Made in UK in 2008, Serial# PUR-354, Running Time 47:53
The details in the product description are a bit misleading... There are 2 editions of this re-issue: 1 in digipak (this one), and 1 in a regular jewel case (PUR-355).
Second, the digi-pak edition comes in 3 different artwork options: one with the original UK artwork (showing the Gemini), 1 with the original US artwork (a stellar chart), and 1 with the US re-issue (some aquatic scenery with a fishhead reaching for Planet Earth). You will get 1 of these, but NOT all 3 covers.
There are 6 tracks (not 8 as listed here), and their titles make reference to the instrument showcased (i.e. Guitar, Piano, Drums, Vocals, Bass Guitar, Organ); they are not signs of the Zodiac (though the musicians are credited under their respective Zodiac sign).
The remastering job is impressive, especially considering that this album was released back in 1971. No previous CD edition compares to it.
Music-wise, the combination of rock instruments and orchestra is much better balanced than on Deep Purple's "Concerto For Group and Orchestra"; on this album, the contrast is not as drastic, and you can feel the complicity between the band and the orchestra; it doesn't feel like a "battle" between the 2 factions. Perhaps the absence of Blackmore, combined with Jon Lord's previous experience all contribute to a much tighter collaboration.
In my opinion, this is a more succesful classico-rock hybrid than any of Jon's other projects... The concept was a lot more innovative back in 1971 than it is today; it has been done countless times since then, but with varying degrees of success/failure.
Gemini Suite, in my book, is a good example of what it can sound like when it works well: neither camp seems to make a sacrifice in their performance, which is otherwise too often the case: either the orchestra is accompanying the band to embellish the sound (think MOODY BLUES), or some rock musicians are accompanying an orchestra to give it some whoomph. Gemini Suite sounds like both sections are working together.
Though fairly unkown, this CD is a classic in its genre.