Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews
I Hear a Symphony – The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra cond. by Ben Foster perform The Classic Hits of Motown (+ The Crouch End Festival Chorus on 8 tracks) – Silva Screen
Published on December 31, 2009
I Hear a Symphony – The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra cond. by Ben Foster perform The Classic Hits of Motown (+ The Crouch End Festival Chorus on 8 tracks) – Silva Screen SILCD1297, 59.1 min. ****:
Evan Jolly was the arranger for these 14 tracks, and a fine job he has done. There have been similar orchestral/symphonic albums of The Rolling Stones, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Yes, Steely Dan and many other pop and rock groups; some are fun and other fall flat. This one is a success.
Lamont Dozier, who wrote many of these tunes for Motown together the Holland Brothers, writes the brief album notes, and is excited for the world to hear how the songs have magic and versatility when heard in this different, mostly orchestral dress. In the late 60s I found myself in an environment in downtown San Francisco at lunchtime where some of these tunes were played, and I recall others from Supremes albums, but several were new to me. Of course “Dancing in the Street” was immortalized by The Mamas and the Papas. They mostly stand up as good music in these arrangements, much as the Beatles tunes tend to. There’s variety in the settings, and of course the orchestra is top flight – not something thrown together just for the recording session, as with so many similar albums. The chorus is Huge and takes the tracks on which it appears to a whole higher level.
TrackList: I Hear a Symphony (Overture), Dancing in the Street, I Heard It Thru the Grapevine, Get Ready, My Girl, Three Times a Lady, Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone, Just My Imagination, For Once in My Life, Touch Me in the Morning, What’s Going On, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, Someday We’ll Be Together, I Hear a Symphony (Finale)
– John Henry