Rick Wakeman - Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
Where do I start? Let's begin with a few mild adjectives, shall we. Boring; self-indulgent; smug; pretentious; contrived. That will do for starters. I could go on, but you get the picture by now, I am sure. OK, I will admit that Rick Wakeman is a technically brilliant musician who is capable of playing some very good stuff with the keyboards. There should I suppose always be a place at the table of greats for someone who can tinkle the ivories well, but really, did he have to do this sort of stuff?
With his solo career he obviously wanted to make the cross over from Rock to Classical by bridging the gap through the use of synthesisers and electric musical instruments with orchestras and full voice choirs. He was not the first to aspire to that pretension. He probably (sadly) will not be the last either. The result, however, is simply devoid of any passion. The music simply does not relate to the well-known story of King Arthur. The characterisation is weak and it does not work either as a rock album or as a classical one. In truth, it simply does not work at all on any discernable level.
In the end, it just comes back to the awful pretension of this type of music. I may come across as someone with an irrational loathing for prog rock, which is odd considering I have quite a few prog rock albums and do admit to a soft spot for Rush. But this really is the thick end of a short and blunt wedge in my view. If you want to listen to classical music, listen to classical music. This album combines two of the worst tendencies of prog rock - the concept album and the music as classics. When it comes down to it, Wakeman's attempts were nothing less than the height of prog-rock pomposity and pretentiousness. It can only have come from someone who worked with Yes when they were at their self-indulgent peak. Wakeman apparently left Yes after Tales from Topographic Oceans because he couldn't take any more of the pretentious wankery. So why then did he walk right back into it with this shit?
It comes from a school of thought which believes that music is art, and must sound arty to be art for there is nothing else that matters. The idea that music can be appreciated for creating an emotional response is completely alien to this style of music. As a result it is pompous, pretentious, soporific and self-indulgent. You can just imagine Rick Wakeman sitting there all smug after its completion, expectantly awaiting the gushing reviews from "serious" music critics about how artful his new "classical" piece is. And the sheep just lap it all up in case they are seen to be uncool, and then go out and buy the latest dreary Radiohead offering.
Bollocks! Give it a rest. Give it a miss.
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