Emerson, Lake, & Palmer: Voices from the Past

It’s been years since I spent more than just moments listening to Emerson, Lake & Palmer. But I dedicated a bit of time to listening to them a couple of evenings ago. What prompted me was a recent NPR piece dedicated to Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland. I love that music. During the broadcast, EL&P’s version was mentioned, so I listened the other evening. And I listened to Copland’s version(s), including one by the London Symphony Orchestra, directed by Copland. I love them all. But back to EL&P. I wasn’t utterly enamored to the group back in the day, but tonight I developed a new appreciation for their creativity and energy. Knife-Edge is incredible! It held me in rapt attention. And then I listened to Abaddon’s Bolero. Amazing! And Brain Salad Surgery!  And Karn Evil 9 1st Impression, Pt. 2. Holy mother!  These things took me back to a time I’d truly forgotten. A time when I was a loud, reckless kid. There’s good and bad to that, of course.

I listened to various versions in which Copland was involved in one way or another. I loved them all. But I fell deeply in love with one by the Minnesota Orchestra, with Eiji Oue. That music not only can, but absolutely does, bring tears to one’s eyes.

From there, I went to Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 21, Elvira Madigan. I didn’t realize how much I remembered of classical music. Well, it’s not that much. But I remember that it moves me. It’s easy to understand, having listened to EL&P alongside much more traditional versions of the same music and then following it with classical pieces from renowned composers, how music today traces its roots to a long, proud tradition of emotional “noise” that connects us to our souls.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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