Thursday, February 17, 2005

What I'm watching right now:

I'm amazed...that Greg Lake manages to keep up with Keith Emerson's left hand.

There are some really cool moments here. For instance Keith still carts around this huge modular Moog. But it sounds better than any modern synth. Isn't that funny? Back when the synths were monophonic (meaning they could only play one note at a time), they sounded best.

Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (and their version is heavily influenced by Ravel's arrangement of the piece) works really well as progressive-rock piece. Greg Lake's added vocal line sounds real cool. Although, a friend from college thinks that the lyrics are beyond stupid.

A lot of music from the late romantic period where the melodies started getting real exotic translate really well into rock music. The earlier stuff -- baroque and classical -- is to elegant for rock. And the later stuff -- modern era music -- the melodies are too jaded, dissonant, and unsingable. Most of the modern stuff that ELP performs comes from pieces that have melodies that were directed at a more commercial audience, for instance, Leonard Bernstein's (they do a rockin' version of "America" -- but not on this DVD) and Aaron Copland's (Fanfare for the Common Man, Hoedown -- those two are on the DVD). Although they do experiment with some modern jaded-dissonant modern music as well. For instance, they've adapted Bartok, Janacek, and Ginastera.

LOL. Talk about loving or hating progressive rock. Check out the reviews for ELP's Pictures at an Exhibition. This one is a gem:

Modest MOUSSORGSKY and Maurice RAVEL were not that pretentious! This is really a mass murder of their masterpiece. Keith Emerson is a vulgar exhibitionist who cannot hide his lack of inspiration sometimes... Shun this despicable masquerade!!!

I think it was Hilton Cramer that posted that. Or maybe Roger Kimball.

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