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Thursday, 13 April 2017

Rick Wakeman "The Phantom of The Opera" Belgium review translated

Image result for WAKEMAN PHANTOM OF THE OPERAWe will not go back to Rick Wakeman 's long career  ; It has been mentioned many times on our site. Just remember, for those who come to land on the planet, that Mr. Wakeman was / is / will be (strike out the useless mentions) the keyboardist of Yes and that his solitary discography is much longer than the arm Of an orangutan.

Reassure Progressive Rock fans  : Rick Wakeman 's "The Phantom Of The Opera" has absolutely nothing to do with Andrew Lloyd Webber's pink water musical. This is a rather special project, Initiated in the late 80s by the famous Hammer. This British film company, specializing in the production of B-series horror films in the 50s and 60s, wanted to bring out a restored version of the "Opera Phantom" , a silent film classic, made in 1925 by Rupert Julian on the basis of a novel written in 1909 by the French author Gaston Leroux. The role of the ghost was assured by the intriguing actor Lon Channey (NDR  : nicknamed at the time the man with the 1000 faces). In 1925, the screenings of the original "Phantom Of The Opera" were accompanied (NDR  : like those of all silent films, besides) by improvised music 'live' By a pianist who adapted his melodies to the atmospheres described in the film. At the end of the eighties, the musicians capable of performing this exercise were rather rare and, in order to fill the void of restored version, the Hammer had approached Rick Wakeman to ask him to create the appropriate sound background.  The keyboardist had recorded more than 80 minutes of music and had it club-boxed with the drummer and guitarist of his solo group (NDR : Tony Fernandez and D'zal Martin). Although essentially instrumental, the soundtrack was embellished with many vocal parts shared between the tenor Ramon Remedios , the singer Ashley Holt (NDR  : Accustomed to accompany Wakeman on stage) and the singer Chrissie Hammond (NDR  : one of the two frontwomen of the famous Australian Rock band Cheetah ). Released only in American cinemas, the restored and re-sounded version of the film did not really succeed and was soon forgotten. Wakeman, at the time, published a shortened version (50 minutes only) of his BO under the title "The Phantom Power" .

The story goes that after the demise of the Hammer, Wakeman had long sought to obtain a copy of the film but had never succeeded. It was only very recently that he had discovered a version of acceptable quality,  On Youtube ! After a few palavers, the keyboardist managed to convince Gonzo Multimedia / RRAW to publish the film in DVD version, accompanied by a double CD reproducing, for the very first time, its entire soundtrack. This DVD / Double CD set is available since the beginning of February this year.

We will not hide it, listening to the double CD is a bit long. Even played by a virtuoso such as Wakeman, eighty minutes of mid-symphonic / mid-pop eighties keyboards is long. The few sung passages bring happily some pleasant moments of variety. To this audio version, we preferred, by far, the video version proposed on the DVD.

Ah, the obsolete charm of this silent horror film,  Shot in black and white (NDR : only the few minutes devoted to the scene of the Masque Bal have been colored). How not to be amused by the naivete of this spectacle that had terribly terrified our great-grandparents. How, also, not to be admiring the games of these actors who had only expressions of the face to convey their message and their emotions. 

The first few minutes of the film leave us doubtful as to the pertinence of the choice of a musician such as Wakeman for the realization of this soundtrack. His music seems a bit too typical 'Eighties' and his parts of keyboards a little too playful to stick really to the dark and lugubrious style of the cinematographic work. The song of Chrissie Hammond, very present at the beginning, is too light and n ' Does not really make an acceptable rendering of the film's black atmospheres. However, things are improving over the course of history. Wakeman plunges us into the dramatic atmosphere of the film, helped by the opera singing of Ramon Remedios and Ashley Holt's more rock vocals. Some more muscular passages, reinforced by the chords of an electric guitar during the most intense moments of the film, end up scotching us on the screen.

"The Phantom Of The Opera" , in its audio version, is probably not the album we listen to every day. We promise, however, to see again the film, in eight years, to celebrate the 100 years of its release  !

CD1 (41'04)  : However, improve over the course of history. Wakeman plunges us into the dramatic atmosphere of the film, helped by Ramon Remedios' opera singing and Ashley Holt's more rock vocals. Some more muscular passages, reinforced by the chords of an electric guitar during the most intense moments of the film, end up scotching us on the screen. "The Phantom Of The Opera" , in its audio version, is probably not the album we listen to every day. We promise, however, to see again the film, in eight years, to celebrate the 100 years of its release ! CD1 (41'04) : However, improve over the course of history. Wakeman plunges us into the dramatic atmosphere of the film, helped by the opera singing of Ramon Remedios and Ashley Holt's more rock vocals. Some more muscular passages, reinforced by the chords of an electric guitar during the most intense moments of the film, end up scotching us on the screen. "The Phantom Of The Opera" , in its audio version, is probably not the album we listen to every day. We promise, however, to see again the film, in eight years, to celebrate the 100 years of its release ! CD1 (41'04) : By operatic chanting of Ramon Remedios and Ashley Holt's more Rock vocals. Some more muscular passages, reinforced by the chords of an electric guitar during the most intense moments of the film, end up scotching us on the screen. "The Phantom Of The Opera" , in its audio version, is probably not the album we listen to every day. We promise, however, to see again the film, in eight years, to celebrate the 100 years of its release ! CD1 (41'04) : By operatic chanting of Ramon Remedios and the vocals more Rock by Ashley Holt. Some more muscular passages, reinforced by the chords of an electric guitar during the most intense moments of the film, end up scotching us on the screen. "The Phantom Of The Opera" , in its audio version, is probably not the album we listen to every day. We promise, however, to see again the film, in eight years, to celebrate the 100 years of its release ! CD1 (41'04) :

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