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Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Beethoven's Last Night

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has proven the depth of their skills by releasing Beethoven's Last Night as their third outing. The album is not one with a Christmas or Holiday theme but instead a walk steeped in the Classical influences of both Beethoven and Mozart. The group's founder/creator Paul O'Neill also manages to work up a very different and much darker tale for this one, as we find ourselves bearing witness to the last night in Beethoven's life. The tale is about what perhaps happened on that night and brings us to believe that Fates and the Devil were all vying for his Soul. It's an interesting tale and when you listen to this CD especially you feel as thought you are listening to a Broadway Musical soundtrack rather than Symphonic Rock. The cast for this release are Jody Ashworth (Beethoven), Jon Oliva (Mephistopheles), Guy Lemonnier (young Beethoven) and Patti Russo (Theresa) as the main singers of the piece. There are also some great vocals by Savatage 2nd singer Zak Stevens. The musicians for the piece are Robert Kinkel, Jon Oliva, Al Pitrelli, Chris Caffery, Jeff Plate, Johnny Lee Middleton and Paul O'Neill. Essentially the cast of players gives you a piece of music that includes all of the members of the Wake Of Magellan era Savatage. As a result there is a certain heaviness that comes to the front on the instrumental numbers. Let's face it, the music of Beethoven was powerful as it is and under the control of the TSO is given a new and rocking feel. Fans of the other instrumental tracks that the band had done will most likely enjoy these ones as well for in "Requiem (The Fifth), "A Last Illusion" and "Mozart/Figaro" we find stellar musicianship and execution at its best.

There are a number of interesting vocal numbers as well with Ashworth performing the part of Beethoven perfectly. The play between him and the other characters presented is very interesting. Mountain King Jon Oliva also does a standout job as Mephistopheles using his well-known growls and tone to play a part perfect for him. Patti Russo performs as Theresa, Beethoven's girlfriend and her beautiful voice makes "Dreams Of Candlelight" and "I'll Keep Your Secrets" become very memorable tunes. It was the dynamics between all of the players who did the story that made me feel this is perfect for a Broadway show. Those that have ever seen the TSO in concert know that this music comes over very well in the live sense but year after year we still have yet to see Beethoven's Last Night performed as a solo thing. The CD comes with a booklet that makes many others pale in comparison at over thirty pages. The entire storyline is laid out for you to enjoy and similar to those other tales the book itself merits a lot more than the cursory view.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has a strong core following because of their Christmas adventures, yet those that simply want the chance to try something different from them will totally enjoy this CD. For me as a listener it was a change of pace that could be listened to all year round. I have a problem playing Christmas songs in July, so having something different from the TSO that I could enjoy made this a perfect addition to the collection. I look forward to their continuing along these lines and bringing more non Holiday music to the table. They prove they do it well with this one and let's hope for sooner rather than later.

Track Listing
1. Overture
2. Midnight
3. Fate
4. What Good This Deafness
5. Mephistopheles
6. What Is Eternal
7. The Moment
8. Vienna
9. Mozart/Figaro
10. The Dreams Of Candlelight
11. Requiem (The Fifth)
12. I'll Keep Your Secrets
13. The Dark
14. Fur Elise
15. A Last Illusion
16. This Is Who You Are
17. Beethoven
18. Mephistopheles Returns
19. Misery
20. Who Is This Child
21. A Final Dream

Added: November 27th 2005
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: TSO Website
Hits: 4743
Language: english

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