This release is a remaster of the 1974 album that was recorded live at the Eurovision presentation of Prix Jeunesse on the 1st June of that year. Aside from Jon Lord, the artists taking part included both David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes along with the Orchestra of the Munich Chamber Opera. ‘Windows’ is made up of two pieces of music; the first being the rather presumptuous 'Continuo on B.A.C.H., which Lord extrapolated from an unfinished fugue by J.S. Bach, and the second being a three part piece based on Renga, a form of chain poetry developed in the Far-East during the 14th century.
The ‘Continuo’ piece, at just over 16 minutes long, is a fusion of classical, rock and jazz. When the classical elements are played in isolation there are some pleasant passages for the listener to enjoy but the rock and jazz parts, rather than blending with the classical to make a harmonious whole, compete with each other and the classical, the result being, at times, rather discordant.
The second piece, 'Window', is made up of three movements: the first being 'Renga', the second 'Gemini' and the third being 'Alla Marcia Allegro'. ‘Renga’ starts with some awful shrieking from the guest sopranos Ermina Santi and Sigune Von Osten, before settling into a loose and funky rhythm, interspersed by more high pitched 'singing' and some ad-libbed vocals from Coverdale, before climaxing with a quieter, reflective, classical ending.
The second movement, ‘Gemini’, is largely taken Lord's own ‘Gemini Suite’, which has been reviewed elsewhere on this site. It marks a stark contrast with the sometimes cacophonous din of the first movement. The classical and rock elements sit more comfortably with each other and Hughes and Coverdale provide vocals that aren't incongruous.
The third movement begins with a percussion led classical intro before some more caterwauling from the sopranos heralds a funk based mid section that wouldn't sound out of place in an episode of some'70s cop show, featuring some vocal improvisation from Hughes and Coverdale and a generally unstructured feel. Percussion, this time of the rock variety, takes over before, like light through the clouds, a piano orientated section brings some order to the relative chaos that preceded it and leads the piece, and the entire performance, to its conclusion.
Overall, this is very much a curate’s egg of a release. It's good in parts, particularly during the ‘Gemini Suite’ and some of the other classical passages. However, the meshing together of the rock and jazz elements with the classical rarely works and, more often than not, sounds like a dissonant muddle. Unless you're an avid Jon Lord or Purple fan, that has to have everything recorded by them, I would approach this release with some caution.
WINDOWS (2017 REISSUE)
Review by Dave Uphill
28th April 2017
1) Continuo on B.A.C.H.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...this is very much a curate’s egg of a release."