Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven" put classical disco on the map. It helped that Beethoven's symphony had a heavy percussion feel, which Murphy cranked up a couple of notches with his amazing ingenuity. Other selections, while creatively different, are just as good, but didn't burn a hole in the charts like "Fifth." "Suite Love Symphony," "Flight '76," "California Strut," and "Russian Dressing" will expand your mind and quench your musical thirst at the same time. "Midnight Express" is fine European boogie, while the horn-laden "Get a Little Lovin'" is a funky thing. It's always a nice trick when artists can define a genre with a single song, and Murphy did that. Even better when they can follow it up with an album that expands on that song's charms and delivers a satisfying listening experience.
Otto Klemperer's Beethoven is one of the towering achievements in the history of recordings. By today's standards, these performances are hopelessly old-fashioned: dark, heavy, and frequently very slow. But they are also the grandest, most unsentimental, most purposeful versions in the catalog.
In February 2001 the Berliner Philharmoniker and Claudio Abbado were guests at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome with all Beethoven symphonies. Their success was overwhelming with standing ovations after each performance. “Abbado, a Furtwängler admirer in principle, seems ever more Italian, his tauter lyricism allied to a sense of forward movement influenced, we are told, by period practice. The surprise is not the Mediterranean luminosity and scrupulous attention to instrumental detail - one expects nothing less from this source - but the animating sense of line. The Seventh Symphony… knows precisely where it's going and why… The sense of joy present throughout is overwhelming by the close.” - Gramophone Magazine.
Because Beethoven's symphonies have been played many different ways, from conventional modern versions with full-scale symphony orchestras to historically informed performances on period instruments, listeners should try several sets to get a clear idea of what suits them. Of the mainstream style of interpreting Beethoven, Otto Klemperer's approach is one of the most widely admired, and his EMI recordings of the nine symphonies have become legendary, representing the serious, rigorous, and clear-eyed treatment that he generally brought to classical music, but especially to these masterpieces…
EKSEPTION is a Dutch band that was famous during the late sixties/early seventies for the way it combined themes from classical composers with contemporary rock and jazz in a blend of dominating, virtuoso keys and trumpet plus sax(es). The story of EKSEPTION as we know it begins when they won the first prize at the Loosdrecht Jazz Festival in 1968, and they were rewarded with a record contract with Philips. At the suggestion of Rick van der LINDEN, the band's keyboard player, they decided to record rock versions of Beethoven's "Fifth" and Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance". Although initially the single with "The Fifth" did not catch on, three months after it was released suddenly it began to sell like hotcakes, and the basis for the now famous EKSEPTION formula was established: a cocktail of classical music with (symphonic) rock and jazz. Following the success of the single, their first album was recorded, which contained a mix of covers, classical themes in a rock/jazz setting, and one song written by the band.
This is a pretty cool compilation of instrumentals from the '70s. 12 of the 18 songs here were Top Ten hits, with the rest being minor hits. The title says "rock" instrumentals, but only a few of the songs are actually rock. There is more funk and disco than rock here. One of the odder trends of the '70s was dance/pop versions of classical instrumetals, and this CD has three examples of that.