The orchestra


We’ve got more of Polly’s fine photographs to share, so here’s one of David with the orchestra at Abbey Road.

The orchestra was recorded by Simon Rhodes, led by David Juritz and conducted by Robert Ziegler.

Robert Ziegler has conducted most of the major British orchestras and is considered one of Britain’s most innovative musicians. He has worked with the likes of Lionel Richie, Debbie Harry and Ute Lemper. He was Musical Director on 2004’s ‘Just One of Those Things’, a film about Cole Porter’s life and music. He also recorded the film music of Zbigniew Preisner for ‘The Last September’.

Yesterday you told us which songs sound great with the inclusion of saxophone. So how about naming some David Gilmour/Pink Floyd songs which you feel are very much enhanced by the orchestra’s contribution? Think particularly of those songs which do not currently feature any significant orchestral arrangements, but might sound interesting were an orchestra added.

Thanks for all your comments so far. 

More examples of Polly’s camera work coming shortly.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

78 thoughts on “The orchestra”

  1. I am thinking of Learning to fly…

    Furhtermore “The Wall” might be lovely, but David is not supposed to play it definitely.


    I love it!!!

    Click my name for the url of the italian newspaper that noticed about Pink Floyd’s concert in october. Carlo asked me.

    have a great day!


  3. Always liked the Orchestration on Alan’s Psychadelic Breakfast, especially the horns.

    Have always wondered what Echoes would sound like with a full orchestra behind the band. The whole structure of the piece with its quiet parts, stirring parts etc has always had a classical feel about it.

  4. Am I wrong or is the new full-cd released on David’s 60th birthday? Is this a coincidence?

  5. Hi,

    thanks for this new picture.

    It is for me clear that orhestral arrangements sounds sometimes great, like High Hopes. Other songs like Us & Them or Comfortably Numb should also sound great if a good orchestra is added.

    Other stuff, I do not know if you mentionned it somewhere in this blog, but there is a nice web page of Pete Cornish showing pictures of the next pedal board of David Gilmour. Click my name for that.

    Nice idea to show how such an equipment is built, either for guitar player or for electronic technician as me.

  6. Thanks for posting the wonderful pics. I think the perhaps “Us and Them” and “Dogs” would be interesting with an orchestra. Feature Editor, you have brilliant ideas for post topics. I enjoy the blog very much.

    4-4-06 Counting the days for Radio City !!!

  7. Koen, you are right: The album is due out on David’s birthday, it’s not a coincidence. 🙂

  8. One that hasn’t been tackled by an orchestra to my knowledge, and could be an interesting rendition – The Embryo!!

    Or, how about Free Four? On second thoughts, not sure if I’d want to hear an orchestral version of that!

    Only six-and-a-bit weeks until the first show… it’s getting close…

  9. There was a Floyd Symphonic tribute alubum out a few years back that to be honest with you, really wasn’t my favorite cd, but a particular track comes to mind. David’s Comfortably Numb guitar solo has always been probably my favorite lick, but the orchestra and violins version of this tribute album during Comfortably Numb were phenomenal. Something about the high strain of dozens of violins. Very moving, again, like the guitar version… When I saw David perform it live in Ames, Iowa in 1994, it was probably my all time favorite Pink Floyd moment.

    April 13th is getting closer all the time!


  10. what about on the turning away? i think it would be very nice to hear it with an orchestra…

  11. Dear Ed,

    thank you very much for editing my post. And excuse me if I posted the url…I didn’t know I can’t!

    You’re italian it’s like my english!!! Not very good but understandable!!!

    Thanks again


  12. Lucia, I have to disagree with you. Your English is much better than my Italian!:)

  13. I agree with an Echoes orchestration…that or :

    1) Sheep
    2) Fat Old Sun
    3) Any Colour You Like
    4) Thin Ice
    5) Astromonie Dominie

    …in no particular order….

  14. Excuse me Ed,
    but I have another detail for Carlo and italian fans about the article on the newspaper. I’m going to write in italian ’cause this is a information just about an italian newspaper…I think you don’t matter…
    “Il Giornale” del 24 gennaio 2006 (peraltro giorno di San Francesco di Sales, patrono dei giornalisti e degli scrittori!) pubblica a pagina 32 un articolo (non firmato) titolato: ”
    Pink Floyd, forse concerti a Londra”.
    Io ho controllato il Corriere della Sera, la Repubblica e il Messaggero, e non accennano a nulla…quindi…boh!
    Se hai notizie, informaci!!!



  15. Dear Fet Ed. I agree with all who say you are doing a fantastic job on the blog and giving us updates. I really enjoy logging on every day to see what new report you have and the interesting topics you come up with. I’m way excited about the upcoming show on 20 April in LA! I think a song that would work very well with orchestra would be Shine On You Crazy Diamond… put an orchestra behind Davids’ guitar work… could be quite fantastic!

  16. treat it with the strings and such…

    one of these days. kinda spooky i think.
    shine on.
    a pillow of winds.
    see emily play.
    childhood’s end
    effervescing elephant.

    it would all be a lot of fun i think.

  17. Thank you for keeping us informed and with a witty editorial to boot!
    I am looking forward to the CD and the concert. I was extremely lucky to get a couple of tickets for the Albert Hall.
    My first exposure to Pink Floyd was in The Tea Bar, Slough in 1967 when a strange but brilliant record came on the juke box: Arnold Lane. I had to ask everyone there who had played it to find out what it was! This was the start of many years of Pink Floyd sadness! Needless to say I have many of their LPs/CDs and their solo works. I first saw them live at the Hyde Park concert when they were rolling out “Atom Heart Mother”. It was held up at speakers corner end of the park and the sounds reverberating off the buildings was phenominal.
    Looking forward to David’s performances and the new instruments he will be playing.
    By the way, does David still fly?
    Thanks again.

  18. Orchestra is probably my fav in:
    Us and Them
    High Hopes
    SOYCD 5-6

    Just found the site this week, can’t believe David’s releasing an album the day before Donald Fagen’s new solo!
    Love this site. Keep up the good work.

  19. Dear Ed,
    you are very kind…but how can you say that my English is better than mine when I just wrote “YOU’RE english is like my italian”!
    I’m very sorry when I don’t pay attention!

    About the album’s day (6th march) I think it is not a coincidence…and it’s a very strange serie of number!

    – 6th of march 2006 the album is released
    – David was born in 1946
    – He is 60 years old

    A lot of 6!!! Are there others?

    See you!


  20. I love the london orchestras Time, it was pure brilliance.
    I would love to hear the whole 23 mins of echoes orchestrated!!!!

  21. Would love to hear orchestra arrangements for the following songs:

    Astronomy Domine
    Us & Them
    Shine On You Crazy Diamond
    Welcome To The Machine
    Pigs (3 Different Ones)
    Another Brick In The Wall Parts I & II
    Comfortably Numb
    Run Like Hell

  22. Just occured to me looking back through the blog…..but since when did Paul Daniels play guitar?

  23. 1. Great Gig In The Sky
    2. Confortably Numb
    3. Breathe
    4. Us And Them
    5. Hey You
    6. Near The End
    7. On The Turning Away
    8. Cluster One
    9. A Great Day For Fredoom
    10. You Know I’m Right

  24. How about High Hopes… fully orchestrated, with David on guitar. I know that the song has a bit in it, but it’s more from keyboard/organs than an orchestra. A Great Day For Freedom might sound pretty awesome too. All the best!!

  25. ‘Fat Old Sun’, ‘Green Is The Colour’ and ‘Summer 68’ would be really cool with an orcestra!

  26. I even like the 4-man rendition of Atom Heart Mother more than the album version with the full-blown orchestra, so I would say “none” to this question:-)

    I can’t help it, for me PF is always best when they are just four, on their own.

  27. “Well, tell you one thing: Marmalade I like marmalade… ;)”

    Posted by: chris at January 25, 2006 01:06 PM

    Porridge is nice
    Any cereal, I like all cereal 🙂

    Effervescing Elephant would be great with a orchestra accompaniment, “oh yeah”~!

  28. Wow, this is really interesting. I would love to see some orchestra bits at this show! However, I’m having trouble thinking of some songs simply because I love David’s guitar so much and the keyboards in a lot of Floyd songs are more than adequate for my listening.

    I did manage to think of a few:

    Is There Anybody Out There? (doubt he will play this but it would be incredible!)
    Yet Another Movie maybe
    High Hopes
    A Pillow of Winds

    Atom Heart Mother definitely fits the bill since it’s orchestra anyway but it’s a moot point because the chances of him playing this must be like 100,000 to 1. But after seeing Fat Old Sun on his DVD concert series, we never know.

    Looking forward to Radio City on the 5th! Can’t Wait!!!!

  29. So I was walking along at work thinking about the whole Pink Floyd machine versus David doing a solo album/tour. I thought that in making a Floyd album David must feel constrained to make a “Pink Floyd” sounding album- that is he must feel pressure to produce work that fans would associate as being distinctly “Floydian”. I imagine doing a solo album/tour must be very freeing for David to explore sound scapes that might not fit in the classic Pink Floyd sound. As I continued thinking about this I thought, If I wanted to introduce someone who had never heard a single Pink Floyd song to the music of Floyd (I know- fat chance of finding anyone in that category, but this is after all just a thought experiment)what album would I recommend that they listen to? I thought this might be an interesting topic for my fellow bloggers to address. My answer would definitely be The Division Bell. I know- many gasps out there… not DSoTM??? Nope… for me TDB takes everything great about Pink Floyd and puts it in one place. Great lyrics, great music, great emotional impact… it is IMO THE Premier Pink Floyd album! So for those who want to lynch me (as well as any who happen to like the topic)… what is THE all encompassing PF album that you think best captures the “Pink Floyd Sound”? Just pick ONE album now… I know it will be hard, but to pick more than one will kinda defeat the purpose of the question.

  30. That’s tough question. So much of their music would lend it’s self well to orchestration. ‘Money’ maybe? With all the sound effects being played by the Orchestra.

  31. I would like to hear David and his orchestra on High Hopes , On the turning away and Let’s get metaphysical, for example , but I wouldn’t like to hear David playing saxo, because i don’t like saxo; When Dick Parry played Saxo in 2001 or 2002 after David played his wonderful accoustic version of Shine on… it was too much louder and the magie was broken… God bless David and his guitar!
    Excuse my English!

  32. Idon’t think any folyd song without orchestra would be nice to hear with an orchestra.
    I mean, David’s songs written to be recorded with an orchestra will certainly be great, but I think adding an orchestra on an existing Rock and roll tune is quite useless.
    Adding a cello in 2002 were great and I’m sure that if David decides to play some Floyd stuff with orchestra he will be able to create great news versions of the songs, but all the symphonic rock stuff I have listened to until now are boring and the orchestra does not bring anything to rock music.
    I would give as examples the Yes symphonic concerts, or Deep Purple’s album with an orchestra.
    I like rock music, Classical music, but I just think rock does not need and orchestra…

  33. Hmmmm…. I think “Us and Them” has got real potential for orchestration. It’s also got a couple great sax solos, if David is feeling really brave with regards to his sax playing. The opening sequence of “shine on you crazy diamond” would be great for the orchestra. “Fearless” presents an interesting opportunity to orchestrate the ascending chord sequence that is its hook. There’s a lot you can do with a string section — such as the keyboard parts of “dogs” or the bass line of “dogs of war.”

    You know, whatever David does will be great. I have come to trust his judgement and he has never let me down. (I was underwhelmed in 1987 when Roger Waters arranged “wish you were here” with the sax playing the melody at his “Radio KAOS” concert in New York — Roger has never been my favorite Floyd.)

  34. i agree with you, tim. the division bell is the premier pink floyd album for me, too. it has a passion and a feeling that is lacking in certain others. i think it would be the perfect album to convert those unfortunate people who are ingrorant to floyd over to our side and way of thinking. the way david and polly wrote the division bell lyrics together makes me look forward to on an island even more, because we should get more of the same. oh, i can’t wait! i love the division bell. i’m going to listen to it right now, in fact.

  35. Echoes, Us & Them, SOYCD 5-6 ….all mentioned before and brilliant!

    Great Day for Freedom, and frankly any song in the Floyd catalogue with the big choir already there, are obvious candidates.

    Fearless! I’d love to hear that song with the big orchestral backdrop!

    tom from san diego

  36. WISH YOU WERE HERE with orchestra! Oh yeah!

    Why didn’t anybody think of this before?

    That will certainly rule! =)

  37. Tim,

    I disagree with TDB. Great album but missing the Waters component. Not that PF has to have Waters but you have to admit there is a difference between PF with and without Waters. Even though for me Animals is the ultimate, to answer your question of which album I would direct a virgin listener to would be Wish You Were Here. It is an excellent release for someone to experience PF for the first time.

    As for the question on which track to listen to with an orchestra backing. “On the Turning Away” could be interesting. Yes, I realize this is a non-Waters track but it is an awesome song.

  38. Not really on topic but can’t wait to see Dave in Glasgow May 27th. If Rick is going on tour with him then that will be a double bonus.
    Shine on guys.

  39. “Near the End” would sound great orchestrated. Of course that’s merely a suggestion from an opionated fan.

    By the way, any chance of getting a larger photo of David with the orchestra put into the gallery? Put it on my tab if you do.


  40. Alice,
    yep… I’m looking forward to On An Island for the same reasons… to see what David and Polly came up with after the great success of their work on TDB together… you went to listen to it??? After my walk I went back to work and put it on as well… LOL! Yes I think TDB has a positive vibe to it whereas other Floyd albums (particularly The Final Cut) were a bit depressing!

  41. Hi,

    I’m really surprised nobody has mentioned yet “Let’s get metaphysical” as one of their favourite DG’s songs (well, almost anybody, just read Justin’s comment). For me this song shows a perfect narrative concept, it’s incredible how a small piece can fit into almost any story you can think of while you’re listening to it…

    Having said that, my second favorite one is “Is there anybody out there”. Mr. Gilmour’s acoustic guitar shines incredibly over the elegant orchestra arrangements. And what to say about High Hopes? Simply amazing.

    Personally, I don’t like any orchestral experiments with songs that were conceived to be played by a rock ensemble. I like PF’s records just as they are, wouldn’t like to hear them changed at all! Même que toi, Michèle 🙂

  42. Hi Mister David Gilmour and all the band,
    I’m 21 years old, I live in south-east France, the first time I seen you, it was 12 years ago, during the division bell tour, in the summer 1994, in Montpellier, I was so young, and I didn’t realize it was Pink Floyd Band, I was on hollydays with my parents, but we didn’t had tickets to see this event, we were behind the barriers. And today, I’m very happy (like a dream) to come to see you, where I’ve never been, in Paris to The Olympia on March 16th !!! Fortunately, I’ve bought my ticket, just before it do not have there more !!

    So thanks to come in France, impatient to see this magnificent show that will be.

    A young admiror of your music sound, of your Fender Stratocaster guitar sound, of your voice, of your MUSIC.

    Thank you very much again for all what you do, not only for the music, but you are a very human person, that I appreciate.

  43. Hello,
    Thank you for the excellent site, features, photos, etc., which provide an informative chronicle of the work involved with David’s new music and live tour. This forum does a great job of informing, building excitement, interacting with fans, and even invoking delightful Piscean daydreams – hopefully it’s equally fulfilling for those who provide such a useful forum.

    I play violin in a local symphony and enjoy the opportunity to accompany soloists. Particularly with the popular or finale pieces, if the arrangements closely accompany the recorded song, the orchestral emphasis of the melodies envelops everyone into the sound of the music and the moment (although, to state the obvious, neither David Gilmour nor Pink Floyd require an orchestra to take us there.)

    For partial accompaniments, brass could yell ‘What Do You Want From Me’ and strings could sing-along for ‘On the Turning Away’ and ‘There’s No Way Out of Here.’ Of course to hear ‘Comfortably Numb’ with its full orchestra accompaniment is euphoric for all … a climactic crescendo of all musicians, followed by a guitar solo prolonging the O, oh, oh – that’s how it felt in ’87 and ’94 and I can’t wait until April 17th to experience it again. Thanks for coming back to Oakland.

  44. Tim & Alice:

    To pick ONE album that best encompasses the Pink Floyd sound seems a little…”un-Pink Foyd-ish” to me. It is an interesting question though….

    The Division Bell does capture a lot of what is good about Pink Floyd, but I think it would be impossible to pick one example because the Pink Floyd sound has evolved over four decades of creative process. I mean, look at the range of choices? The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Atom Heart Mother, Meddle, Wish You Were Here, The Final Cut, The Division Bell….?

    That list skips over several in their discography such as the huge Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, two very different albums respectively…

    Is “Dark Side” that ONE example? No, I don’t think so either….

    Interesting question, but I think impossible to answer….

  45. Thanks, Features Ed. – if I didn’t have this McDonald’s-induced stomach ache tonight, I would have noticed that my requested enlarged photo of David as seen on today’s blog can be found in the gallery. Duh. And I probably would have spelled “opinionated” correctly in my pitiful post above as well. 😉

    I’ll check back with everyone when I’m well and more coherent…and oh yeah, I’ve been trying for some time now to coerce our local symphony into having an all-Pink Floyd show. No luck yet but one can only hope.

    now for the pepto,

  46. All the songs are such great songs that I cant even imagine hearing them with another style. But putting “high hopes” in a safe lock ( to make sure that it wont change !) hearing it with orchestra’s contribution could be great !

  47. i will be VERY UPSET if there are no “classic” floyd tunes. i paid $900 for 4 tickets off ebay for the show in chicago (becouse all the sleazy scalpers that snatched up all the tickets), and am traveling 1600 miles round trip to see him, and am starting to feel like im gonna be very dissapointed with the show….i hope not but am really feeling that way. i want to hear new stuff but i want to hear older stuff as well. I SINCERLY HOPE MR GILMOUR TAKES INTO ACCOUNT WHAT THE FANS REALLY WANT TO SEE…IF HE DOESNT HE WILL HAVE ALOT OF DISSAPOINTED FANS OUT THERE. WE WANT FLOYD SONGS NOT JUST GILMOUR SONGS!!!!

  48. I do believe that orchestration will play a huge part on this tour especially, with the perfect great Halls to perform in. David’s allowing all of us a to have an intimate evening. Love to hear definetly, Echoes and Poles Apart. Let’s Get Metaphysical. Thanks Ed.(Edess??)

  49. Us and Them, SOYCD, High Hopes, Echoes and Comfortably Numb and of course Atom Heart Mother.

  50. If blessed with an orchestra on opening night at Radio City: Shine On You Crazy Diamond (with special guest New York resident Roger Waters…one never knows), Echoes (with special guest Richard Wright), and TIME would work extraordinarily well with an orchestra. And, with orchestra in tow, David simply must play Mihalis or Let’s Get Metaphysical.

    If there are plans to have an orchestra, where will they be located since Orch Pit seating is occupied at most venues?

    Thanks all around! Can’t wait for On An Island!
    Surprise me!

  51. Please send this photo “Abbey Road The Orchestra” black and white image to the Gallery section where we can view an ENLARGED version. Many thanks!

  52. Hi,
    well, great question. I think that PF’s music is enough… well, how do you say: “se suffit à elle-même” ? my english is so bad… sorry.
    all I want to say,is (in french…):”Au fait, que sont la vie et la mort face à un solo de guitare de David Gilmour?”

    Ikkar, with love

  53. Songs that benefited from orchestrations, huh?

    “High Hopes”
    “The Final Cut”
    “Comfortably Numb”
    “Atom Heart Mother”
    “Out Of The Blue”
    “Near The End”

    These ones really stick out in my mind.

  54. Any “track” from “Wish You Were Here” would be “perfect” for orchestral interpretation… I’m sure “magical” things could be done with the entire album… “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” would also be “perfect” for such a treatment… Infract, the entire “back” catalogue of “Pink Floyd” albums would translated orchestrally… If you think about it…

  55. Hi,

    I would say “Money” sonds just right with the orchetra.


  56. I believe only David & Co. could properly administer the “correct interpertation” with added orchestral arrangements on their works.I think it would be quite interesting to have both David & Roger add their own individual marks on just one song,seperate recordings, and see how each others seperate journey’s unfold.
    Now if maybe we could get McCartney to add some of his visions!?
    Now that’s my secret dream musical collaberation.
    Hey David,how about a secret stop in Phoenix?

    Thank you for your inspirations and contributions. Which to me, is life.

    High Hopes in Arizona,
    Ronald Pepperack.

  57. An orchetra is what the band has always sound like in a lot ways. I can see shine on you crazy diamond, that would be about as smooth as you can get. I can hear the strings intro right now.

    Pink Floyd is #1

  58. hi mr Gilmour

    im a pinkfloyd lover in iran.pinkfloyd is my best friend in have too many lover in iran.

    im very happy for your new album and tour and we also wait for pinkfloyd new album and tour in future.

    (i love you).

    3 song:

    1.cirrus minor
    2.narrow way3
    3.a pillow of wind

  59. Hey, does anybody know the name of the Pink Floyd album that is orchestrated? It has a bunch of their greatest hits on it, but it’s entirely orchestrated.

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