Classic Quadrophenia

Classic Quadrophenia

by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
     
 

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Pete Townshend's Classic Quadrophenia finds the singer/songwriter turning his 1973 rock opera into a full-fledged opera. Enlisting his partner Rachel Fuller to adapt the album into a classical piece, Townshend found a sensitive, simpatico collaborator who manages to retain the oversized dramatic sweep of

Overview

Pete Townshend's Classic Quadrophenia finds the singer/songwriter turning his 1973 rock opera into a full-fledged opera. Enlisting his partner Rachel Fuller to adapt the album into a classical piece, Townshend found a sensitive, simpatico collaborator who manages to retain the oversized dramatic sweep of the piece. Similarly, conductor Robert Ziegler leads the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra through the piece with gusto, mirroring the majesty of the Who if not the mayhem. Generally, that's the curious thing about Classic Quadrophenia: it is recognizably the album in its form but not quite in feel. Some of that is due to this not being a Who record, of course, but shifting the piece into the classical realm ratchets up the melancholy that runs throughout the opera, making it less an explosion of teenage angst and more of a bittersweet reflection.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
As a leading icon of the British music revolution of the 1960s, Pete Townshend made his name by creating the power chord, smashing guitars onstage, and penning anthems of teenage rebellion like My Generation.

Now, at almost 70 years old and half a century after he penned the archetypal rock lyric “Hope I die before I get old”, Townshend has created a “classical” version of one of The Who’s landmark albums – Quadrophenia – for a symphony orchestra, opera singer and choir.

The new “symphonised” version of Quadrophenia, an album originally released by The Who in 1973, was orchestrated by Rachel Fuller, a professional composer, orchestrator and singer-songwriter in her own right – and also the partner of Pete Townshend.

It will be released by the Deutsche Grammophon label, internationally renowned for its repertoire of classical and opera music, and launched this summer with a world premiere concert at the Royal Albert Hall, performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and London Oriana Choir.

The project is the latest chapter in Townshend’s lifelong mission to break the three-minute mold of the traditional pop song and take rock music to a higher artistic level. In the 1960s he defined the concept of the “rock opera” with Tommy, taking it a stage further with Quadrophenia.

Recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in October 2014 at London’s legendary Air Studios, the new incarnation of this classic rock opera is conducted by Robert Ziegler and features popular British tenor Alfie Boe on vocals, with Townshend himself on electric guitar and performing cameo vocal roles. Townshend will reprise his roles at the live world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 5 July 2015, alongside the RPO, Ziegler, Boe and other star guests. 

The rock superstar began work on the project as part of his plan to leave a legacy of all his work arranged for orchestra as sheet music, for future generations to enjoy. Townshend hopes the new work will go on to become a regular part of the orchestral repertoire and boost attendance at classical concerts.

Alfie Boe, who sings the parts originally sung by Roger Daltrey, was also born in 1973 but has been listening to Quadrophenia for years. “It’s in my blood. I grew up on rock music and always had that fantasy of being a rock singer before I trained as an opera singer. I’ve always thought the classical voice can lend itself to this type of repertoire. It’s harder than opera, but thrilling to sing. The music is so full of excitement, positivity and strength – I wouldn’t separate it from a symphony by Beethoven or Mozart.”

This album has huge potential to cross-over to multiple fan-bases and target groups - the original version has sold an incredible 1.5 million copies world-wide

The Who has 5.7 million Facebook followers, 390,000 twitter followers, and Pete Townshend himself has 187,000 Facebook friends… a large and significant fan-base to work with 

Recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in October 2014 at London’s legendary Air Studios, conducted by Robert Ziegler, and featuring popular Decca-signed British tenor Alfie Boe on vocals, with Townshend himself on electric guitar and performing cameo vocal roles

This new orchestral version will receive its world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in London on July 5 2015, performed by the RPO, Ziegler, Townshend, Boe and other star guests, and promoted by U-Live 

The concert mirrors the London launch of the 1972 orchestral version of The Who’s earlier rock opera ‘Tommy’, conceived and produced by Lou Reizner, with the London Symphony Orchestra, The English Chamber Choir, The Who, and an all-star cast

Townshend hopes the new work will go on to become a regular part of the orchestral repertoire and boost attendance at classical concerts:

“A lot of the major symphony orchestras in America are in trouble because their audience is getting old and the younger audiences prefer softer stuff, such as film soundtrack music. I think that ‘Quadrophenia’ would reinvigorate their audiences and bring in people who might not otherwise go to see a symphony orchestra perform without lights and fireworks and a movie screen.”

Product Details

Release Date:
06/09/2015
Label:
Deutsche Grammophon
UPC:
0028947945284
catalogNumber:
002275402
Rank:
16158

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra   Primary Artist
Billy Idol   Vocals,cast
Pete Townshend   Guitar,Vocals,cast
Phil Daniels   Vocals,cast
Robert Ziegler   Conductor
Alfie Boe   Vocals,cast
Dominic Peckham   Choir Master

Technical Credits

Pete Townshend   Composer,Lyricist,Producer,Liner Notes
Simon Rhodes   Engineer
Robert Ziegler   Score Supervisor
Rachel Fuller   Orchestration
Tim Cooper   Liner Notes
Christian Badzura   Executive Producer
Martin Batchelar   Orchestration
Katrin Bahrmann   Artwork

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