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Wakeman, Rick: The Phantom of the Opera

I know a few of my previous reviews begin with the words (insert artist here) "needs no introduction". Well you can add another musician where those words apply, the incomparable Mr. Rick Wakeman. His massive body of work with Yes, his many solo albums and contributions for other artists like David Bowie, Cat Stevens and Elton John is simply outstanding in quality and musicianship. Wakeman has also delved into film soundtracks including his film score of The Phantom of the Opera.

Wakeman wrote this music in the late '80s/early '90s and it was originally released as only a fifty-one minute soundtrack titled Phantom Power. Later on the production company Hammer Films went out of business and the project was all but lost. That is until recently when Wakeman was made aware of an acceptable YouTube version. Thus the project was set in motion again, this time with the help of Gonzo Multimedia. The package includes two audio CDs and a DVD of the original 1925 silent film set to Wakeman's score. Now the entire soundtrack can be heard as it was originally intended.

The original book was written in 1909 by Gaston Leroux and turned into a silent film in 1925. Back then audio wasn't available so typically the film was accompanied by a live pianist playing the score. Wakeman has written a more modern version which includes six players, including himself. The best part of this production is how well Wakeman has been able to match his music with the original 1925 movie. Whether the sounds are brooding, intense or of a more jovial nature, the results are really quite good. While still a very theatrical piece, elements of progressive music and even pop do crop up occasionally and some of the pieces would do well as stand-alone songs.

I should also note the short introduction by Christopher Lee. His deeply inflected voice is perfect for setting the story in motion.

If you are a fan of the original work, Wakeman's version of The Phantom of the Opera should provide plenty of enjoyment.

Track Listing:
Audio Disc 1
1. The Phantom of the Opera (Part One)
Audio Disc 2 2. The Phantom of the Opera (Part Two)
Movie Disc
The Phantom of the Opera (Introduction by Christopher Lee)

Added: June 28th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Facebook Page
Hits: 736
Language: english

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