Jon Lord

Windows

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The least impressive of all Jon Lord's 1970s flirtations with the classics, Windows -- a collaboration with synth wizard Eberhard Schoener -- was recorded live at the Eurovision presentation of Prix Jeunesse on June 1, 1974, in Munich. Performed by both a seven-piece rock band and the orchestra of the Munich Chamber Opera, Windows comprises just two pieces. The title track, which was built around a Far Eastern renga (a form of chain poetry), is highlighted, for longtime Lord watchers, by the inclusion of large swathes of the vocal segment of his earlier Gemini Suite; and the somewhat presumptuously intended "Continuo on B.A.C.H.," "a realization" (say the liner notes) "of a well-known incomplete fugue by Bach." Whether Bach himself would have appreciated the end result is, of course, another matter entirely. While "Continuo" certainly has its moments of quite sublime beauty, one is never allowed to forget what one is listening to -- an orchestra battling it out with a rock band, and only occasionally giving ground. The inclusion of David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes in the band is particularly eyebrow-raising. Though more or less ideal for the last years of Deep Purple, neither musician was what one would call subtle, with Coverdale's histrionic bellowing, in particular, swiftly distracting from the moods that the music and the other musicians are so patently attempting to maintain. Indeed, of the photos from the concert that bedeck the album jacket, one speaks louder than many words could -- it depicts Coverdale in full vocal flight, while the horn player beside him raises his eyes, apparently, heavenward. Overlook some of the rock band's excesses, however (including an utterly unnecessary jazz fusion passage during "Continuo"), and Windows does pack some breathtaking passages, both melody- and energy-wise. Like too many mid-'70s rock 'n' classical hybrids, however, it simply tries too hard to be special.

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