The Three Fates Project combines rocker Keith Emerson's band -- featuring guitarist Marc Bonilla -- with the 70-piece Münchner Rundfunkorchester, conducted by Terje Mikkelsen, though these orchestrations are much more ambitious than the earlier Emerson, Lake & Palmer recordings with orchestra. This is hardly a typical rock-meets-orchestra recording, as the orchestra has a more prominent role than usual, while virtuoso Emerson's occasional solos are more sublime, while all vocals have been omitted. "The Endless Enigma" was an Emerson work rarely played in concert, so hearing a fleshed-out, dramatic orchestra arrangement casts it in a different light. The complete "Tarkus" suite, retitled "Tarkus (Concertante)," undergoes an even more radical transformation, as Emerson's prominent organ fades into the background as the focus shifts to the orchestra, with Bonilla taking advantage of his featured solos, particularly in "Battlefield," while Emerson's synthesizer is dominant in "Aquatarkus." An earlier orchestral version of Emerson's "Abbadon's Bolero" appeared on a late-'70s promotional interview LP (On Tour with Emerson, Lake & Palmer), but this new recording sounds better rehearsed, with Emerson bursting out on synthesizer in the finale. Another orchestral reprise is a new version of Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," with Bonilla's potent solo in the jam section being a highlight. Both band and orchestra dive full force into Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera's lively dance work "Malambo," building to a furious climax. There are also new works that make their premiere here. Emerson's "After All of This" has a pastoral air, while Bonilla's "Walking Distance" is a multifaceted work that sounds like it could have been written for a film soundtrack. Bonilla's "The Mourning Sun" is a somber, emotional work played by the string section. The Three Fates Project succeeds far beyond earlier experiments in blending rock with orchestra, inviting rock fans to open their ears and expand their listening habits.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden