Classical Purple!

It has recently been announced that Deep Purple’s ‘The Songs that Built Rock’ tour, featuring the band accompanied by an orchestra, will arrive in the UK in November. Without mentioning any names (well OK, a couple: James and Lars), I’d have to say that oftentimes, when rock bands join forces with orchestras, the results are rather muddled, speaking more to the vanity of the protagonists than to any truly meaningful musical endeavour – cajoling a bemused string section to play along to your riffs in an entirely unedifying manner that adds nothing to, and in fact detracts from, the songs in their original forms. However, with Purple, we have strong grounds to expect that the affair will be rather more rewarding. The band has a genuine pedigree where the mixing of classical and popular/hard rock idioms is concerned, stretching back all the way to the Mark I albums, and culminating, of course, in Jon Lord’s groundbreaking Concerto for Group and Orchestra (1969), and the subsequent Gemini Suite (1970); furthermore, the mercurial and hugely influential leads of Ritchie Blackmore that helped elevate the band to such heights were clearly marked with a profoundly classical sensibility, that has notably been pushed even further by the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen.  So, I hope that this legacy will be powerfully in evidence on the tour, leading to some unique and eye-opening (sorry, ear-opening) visitations of familiar territory. Off the top of my head, songs I think could especially benefit from, and would love to hear with, the orchestral treatment include: ‘Fools’, ‘Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming’, ‘When a Blind Man Cries’, ‘Rapture of the Deep’ and ‘Anya’. How about you?

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