Georges Bizet

Today marks the 175th anniversary of the birth of French composer Georges Bizet, whose aria ‘Je Crois Entendre Encore’ from Act I of Les Pêcheurs de Perles, or The Pearl Fishers, David surprised just about everybody with by including it in his ‘unplugged’ set at the June 2001 Meltdown concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall (available on DVD, as well as Android and just-released-today Apple apps, as David Gilmour in Concert). He performed it several times again the following January when he returned to the same London venue for three nights before heading to Paris’ Palais des Congrès to do two more.

First performed in September 1863 at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris, The Pearl Fishers was not greatly received and ran for just 18 performances. As is sadly so often the case, true appreciation came following Bizet’s sudden death in 1875 when the fickle press announced his brilliance.

I can’t pretend to be a fan of opera, but it seems like a good enough excuse to recall the times the genres of rock and classical have collided.

An obvious one is Metallica’s S&M, the band’s 1999 collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, directed by the late and much missed Michael Kamen.

Thirty years before it, though, Deep Purple released their Concerto for Group and Orchestra, composed entirely by the pioneering Jon Lord, performed live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Arnold. This was perhaps the first time rock musicians had been accompanied on stage by a full orchestra.

The Moody Blues’ second album, Days of Future Passed, released in 1967, is an orchestral song cycle about a typical working day (said to be a response to being asked by their record label to record an adaptation of Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony that would demonstrate their latest recording techniques) and a certain precursor to the prog-rock genre.

More recently, in 1992, they performed some of their best-known songs with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Red Rocks Amphitheater.

Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio, his collaboration with Carl Davis from 1991, was his first of five full-length classical albums.

Peter Gabriel released the purely orchestral New Blood in 2011; all but one track previously released, re-arranged for a symphony orchestra.

Also in 2011, the Pet Shop Boys composed music for their first ballet, The Most Incredible Thing, based on a Hans Christian Andersen story.

Not everyone approves of the crossover of high and popular culture, however. Here’s Philip Hensher in the Guardian arguing that “rock musicians might like the idea of an orchestra and a chorus, just as they might fancy putting on a dinner jacket, but the fact is that every single one of these ventures tends to sound the same: like a naff imitation of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, written by someone who once heard the piece on an advert for Old Spice.” Ouch.

Do you agree or even care what critics say? You either like the way something sounds or you don’t, and surely that’s all that really matters.

So whether you’re thinking specifically of rock musicians arranging their songs differently, the accompaniment of a symphony orchestra or choir, or the use of classical instruments in the making of any style of rock, I’d like to know which you’ve enjoyed and which you’ve chosen to pass on.

And if you are a fan of classical music, feel free to educate me.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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’.

115 thoughts on “Georges Bizet”

  1. Hi FEd!

    who cares about critics? I think there are only 3 kinds of things out there: those I like, those I don’t and those I haven’t an opinion because I don’t know that they even exist. I emphasise that I’m talking only about me and that I expect other people to dislike what I happen to love and vice versa.

    Having said that, I find orchestral music overloaded. It’s very hard to try to hear a specific instrument out and only the soloists will stand out for their solo part. When rock bands are gently accompanied by an orchestra it is OK for me (a good example can be found on Live in Gdansk 🙂 ).

    Crossover is always an experiment IMHO and it may sometimes work, but for my ears it mostly doesn’t. Just compare Tubular Bells with Orchestral Tubular Bells or Still Got The Blues by Gary Moore with Eric Clapton’s version.

    Have a nice weekend, too!


  2. I think I’ve mentioned before, I do listen to Classic FM. I’m not sure about opera but I do enjoy orchestral.

    I do enjoy all forms of music, even a wee bit of rap, and I think ELO were kind of along the lines of orchestral music and we all agree how fabulous they were.

    Kind regards

  3. I purchased the long-awaited ‘David Gilmour in Concert’ Apple app today, and I’m more than a bit frustrated with it. It is supposed to work with an iPod Touch 4G but, in reality, the selections only work intermittently (they’re also too small to select accurately), it crashes, some links don’t work and, most frustrating of all, I can’t play the video onto a TV. This latter feature works fine with every other video I play through an official Apple HDMI adapter. However, in the case of the DG in Concert app, only the sound is sent down the HDMI cable, not the video!! There’s little point in having most of the footage in HD, when you can only watch it on your tiny iPod screen. It would have made much more sense to have just released this as a concert video on iTunes (rather than an app). I would have happily paid twice as much for it to at least work properly and for the video to be capable of being output to a HDTV.

    After buying a lot of David Gilmour and Pink Floyd stuff via iTunes, I feel as though I’ve been ripped off by the technical shortcomings of what should be a great product.

    1. I’m really, genuinely sorry to hear this. I’m not surprised you’re disappointed after waiting so long for it.

      I’m afraid I can’t do anything other than pass your feedback on, which of course I will do.


    2. FEd

      Many thanks for your comments on my message. I’ve also heard from the developers of this app. Unfortunately, they don’t know why I’m experiencing these issues. They also informed me that none of the footage is actually in HD on this App, despite what it says on Apple’s description of the product. However, even if it is only in SD, I would still like to be able to watch it on my widescreen TV, using my Apple HDMI adapter, as I can do with all of the other videos on my iPod.

      So, sadly, it looks as though I’ll be requesting a refund for this product and I’ll just have to revert back to watching my worn out VHS copy of David Gilmour in Concert.

      1. That’s fair enough. I can’t understand why you can’t use the Apple HDMI adapter, though.

        Apple should alter their description. Some of the concert was filmed in HD, but to claim that the app is HD is incorrect.

        As for it being released as a concert video on iTunes instead of an app, I’m told that this option was considered, but then you wouldn’t have been able to have any of the DVD extras included.

        Has anyone else had any problems, with either the Apple or Android app?

    3. Just a quick update. I’ve requested a refund on this App. I heard from the developer that the current version of the App does not have the ability to provide video out from a 4th Gen iPod Touch, so it’s of limited use to me (never mind the problems with the links etc).

      For the record, I have an iTunes version of the last live DVD release from Coldplay. It’s a great video and the extras are available to you on your computer (but, unfortunately, not your iPod). Providing your computer has a HDMI output, you can simply plug this into your TV using a HDMI cable to watch the extras (including a very good live version of The Scientist on that particular video).

      I have to admit all of this incompatibility between devices, formats etc, drives me crazy. I just want to be able to watch and listen to my favourite artists, while ensuring they get paid for it too. It’s no wonder that people just revert to watching and listening to unofficial footage on YouTube, as it seems to work with almost everything.

    4. I would have happily paid twice as much for it to at least work properly

      I would rather think that’s they (Pavement was their name?) who should pay reckless buyers of the app – to compensate for the moral damage. I would be happy enough with removing the choir from “Coming Back To Life” as a compensation, for example. Would you? Surely they can easily do it with their newest techniques.

    5. Has anyone else had any problems, with either the Apple or Android app?

      All the problems IMcK described, I have with Android too, except, probably, the problem with the adapter, which I didn’t try using. I just thought it’s all because of my phone Android system (as the app was originally developed for iPod/iPhone/iAnythingElse, and maybe it was not easy to adapt it for Android, so…)

      But if the app does not work properly on different platforms, then obviously it’s because of the app itself, its programmers or something. Both versions seem to be raw.

    6. All the problems IMcK described, I have with Android too, except, probably, the problem with the adapter, which I didn’t try using. I just thought it’s all because of my phone Android system (as the app was originally developed for iPod/iPhone/iAnythingElse, and maybe it was not easy to adapt it for Android, so…)

      I’ve also passed this feedback on and am just sorry to hear that things haven’t run as smoothly as anybody involved in its production would have wished.

      I must add that I’ve encountered no such problems playing around with it on an iPad.

  4. Recently there was a video I shared with a friend. We looked up April by Deep Purple. What a frickin’ oldie that was filmed? Classic song. I loved the Moody Blues and the London Symphony Orchestra. Atom Heart Mother and Pink Floyd.

    Michael Kamen, bless his soul for conducting not only David, but everyone!

    Keep the Goblins in check everybody on the 31st.

  5. Just reading the blog today, Monday.

    Yesterday the world lost one of the greats in music.

    Reading the comment I couldn’t help but think of a great collaboration between songwriter, singer and orchestra.

    The song is The Power of the Heart from the album Scratch My Back.

    Songwriter: LOU REED
    Singer: Peter Gabriek
    Orchestra: London Scratch Orchestra

    The three come together to make a beautiful song.

    I got to see the Gabriel concert with orchestra at Radio City Music Hall. Gabriel performed The Power of the Heart and Lou made a surprise appearance and performed Solisbury Hill. This was the last time I would see Lou live.

    Always sad when we lose one of the giants.

  6. Oh, good grief! This topic is worthy of multiple posts/discussions which could take years. 🙂

    “Some of Wagner’s single musical structures last over two hours – and no rock musician has a clue how to start constructing something like that.” … coincidental that Mr. Hensher’s commentary was published on October 25 [2006]…

    It just so happens that it was my late father’s birthday on October 25 (one of two things he shared with Bizet) and he also happens to be my favourite baritone (a “Wagnerian” 😮 specialist). He dedicated his entire life to Opera — performing and teaching. I spent a great deal of time thinking about him, Opera, classical music and music in general, on Friday so the post came at an interesting time.

    Electric Light Orchestra were experts at the genre of fusing classical instruments into their music and Supertramp used the medium – most notably on Crime of the Century as well as Crisis? What Crisis? Both albums are worthy of a listen — try Fool’s Overture and A Soapbox Opera — brilliant tracks! FEd has mentioned, Deep Purple and the Moody Blues — I’d like to add King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King, early Genesis and of course Pink Floyd.

    While I consider Yngwie Malmsteen to be more of a brilliant technician on the guitar, he is still a virtuouso and does the classical/metal/rock fusion beautifully.

    Judas Priest, Scorpions, Mike Oldfield, Mike Batt (remember this? – so, so loved Anthony Quinn) all used orchestral variations in their compositions.

    The first time I heard Apocalyptica I nearly fell out of my seat — here was something that “gave voice” to how I had heard Opera in my head (usually with a blistering, wailing lead and a pulsing base). For the longest time I couldn’t listen to Opera despite having an appreciation for it. I am now able to tolerate it in small doses and it doesn’t quite send me into a frenzy as do musicals (people just don’t live/behave like this so I don’t “get it”!!). Something new from Apocalyptica and although it probably is more in the “classic speed metal” genre, it’s an excellent example of the use of orchestra and classical instruments. Rammstein has also used an orchestra and orchestral arrangements to great advantage.

    And then there is a rare cast of characters that are able to use their instrument/s to recreate orchestral sounds. I’d have to cheat a bit and do some research to be able to name names but the first one that springs to mind is Brian May. One of my favourite (and Lord knows, I have many) uses of classical music is Chick Corea’s interpretation of Bagatelle, No. 4″ (Béla Bartók) – it’s really quite mind-blowing and I wish I could share it!

    By the way, I’m not entirely sure I agree with Mr. Hensher — I suspect ‘ol Wagner might possibly be quite impressed with some of the stuff that some of these ‘rock’ musicians construct. :))

  7. I also have to admit I do enjoy Andrea Rieu. I was thinking of seeing him in Vienna next year for my birthday. That’s the one that follows my 49th year on planet Earth.

  8. I know I’m in the wrong genre here but this is definitely worth a listen for the sheer genius of “borrowing” directly from a little-known Opera (Mefistofele by Arrigo Boito) and incorporating it into a techno/trance/electronic track. It’s a mind-bender if you’re not expecting it!

  9. FEd and Pavlov, you always know your stuff. You have commented on the ones I would have mentioned.

    If there was a classical station in my area I would listen to it, but I would still listen to my classic rock too.

    It is sad to say that my first exposure to classic music were the Saturday morning cartoons I watched as a small child. Then I would hear them later in life when the resort I worked had the Muzak system. Made me smile. My brother took up a horn when I was in grade school (good thing we lived in the country-then when it started sounding okay, he was on to other things). Enjoyed his concerts at the school in the auditorium. They played it with a screen showing various nature scenes. Probably why I always think of animals frolicking, birds flying, or storms brewing when I hear an orchestra. But then I think that is human nature. But a flute can make one think of a butterfly or hummingbird…

    Opera takes much strength, talent, and practice. I have great respect for those that perform it. But it is not my cup of tea. Although to see live performances of plays is always a treat.

    Speaking of treats, Happy Halloween. May it be all treat and no tricks! Life is tricky enough without any added.

    1. May it be all treat and no tricks! Life is tricky enough without any added.

      Ain’t that the truth? The same to you.

  10. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Mr Gilmour twice at le Palais des Congrès in Paris in 2002 and – for many reasons – will never forget these two amazing semi-acoustic concerts (which made me stop wishing for a PF reunion, BTW). He got a huge ovation after his beautiful and moving rendition of ‘Je crois entendre encore’. Not only did he surprise and delight us but he also made us laugh a lot when he said “Ce mec, il s’appelle Bizet” (‘mec’, very familiar French word for… ‘bloke’?) LOL!

    Classical music? I do love it, especially when it includes violin or cello. One of my favourites is ‘La Méditation de Thais’ from the opera Thais by Jules Massenet, based on a novel of the same name by Anatole France. Don’t look at the violinist, just close your eyes and…

    As for Metallica, I used to like them (preferably without a classical orchestra), but what I read disappointed me. What? A gig in Antarctica? Just seems to me a bad and no eco-friendly thing to do even though they claim they will be performing amp-free and will respect the international Antarctic-Environmental Protocol. – Attention seekers? 😉

    1. Just seems to me a bad and no eco-friendly thing to do even though they claim they will be performing amp-free and will respect the international Antarctic-Environmental Protocol.

      I agree: a complete gimmick. Selfish, shallow humans should leave the most remote parts of the planet well alone and instead concentrate on trying to repair all the other parts we’ve screwed up with our insatiable desire to consume as much of everything as we can.

      That said, if it were Pink Floyd doing another ‘first in space’-type of thing, I’m sure many of us would eagerly approve and want to take part. How fickle we are at times.

      More bands staying close to home, live-streaming gigs to people to watch in their homes, I say. Let’s see Ticketmaster find new ways to charge fees for that.

    2. That rendition of Méditation is just stunning Michèle! I think the conductor thinks so as well. :))

    3. … I think the conductor thinks so as well.

      Oh, had I been in the conductor’s shoes, I sure would have preferred this violinist! As someone commented on YouTube, he is so damn hotttttttt! :v – David Garrett, German violinist (born 1980). Another handsome DG. :))

      We mentionned Albinoni in the chatroom. Here is David Garrett performing the Adagio in G Minor. Wow again…

  11. Time for a more constructive comment …

    I enjoyed David’s version of ‘Je Crois ..’ even though it has me on the edge of my seat in case he can’t reach the notes – it fitted in very nicely with the tone of that very enjoyable evening on the South Bank. I’m sitting listening to an Operatic rendition of it as we write. Which is preferable? Musically the versions are similar but we have a “natural” singing voice to compare with a “trained” one – the latter has more power, certainly, and if I knew what I was talking about I dare say I could point out its technical quality … but it lacks emotion and expression to my raddled old ears. I can admire it but it’s hard to love and that in many ways encapsulates my feelings about Classical music generally.

    Now I am (as the Irregulars will know) far from a philistine and there are plenty of classical pieces that I find moving, soothing and occasionally rousing but I find also that there is a lot that leaves me cold. “Ah wait,” I hear you say. This is of course equally true of “Rock” music. Of course there is good and less good in all genres (not much is bad because music is inherently pleasurable, leaving aside ‘Grandma, We Love You’ which defies classification) but those classical pieces that appeal to me are generally ones where there is minimal orchestration … a piano, a string quartet, a lone voice, a cello … where the connection with the musician is direct and undiluted. Less, it seems, is definitely more. Big orchestras and choirs evolved to solve a problem that no longer exists – that of amplification. The discipline required leads to a triumph of technique over emotion. Or so it seems to me. Maybe I am just not a technique Geek.

    I’m not generally a fan of Rock and Orchestra getting together. As noted by Taki, the performance at Gdansk is about as successful an example as I can think of but this is an orchestra embellishing a rock performance on a lavish scale. It is not the essence nor is the rock version significantly diminished without it. I also confess to liking “Atom Heart Mother” a lot better after seeing the performance at Cadogan Hall – its an interesting blend but again I’d happily see a rock band give the whole lot a go.

    Take “No Leaf Clover” as another case in point. The orchestra sounds sweet enough but plug in a five piece rock band and we’re in business, hairs stand up, body parts tap and nod and the orchestra just fades back into a “wash” that a decent Synth could produce … take the rock band out and the piece never lifts off, take the orchestra out and … well, save yourself a fair old staffing bill.

    Those misadventures of Philharmonic Orchestras murdering “Pop and rock classics” was a real dead end. Presumably they were intended to take the melodies from those numbskull pop artists and lend them some credibility with people who think in quavers and crotchets. Unfortunately they tend to show that the numbskulls are those who cannot see the essential life force in the original piece.

    Another of my favourite pieces of music is “The Great Gig …” – a piece known intimately by all reading here I assume. That could as well be a piece of classical music but can you imagine it ruined by an orchestra or choir? The essence of the piece, apart from Richard’s beautiful melancholy chords, is the raw emotion of Clare Torry’s performance, so much more powerful for its technical imperfections. It has to sound like a “real person” or it is nothing … who ever heard an opera singer sob?

    We could go on … would the guitar solo in “Comfortably Numb” work better with 20 string instruments soaring (more like sawing) away at it? It would either be a mess or it would be “averaged” down to something unexciting … what we get with David is a direct connection to the Man and his emotions, undiluted, unfettered, unconducted, straight from the gut. The power and the glory.

    1. That could as well be a piece of classical music but can you imagine it ruined by an orchestra or choir? The essence of the piece, apart from Richard’s beautiful melancholy chords, is the raw emotion of Clare Torry’s performance, so much more powerful for its technical imperfections. It has to sound like a “real person” or it is nothing … who ever heard an opera singer sob?

      I think the London Philharmonic might have included ‘The Great Gig In the Sky’ in their mid-nineties The London Philharmonic Orchestra Plays the Music of Pink Floyd CD release. Not that I can remember how they did it, if I liked it or not, or if it really ‘worked’, which possibly proves your point.

      I’ll give it a listen and get back to you.

    2. You did it! You did it! 🙂

      Another of my favourite pieces of music is “The Great Gig …” – a piece known intimately by all reading here I assume. That could as well be a piece of classical music but can you imagine it ruined by an orchestra or choir?

      😮 Perish the thought …

  12. I’m shuddering in trepidation …

    By the way, at the mention of “essential life force” I caught an excellent bio (Imagine) of one Jimi Hendrix on the BBC. Highly recommended on the iPlayer for those who can. Boy oh boy …

    1. Well I found it … Clare has become a violin.

      Presumably someone rightly judged that an opera singer would have drained the life out of it … so it now sounds a bit “Schindler’s List” and has … what shall we say? … about 20% of the emotional impact. Nice tune though.

      By the way, I’ve said if before but if we are to have a re-interpretation I would dearly love to hear David have a go …

      1. By the way, I’ve said if before but if we are to have a re-interpretation I would dearly love to hear David have a go …

        Hold that thought, Tim. Worthy of a post in its own right, I say.

        Soon, soon…

    2. Well I found it … Clare has become a violin.

      If it’s the one I heard, I got about one minute into it — HATED it!

    3. By the way, at the mention of “essential life force” I caught an excellent bio (Imagine) of one Jimi Hendrix on the BBC. Highly recommended on the iPlayer for those who can.

      Thumbs up from me now, too. I saw it last night (I had saved it to watch last night, at high volume, to help drown out the fireworks).

      He really was something, wasn’t he?

  13. Friends, many of you know that I am a teacher. I know there are lots of other teachers out there in David Gilmour land, so this may not be as off-topic as it seems.

    Here in America, there is a huge move towards standardization which I am vehemently opposed to. The Common Core refers to a standardized curriculum that is being introduced over the coming years, with New York State being one of the first places to implement it. Because our Governor is going to run for President in 2016 and he wants to beef up his record for getting things done. I wrote a letter to the editor of my regional newspaper in response to an article that shows what is wrong with the Common Core. It was published there today, and here it is if you would like to read for yourselves.

    This is horrible education policy and if we don’t stop it in its tracks right now, it will soon come to a nation near you.

    1. Thanks for sharing it with us, Dan – and good for you.

      It amazes me that the people by far most qualified to make crucial decisions about what teachers teach, how they teach and when – obviously the teachers themselves who know their students and what styles and approaches work, and which don’t – rarely get the final say because other over-paid, under-worked know-it-alls in sharp suits feel, and are allowed to feel, that their views carry most weight. Many of them usually end up making a complete mess of their own suspect roles (and too many of those are in prominent positions in the first place not due to what they know, but who), so why they ought to be trusted with something as important as teaching our children, I’ll never know. Personally, I wouldn’t allow half of them to set foot inside a classroom to sit at the back in silence, never mind try to lead from the front.

      I hope you’re successful. There’s too much testing going on; it just contributes to feelings of paranoia and low self-worth from an ever earlier age, I think.

      You’d be excused for thinking that politicians want us all to be moulded into non-thinking, ultra-competitive, back-stabbing shysters, obsessed by the increasingly meaningless letters and numbers we can wave, on cue, on various dull pieces of paper or indulgently add to the end of our names in order to impress and get ahead once we’ve sucked up to the right people.

    2. I sometimes DO think the politicians want us to be molded into non-thinking, ultra-competitive, back-stabbing shysters. This is the kind of people who’ll go to work, dutifully do their meaningless jobs without complaint, and go home.

      1984 has come to our schools.

  14. Fantastic topic FEd!

    I was at both S&M shows at the Berkeley Community Theater when Metallica and the SF Symphony rocked the house. It was perhaps the second loudest show of my life. At least I know I lost sensitivity in my left ear (due to ringing) for three weeks. That ear has never recovered. The prices we pay for the most magical musical experiences simply bellies our intelligence…

    A couple of years ago Erin and I purchased tickets (at outrageous over-the-top prices) to see Peter Gabriel with the local symphony at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, CA. Good on Peter for using local musicians I thought; Unfortunately, for us, it was the most boring, asinine, waste of money-and-time production we possibly have ever been associated with. I won’t even go on.

    More recently Erin and I had the good fortune of getting some pristine center orchestra seats for the Warren Haynes and SF Symphony second night performance of the music of Jerry Garcia. That was pretty special and while not as inherently magical as a Grateful Dead show (with Jerry) it had its own special brand of whoa!

    On the Jazz front I was very lucky to record the west coast premier of Epitaph, a symphonic arrangement by Charles Mingus. Cecil Taylor has composed pieces for orchestra, which I also recorded, but calling it music instead of cacophony may be a stretch.

    Every time I see opera, the band in the pit always seems smaller than when enjoying an orchestra/symphony on stage, but the music is no less powerful. Maybe it’s just that way in the mind when we don’t see the artists in front of us.

    I will agree with others that PF has its own brand of essential orchestral integration. Atom Heart Mother is groundbreaking, and Thank You to Ron Geesin for that! I agree with Pavlov that ELO (Fire on High), King Crimson (Mars), certain Genesis pieces, some early YES, and by all means, Emerson, Lake & Palmer invoke a classical sound to their music. I think progressive music as a whole does this more than other types of music.

    While the integration of classical music with other types of music is interesting to me, it’s sort of like a movie, I may watch it once or twice, but that’s it. Kind of like that version of DSOTM done with 8-bit Nintendo audio. My favorite album, however, will be played ten thousand times or more.

    I’m currently trying to fuse Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor with some Bob Marley as a mashup, but it’s excruciatingly difficult, and I am having a very hard time completing anything I find satisfactory. My hat is off to people who know how to compose anything, because frankly, it’s an art that should be left to artists.

    Thanks again FEd, for the platform!

  15. Just stopping by to say and hope I am not stating the obvious… but you’ve missed something… again…

    ?AC RIA?

  16. “Love Reighn O’er Me”. Who. Is beautifully done using both genre of music.

    How could I forget the beauty of the violin and cello? Thank you Michele for stirring my brain. I have always loved the magic they make.

    I was thinking of opera more in the form of plays. But the “Great Gig in the Sky” is beautifully done. I think of it as a powerful voice, which is what opera is. I should look into David’s performance. I am positive it is exquisite. As everything he creates is…

  17. As chance would have it I was watching The Hairy Bikers Restoration Road Trip a few weeks back – really nice bit of soundtrack at around the 47 minute mark.

    Took me a couple of seconds to twig it. I think sometimes when you hear something like that, that’s so very familiar, in a different context it just makes you sit back and think Wow.

    1. Surprising to see A Delicate Sound of Thunder on TV, I thought. A very nice surprise, though.

      The BBC should rebroadcast the Venice 1989 concert one of these nights. That would be nice.

  18. An opera star and a rock star performing ‘Panis Angelicus’… Amazing how different the two voices are and how beautiful they sound together, no?

    Pavarotti used to sing it with his father Fernando.

    Miss you, Luciano.

    Who said on the blog (speaking about a “trained” singing voice) “…but it lacks emotion and expression”? 😉

    1. Was it me?

      Mais non! You don’t think that opera voices lack emotion and expression, do you? Oh well, don’t reply… 😉

  19. Did any one get to see the eclipse? It was not visible in my area. It would be fun to follow them. An experience one be never forgets. A must-do as often as possible…

  20. Hello fed, how is life? it’s been a while.

    lol, assuming you remember me that is, from the irregular days.

  21. can’t believe no one has mentioned the enid as one of the finest rock/orchestral based groups around, been going for almost 30 years now and deserves better recognition.

  22. A long commute home last night and I didn’t much feel like selecting a playlist for the trip home so I did a ‘shuffle’ and the first thing that pops up is this – violins strategically placed. Haven’t heard it in absolute ages and certainly don’t remember off the top of my head there being a string section. Elicited a nostalgic smile and still holds a certain ‘sweetness’ like it did back then.

  23. Speaking of German violin virtuoso David Garrett, do you know that he also covered rock songs? In 2010 he recorded a whole album of rock cover versions called Rock Symphonies. Sacrilege? I don’t think so. Of course we will prefer the original versions, but let’s all become a bit more open-minded and enjoy his renditons of:

    We Will Rock You (Queen)

    Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)

    November Rain (Guns N’ Roses)

    Check out more videos on YouTube: Kashmir, Yesterday, Nothing Else Matters, Viva La Vida…

  24. I think this would be an excellent introduction for an opera/classical music novice.

    Opera Without Words is also a good start. There’s also a series of “100 Must-Have …”

    1. Yo Pavlov, I don’t be thinkin I be bout ta eva be able ta forgive you fo’ all dis bullshit. I cannot git tha ame Dizzy-G outta mah head n’ I can’t stop bustin up every time it pops up. Which be all straight-up fucked up territory fo’ a biatch pushin 50 whoz had three kids. 😀

  25. I do enjoy a lot of classical pieces, but Jean Sibelius is most dear to me. The music is so heartbreakingly beautiful that it has brought me to tears. And so it is with any music. I listen and wait for that magical moment when my feet no longer touch the ground, my heart soars and I can fly. Now you know why, after 40 years of listening, David Gilmour’s music is still a treasure I keep close to my heart.

  26. I know this not the collaboration of which was written but thought something different was worth mentioning.

    On Wednesday night in New York City there was a benefit for wounded warriors. Roger Waters as he did the previous year collaborated with American soldiers along with members of his band.

    Links to the concert are online. It is a great watch.

  27. My opinion is that artists should endeavor in any sort of product they desire to create.

    There are a lot of English words that barely translate into Spanish that are used again and again by English speaking critics, such as “self-indulgent” and “pretentious”, that are thrown again and again to anything that doesn’t fit certain standard criteria.

    As listeners we know what we like and what we don’t like, but artists shouldn’t think too much about them. If you want to mix Beethoven with Industrial Rock and with Hip Hop, if you feel like doing it… who’s to say that you are doing it wrong?

    In the end, these arrangement should be all but transparent. Do I care about Yes’ Close to the Edge origins? Not much. I enjoy it greatly. Do I think “Tales from Topographic Oceans” is pretentious? No. I just don’t like a lot of it.

  28. Wasn’t it David who once said “F*ck George Bizet”? LOL. Only joking. I love all things David, as you know Fed. Reason I mention it, I’m just sat watching the rehearsals where he said it. Very funny. x

    1. How did you find that????? Don’t answer, I think I know. :))

      I remember David saying “F*ck Bizet”. It is on a DVD, don’t ask me which one. OK, I’m asking if you remember because I can’t find it again, could be an Easter egg on something! David is rehearsing with a group of girl singers, probably musicians too. but I don’t remember. They were in David’s house (I think it was his house) rehearsing a Bizet piece and couldn’t get it just right and David said “F*ck Bizet” and laughed.

      I loved it! So funny!

      I remember thinking his voice is too posh sounding for swear words, that he was more of a classical music ‘type’ and a gentleman and ‘fancy him swearing about a classical composer’. . . then I remember he’d been in the rock world for a long time and in a lot of ways, he’s probably like you and me. Swear at the TV, the football, in the pub. . .

      Still dead classy though. 😀


      1. That’s David’s first DVD, David Gilmour in Concert, from 2001’s semi-acoustic Meltdown gig at London’s Royal Festival Hall. It’s the Home Movie extra, which shows David rehearsing with the gospel choir.

        Now available as an app as well as a DVD, of course.

  29. Somehow Pink Floyd is classical music for me. Psychedelic, experimental, yes, but THE extraordinary, enduring, classical music of the XXth Century.

    The proof is in the pudding: many, MANY, years ago as a boarder in a French nuns’ school, only classical music was allowed in our dorms. None of that depraving ‘musique pop’. One merry morning a nun burst in to check whether our beds sported perfect hospital corners and there was Atom Heart Mother blaring from my small record player. I thought my precious LP and record player would join the long list of forbidden objects already confiscated but the dear Mère stopped to listen and said ‘Que c’est beau! Qui est le compositeur?’ (So beautiful, who is the composer?) In a panic I said ‘C’est une cantate de Bach,’ (it’s a Bach cantata) and she nodded knowingly. Gusts of giggles followed her departure but my Atom Heart Mother/Bach was saved!

  30. For me, it’s always interesting to compare opinions of professionals and ordinary listeners. So I do care what critics say… until they say something disgusting about what I love. 🙂 Then I say: OK, it’s your business to write silly words, and mine is to like what I do like and dislike what I dislike, and yes, this is all that matters.

    Generally, I agree with Taki, that “crossovers” sometimes work, but mostly don’t. It all depends on the artist’s talent and sense of style, I think, and sense of proportion, I’d say, ability to know where to stop. I like collaboration between rock musicians and orchestra, when the orchestra gently accompanies rock band, how David Gilmour did in “Let’s Get Metaphysical”, and (yes) in “You Know I’m Right”. Yes I know, many of critics think that’s the worst Gilmour’s album, but not being a critic, I think it’s the best while the most underrated one – we have the different criteria, and perhaps we should to.

    Not often I like rock/pop musicians playing classical music, interpreting it in a way they like/can. Attempts of classic musicians to perform rock themes do not seem a very good idea to me at all. London Philharmonic Orchestra playing Pink Floyd’s hits did convince me entirely that they should better not do experiments like that… well, at least it surely should not be Pink Floyd music. 🙂

    Thinking of examples of rock-classic collaborations, I like very much “Moody Blues”; “Metallica” more than “Deep Purple”, McCartney more than Gabriel, Pet Shop Boys – did not hear and am frankly not interested in… Sting playing a lute – very interesting. I always like using classic instruments by rock musicians (except trumpet – really hate it). My favorite is Caroline Dale with her Cello, adore her appearance everywhere in Gilmour’s music, she matches him perfectly, I think. The Doors’ version of Albinoni’s Adagio is very impressive. Surprisingly authentic, if I may say, they caught the right mood. Awesome.

    Classic/pop duets I only approve as a joke (like a tribute to Pavarotti’s anniversary- and even so, the Great Luciano looked like a lion, used to own the whole savannah, putting in a dog’s kennel – not a happy lion, in my view)… Operatic singing, generally… I forget that I don’t like it only when hearing Pavarotti or Kallas. I share the opinion of Tim_c at this point, can’t say better.

    1. My favorite is Caroline Dale with her Cello, adore her appearance everywhere in Gilmour’s music, she matches him perfectly, I think.

      I absolutely agree.

  31. ‘Snow Patrol Reworked Live at the Royal Albert Hall’ is well worth checking out on DVD. This was included as part of the deluxe version of their last album, ‘Fallen Empires’. The famous RAH organ is used to great effect on the song ‘Dark Roman Wine’.

  32. I find this all very interesting as over 21 years ago I wrote a classical strain of music and finally recorded it as a full symphony recently. Although the only real instrument in my classical track are my guitars… the midi did well.

    I do however, plan to play my ‘Solitario in Dmin’ live one day with a full orchestral backing. And I admit when I was in the process of recording my symphony there were a few occasions where I had to run out of the studio crying because it moved me so much.

    I have always been a fan of the cross over of Classical/Rock music and think that Pink Floyd are classed as classical musicians in my opinion…

  33. Had to share this, because it made me laugh out loud.

    I usually don’t pay attention to popups, but this one said that David Gilmour had secretly gotten divorced and remarried following the unexpected birth of his love child by the new bride. I thought, No. Way. Could. This. Be. True. But I just couldn’t ignore that. I read the article in disbelief and was about to go to other sources to disprove it, when I spotted the disclaimer: this article was satirical in nature and was not intended to be taken seriously in any way. Then I had a good laugh. It says a lot about David that while this kind of behavior is increasingly commonplace among celebrities, we just know (and I mean, we KNOW) that David would never do anything like this.

    There was another “article” on the same site about Roger getting shitfaced drunk and forgetting the words to “Another Brick In the Wall” during one of his “The Wall” shows. And one about Paul McCartney saying “I never really liked John anyway.” And one about Ozzy Osbourne doing a 12-step program.

  34. Hi Fed, I couldn’t find my glasses but on the home page I think it says I should send you a request for a signed photo, a personal message, and one of David’s guitars.

    Kind regards

    P.S. Was down London the other day, soooo busy. Couldn’t live there, would drive me nuts.

    1. I think it says I should send you a request for a signed photo, a personal message, and one of David’s guitars.

      :)) You wish it did.

      Even the word ‘London’ makes my blood pressure rise.

  35. Anyone see Jeff Lynn, Children In Need, Thursday? Played two classic ELO numbers. Brilliant.

  36. Fed, do you know any more details if this is true?

    Just read online that there are rumors that David is working on a new album, which will be released 2014, and that a new tour is also planned.

    If true, that would be such a thrill!

    1. I wouldn’t take anything you read at Mediamass seriously. Have a closer look.

      “The website is the medium of our satire to expose with humour, exaggeration and ridicule the contemporary mass production and mass consumption that we observe.”

  37. If that was April with Deep Purple. I love that song you referred to Fed. I miss Michael Kamen, what wonders he could have produced, Jimi, and all those gone now. Another topic for sure.

    I’ve read that Atom Heart Mother was not up to snuff with the band, but I treasure it in my mind because there was a new sound that captured the moment for Floyd.

    As a Bass Clef Baritone player in high school in 70-74, I’ve always appreciated the fact that big bands or orchestras don’t get the accolades they deserve while performing. Kudos to all musicians in the fold.

  38. With regard to Georges Bizet…

    I once saw David play Je Crois Entendre Encore at the Royal Festival Hall.

  39. Hi Fed,

    There is a story on that quotes Graham Nash as saying he was just getting the train to Brighton to sing on David Gilmour’s new album.

    Can you confirm or otherwise before we all start to get too excited?


    1. I couldn’t possibly comment, but I do think Graham Nash singing on any album improves it. A fine voice indeed.

  40. Off topic, but more importantly: How about that interview Graham Nash gave about working on David’s new album? Can you give us any info or tidbits yet, FEd, or must you still play coy? 😉

    Irregulars are stirring and getting excited! Looking forward to another great ride!


  41. I do believe that David plays his guitar as a symphony. He is a piece of the orchestra. Or he, himself, is the orchestra.

    P.S. I do realize an orchestra means more than one. But David makes his guitar fill/feel the air with such beauty, it sounds so encompassing.

  42. I’m hearing rumblings. Deep rumblings. Oh please let them be true!!

    (P.S. I am not talking about my stomach, although am pretty peckish right now!!)

    1. If we are indeed to climb a stairway to heaven, then this may be the bustle in the hedgerow … (don’t be alarmed now) …

    2. Ooooohhh, it really makes me wonder…

      And it’s whispered that soon, if we all call the tune
      Then the piper will lead us to reason.

      And a new day will dawn, for those who stand long…

      Your stairway lies on the whispering wind…

      And if you listen very hard
      The tune will come to you at last.

  43. I don’t want to bring anyone down 🙁 but it might be that the guys went to visit David, because they’re pals and all that, they had a sing-along because they all enjoy it and somehow the music press found out and made 2+2 = 5.

    To all of us: A Very Merry Unbirthday to You

    ash, getting back in my tea pot now 🙂

    1. it might be that the guys went to visit David, because they’re pals and all that, they had a sing-along because they all enjoy it

      You’re absolutely right, Ash. Nobody should get too carried away.

      Sorry to disappoint, but there’s no new album or tour on the horizon just yet.

    2. “Just yet” is good enough for me to reinstate the ‘Gilmour tour fund’ bank account. Good job F’ed!!

    3. Well his quote does say “new record”. So yeah, I’m going to get carried away. But I’ll be polite and ease up on FEd. I’m sure he’ll get involved if/when he needs to.

  44. The man who introduced me to the magic of the Pink Floyd all those years ago but feels like yesterday, passed away. My step dad, proud to call him dad but my friend and hero. Such a big character. I will miss him deeply.


  45. 1, 2, 3 – 0 ! Bravo Les Bleus!

    Thank you so much, Sakho. I hope you wear those same boots on Saturday. Allez Les Rouges!

  46. No Ash, Nash outright said in an interview that he was taking a train to David’s place to work on an album. It’s on the internet, I presume it was on TV in the UK.

    That’s a pretty hard statement to misinterpret, hence all the rumblings about it, since. It’s okay, we’re use to David and his camp being tight-lipped about things until David’s ready. Good job, Nash, spilling the beans! It’s OK, I’ll wait…..

    1. No, no. . . if Fed says there’s nothing happening. . . there’s nothing happening. 😉

      ash :))

  47. We as long life fans are used to David being reluctant to reveal anything until it is perfect as it will be when he has finished. I have always remained hopeful of another album and as a fan I can’t help feeling with what Nash said that we are closer than ever.

    It feels right been back here contributing to the blog. I feel at home. Hello everyone from an old irregular, I’ve come home, LOL.

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