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The Most Incredible Thing Double CD


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Pet Shop Boys (Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe) are the most successful duo in UK music history. Since signing to Parlophone Records in1985, they have had 42 Top 30 singles and 22 Top 10 hits in the UK, including four number ones.

In 2000 they were presented with the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, whilst at the 2009 BRIT Awards they were presented with the ... Read more in Amazon's Pet Shop Boys Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (14 Mar 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: Emi
  • ASIN: B004H8FGLO
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,458 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Prologue 1:47£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. The grind 7:10£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. The challenge 3:55£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Help me 2:09£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Risk 5:30£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Physical jerks 3:41£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. The competition 6:46£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. The meeting 2:52£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. The clock 1/2/3 5:47£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. The clock 4/5/6 4:00£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. The clock 7/8/9 6:24£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. The clock 10/11/12 6:29£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. The winner 2:15£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Destruction 4:10£0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Back to the grind 5:18£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. The miracle - Ceremony 1:48£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. The miracle - Revolution 2:45£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. The miracle - Resurrection 2:16£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. The miracle - Colour and light 2:59£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. The miracle - The meeting (reprise) 2:00£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. The wedding 3:22£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

PET SHOP BOYS The Most Incredible Thing (2011 UK 22-track 2-CD set - Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe release the music for their first ever full-length ballet The Most Incredible Thing. Based on the Hans Christian Anderson story of the same title Tennant & Lowe proposed Andersens story as the basis for a new ballet to Sadlers Wells in London in 2007 after a friend the then Royal Ballet principal Ivan Putrov asked Neil if Pet Shop Boys would consider writing a piece of music for himto dance to at Sadlers Wells. Coincidentally a couple of days later Chris suggested to Neil that The Most Incredible Thing would make an excellent narrative for a ballet and inspired by this synchronicity they approached Sadlers Wells with the project. The following year Javier De Frutos was chosen as the choreographer. The story is about a competition in a mythical kingdom where the King announces that whoever invents the most incredible thing will win the hand of the Princess in marriage and half of the Kingdom. What follows is creative destructive but ultimately happy. Tennant & Lowe composed most of Act One in autumn 2008 and the rest of the score in 2010. The music is a combination of electronics and orchestra. They approached the young German musician Sven Helbig to create the orchestrations and at the end of 2010 these were recorded in Poland with the Wroclaw Score Orchestra conducted by Dominic Wheeler; hard-back book style packaging)

BBC Review

Looking over the bands featured on pop compilation Now 8, released back in 1986, one could never see an act like Cutting Crew writing a ballet score. But would anyone have predicted that the Pet Shop Boys, rubbing shoulders on the same release, would be doing just that some 25 years on?

These days it’s hard to imagine pop music without the duo's presence. Here they distinguish this project from their mainstream canon with both the name Tennant/Lowe, and just the right balance of pretentiousness at play.

For a band triggered by mutual love of Italo-disco, Pet Shop Boys have come a long way: from urban pop to imperial chart-toppers, from "the Smiths you can dance to" via supergroup Electronic, to 2009’s barnstorming album Yes. They have cast their net beyond the charts before, liberating themselves from one-word album titles in the process. Both 2001’s Closer to Heaven musical and 2005’s score to Battleship Potemkin (similarly released as Tennant/Lowe) were critical successes; but here, with the Oscar-winning Black Swan in cinemas and Paul McCartney also writing a ballet, they’ve inadvertently caught the zeitgeist.

Based upon a Hans Christian Andersen short story, the ballet is collaboration with choreographer Javier de Frutos and the Wroclaw Orchestra. Never resting on their laurels, this is not Domino (Ballet) Dancing, but entirely new music. Detractors often cite Tennant’s distinctive voice as problematic, but this score, bar fleeting moments, is entirely instrumental. Strings, wind instruments, and synthesisers jostle happily together; presumably, the dancing becomes the lyrics when witnessed on stage.

The two discs here suck in influences from stadium house to chamber symphonies. There are It’s a Sin thunderclaps, and Risk gently revisits the melody of 2009 B side After the Event. The Grind’s thudding keyboards become a recurring motif, but remarkably little here sounds anything like the pair's work as Pet Shop Boys. Its minimal orchestration never drowns the listener; strings sweep and chords portend, without any track outstaying its welcome. In fact, the sole vocal section here, appearing initially on The Grind, is curtailed. Still, the yearning, Donna Summer-esque motif of "Baby, what do you want from me, baby?" could form part of a great single.

The Challenge echoes the New York excitement of their debut album Please, while the piano-led Help Me is haunting. It does meander at times, but peaks need their valleys, and the dancers presumably need a sit down. It doubtlessly works better as a full performance, but as a stand-alone soundtrack has wonderful moments nonetheless. With a new (mainstream PSB) album in the works, and projects like this showing that the band's desire to reach beyond the confines of pop shows no signs of abating, it's evident that Tennant and Lowe remain powerful forces for the progression of contemporary composition.

--Tom Hocknell

Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Scaroth, Last of the Jagaroth on 17 Mar 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Never knowingly understated, The Pet Shop Boys have added to their broad resume with this score to a ballet based on a Hans Christian Andersen story. Truly epic, this double album deftly interweaves their trademark Electro-Pop with orchestral music, creating a vast soundscape that it is still instantly recognisable as the work of Tennant and Lowe; despite Neil's vocals only making fleeting appearances. More stylistically diverse than their previous score Battleship Potemkin, this is a joy to listen to, and once again demonstrates the Boys' flexibility, flair and musical acumen.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mme DLR on 28 Mar 2011
Format: Audio CD
I used to like the Pet Shop Boys in the 80s but after that they sort of went off my radar. In fact it wasn't till they won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Brits a couple of years back that I realised they were still around. Anyway, at the weekend a friend dragged me to see this at Sadler's Wells. I didn't quite know what to expect but - dare I say it - it was the most incredible thing!

The music is an amazing mix of orchestral with thumping basses and the type of synthesiser wizardry I always associate with PSB. There are no vocals as such (apart from a few lines of a song in Act 1) and some of the sounds are pretty intense. In places it's very lush and 'Sleeping Beauty' like, in others hard percussion moving into atonality.

Of course I have the advantage of having actually seen it on stage. Quite how it plays without doing so I'm not sure. Act 2 in particular was very dependent on the visuals and listening to the CD in the car earlier with nothing but the music it was a bit difficult (which is why I'm giving it 4 stars not 5). But I'm just quibbling. This is wonderful stuff and I'm so glad I've come across this; might have to look at their back catalogue. Bravo!

PS - in my programme it said that the ballet will be touring across the UK this year. If you get a chance I'd really recommend you see it...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Guy A Johnson on 26 Mar 2011
Format: Audio CD
This is a superb composition. It does sound like a ballet score - despite the synths, disco and pop bits - but unlike any ballet score you'd imagine. There's a real sense of musical juxtaposition about the piece. It works as a PSB album too - you could imagine Neil singing along. Don't quite get the 1 star reviews here - if you like their other stuff, there's nothing not to enjoy here. A real musical exploration that shows they really know their stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Harris on 5 July 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Never been a great PSB fan and have bever been that impressed by what I've heard on their CD's. However, that's purely a matter of personal taste. This BBC4 showing was terrific and certainly brightened up yet another dull Saturday night's viewing on the box (with the exception of Wallander of course!). This has simply got to be transferred to DVD. Please don't tell me it will go the way of so many other superb televised recordings and never see the light of day. It may not be a masterpiece, but I could watch it again and again. I don't give a stuff about it not being the best ballet or the best adaptation in terms of music etc. It was simply good to watch and good to listen to.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ove Noerhave on 10 Jun 2011
Format: Audio CD
Yeah, right, so these guys from Pet Shop Boys have promised a friend to write and perform just one theme for a ballet at a friend's theatre -- and what have they come up with?
About 90 minutes of great music, a little ballet, a little classic, a little techno, a little pop, and just when you think you are able to "look throgh" what is going is, the whole thing changes.
Actually, "The Most Incredible Thing" is quite a ball of change, a musical metamorphosis.
Stay tuned, go all the way -- and remember to TURN UP THE VOLUME.
You will be rewarded with a hugh amount of great, great tunes.
Still not convinced?
Well, go ahead and listen to the second theme, "The Grind", that sort of condenses what it is all about.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kraftwerker on 31 Mar 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was lucky enough to see this at Sadlers Wells a few weeks back: an entertaining multi-media evening all round, heavy on the visual identity (as one might expect from PSBs) but a bit lacking in dance I thought at times for something that purports to be a 3 act narrative ballet in the classical mould (Neil said they wanted to do a "Tschaikovsky" ballet). A taped electronic score accompanied by a live orchestra underpins a Hans Christian Anderson short tale of a king who sets a competition to find the man who can create the most incredible thing. The prize - his daughter's hand in marriage and half his kingdom. The winner invents a fabulous clock that portrays the four seasons, the five senses, the seven deadly sins etc at the appropriate hours, only to see it destroyed ultimately by his rival for the princess' hand. Woe for the inventor, but in an allegory of how it is impossible to destroy an artistic idea, the creations of his clock return to life, punish the bad guy, and he is able to marry his princess after all.

My initial thoughts on the music were good, though too often the rhythms were over-strident (bog-standard PSB b-side disco), and apart from two or three particular themes, it is rather lacking in strong tunes. This was surprising, as one PSB strength has always been how well their songs can be orchestrated. So reviewing this as a piece of music, it must be said that great parts of it will be bound to perplex those who haven't seen the visuals (particularly Act 2 where the clock comes to life and displays the 12 hours), and bits sound merely like standard PSB disco-filler or random orchestral film music. There is no building on a great theme or developing it as there is in many of the great clasical ballets.
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