. In fact, it has a distinct Middle Eastern feel, but in a much more authentic style than Blackmore’s future Kashmir-style compositions with Rainbow and Deep Purple (Stargazer, Gates of Babylon, Perfect Strangers, Hungry Daze, Ariel). Mark Nauseef adds plenty of percussion effects. Great guitar and clavinet solos.
Pavane is a melancholy track, focused on acoustic guitar and piano later. Only the orchestra’s string section is featured on this piece.
Caprice is a lively composition with an organ solo. It does not feature the orchestra. Due to the varied synths and uptempo, the piece reminds me of Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleve from Wakeman’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII.
Finale begins by reprising themes from all previous compositions accompanied by drum rolls. It ends in the same way as Fantasia, with a few overdubbed synths. This track is rather disjoint, since it was assembled by splicing extracts from the previous compositions, but it is short and finishes on a satisfying note.
I would have preferred for the music to be in a more baroque style and livelier. As is, the music sounds much more like 19th or 20th century classical music (which it is!). There is little of the music that reminds me of Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Scarlatti or Pachelbel. I was expecting counterpoint, fugues, chamber music, Bach-style organ compositions, harpsichord sonatas or something in the vein of Lord and Blackmore’s composition April, which remains one of my favorite Deep Purple songs.
Personal preferences and expectations aside, the music is very well orchestrated and performed. The album showcases Lord’s compositional skill. The quality is very even throughout the album and the themes are memorable. I must admit that the album has grown on me with repeat listening.
4 stars A very good album, though often overlooked (just take a look at the amount of ratings). If you have ever sought for an album where classical music and rock really merge into another (with stress on classical music) you should give this one a try. 8 very good tracks, pleasant to hear, though sometimes a bit inconspicuous. There are slight reminisences (not quotations) of The Gemini Suite, Lord’s Concerto and sometimes a hint of ELP. Most memorable are Sarabande, the beautiful Aria, the lively Gigue and the oriental tinged Bouree. Though there a comparisons at hand (Rick Wakeman, ELP etc.) I think this music could have been invented by Jon Lord only, for if he has to choose between rock and the classical music, he opts for the latter. So, if you like this kind of music, buy this LP. It will grace your collection. 4 stars.
Favourite tracks: Sarabande, Aria, Gigue, Bourrée