Classical CD Reviews
JON LORD: Boom of the Tingling Strings (Piano Concerto); Disguises – Nelson Goerner, piano (Concerto)/Odense Symphony Orchestra/Paul Mann – EMI Classics
Published on May 21, 2008
Jon Lord was an original cofounder of the rock group Deep Purple, and has long been involved in both keyboard performance – including the Hammond B-3 – and in creating music bringing together rock, jazz and classical elements. This new one is not the first concerto he has created. He wrote and performed in the Concerto for Group and Orchestra, which involved Deep Purple and at different times both the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Last year he premiered his Durham Concerto, which involved four different solo instruments: cello, violin, bagpipes and B-3 organ (issued on an Avie CD).
Lord retired from Deep Purple in 2002 to spend more time composing, and these two new concertos are part of the result. He reports that he has long loved the sound of the symphony orchestra as much as the piano he grew up with and has played all his life. He wanted to combine these two loves in one work, which would unite these two great instruments. The unusual title of the concerto comes from a line in a 1918 D.H. Lawrence poem, Piano: “…I see a child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings, And pressing the small poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.” The poem seemed to mirror Lord’s own childhood, and he was persuaded to paint musical pictures from his own experiences using Lawrence’s poetic images.
The work is in four movements, played without pause. The first follows closely on Lawrence’s poem. Lord sees the second movement as a young man’s life filled with Bach and jazz and the impatience of growing up. The fourth movement departs from the poem to end on a more positive note, using a hymn tune first heard in the first movement, and races “the great black piano appassionato” to an ending with “as much boom and tingle as I could summon.”
The three-movement orchestral work Disguises consists of three portraits of people who have inspired Lord. Sir Malcolm Arnold is first, the composer’s mother is the second, and the final movement is for G.C. – an old friend who brought Lord “hilarity when I most needed it.”
– John Sunier