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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The goats from the sheep
I've always loved A Passion Play, so I'll just have to let it quietly pass that Ian Anderson himself thinks I should only be permitted day release from a mental institution.

The remastered stereo and 5.1 mixes here of both A Passion Play itself and the Château d'Hérouville sessions are quite simply glorious. APP is loud, crystal clear, sparkling, and...
Published 5 months ago by Patrick Byrne

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Hare who ruined an album
some excellent music from Tull completely negated by the story that would probably have been better served on Listen With Mother or Monty Python.

Perhaps one day in these modern times someone will edit the story out.
Published 1 month ago by Catfish Knight


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The goats from the sheep, 5 July 2014
I've always loved A Passion Play, so I'll just have to let it quietly pass that Ian Anderson himself thinks I should only be permitted day release from a mental institution.

The remastered stereo and 5.1 mixes here of both A Passion Play itself and the Château d'Hérouville sessions are quite simply glorious. APP is loud, crystal clear, sparkling, and full of depth and colour, not to mention two great new verses in 'The Foot of Our Stairs'. Ian Anderson suggests in the notes to this handsome package that on reflection APP was maybe all a bit one dimensional. That's a baffling observation. If anything, APP is the most complex and musically colourful of all Jethro Tull albums. Thick as a Brick is arguably more one dimensional by comparison -- and I love TAAB.

The CdH sessions, while much rawer but also with much greater depth of sound and no overdubs as per previous releases, reveal more fully than ever before the great album that might have been.

In retrospect, it makes sense, to me at least, to see 1973 as a year in which Jethro Tull suffered a lot of bad luck: the living conditions at the Château were awful, not the recordings; the subsequent abandoning of those recordings and the hurried recording of APP leading to the live performance of a complex, demanding piece before its release without, crucially, time for fans and critics alike to adjust and absorb. The bad reviews and the rest followed, as most of you know.

Ultimately, that was a great shame, because, taken together, APP and CdH speak to me of a band at its most daring, brave, experimental, risk-taking best. Ideas were just flowing in Tull at this time. No, they didn't all work and, no doubt, many of the CdH recording would have undergone considerable refinement has they been pushed further. With some better luck in 1973, things might have been different, not so reined in, thereafter.

But APP itself? I'm not sure I even buy the line any longer about it being brilliant but flawed. Listening to it a number of times over the past few days in these crisp new stereo and 5.1 mixes, I think I might finally conclude it is simply brilliant. There is simply not one section of it, one moment, one single phrase that I don't like. What's that you say? Oh, The Hare...? Well, if you don't get it, you don't, and fair enough.

I think I've decided to leave instructions that when the time comes for hush along my very own Fulham Road, A Passion Play will be played in full at my funeral. That'll sort the goats from the sheep and decide who benefits from my will.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The wait is finally over, 1 July 2014
I can't remember being so keen on a forthcoming Jethro Tull release in all my days. APP has always been one of my fave Tull albums, being from the period when I consider the band were at the peak of their powers. I never understood why the album was often praised but with reservations. I never found it a difficult listen nor one that took time to get to grips with.
Steven Wilson has done an unbelievable job with these remixes thus far. The music has in my opinion been taken further than Mobile Fidelity ever did with this stuff. There is real clarity and separation in the mix and this enables the listener to experience this fantastic music with fresh ears.
I have looked forward to this release as much for the Chateau D'Herouville sessions as the main attraction, as I probably listen to this stuff as frequently as I do A Passion Play. There are some real gems amongst Chateau D'Herouville which I will never understand being buried for as long as they did. If anybody reading this review has not heard this stuff then I urge you to buy this release if only for this stuff, some of which is Tull at their best.
It's so nice to finally have a crystal clear version of Sailor, as many of us have been hearing a rather poor quality grab of this tune for some time. A great song which has finally been fully unearthed and dusted down with Mr Wilson's magic touch.
Steven Wilson opted to omit the 1993 flute overdubs from the D'Herouville material and in areas this is to the benefit of the music. It certainly allows one to listen to the 'authentic' sessions. However there are moments where I half wish he would have retained Ian Anderson's 1993 input, where I think it enhances the music. Critique Oblique is an example. It is a minor gripe though.
All in all it is a thing of audio beauty and in my opinion worth multiples of its retail price. As I do not have a 5.1 setup, my review is of the stereo side of this package, but as Steven Wilson rather specialises in 5.1 mixes and hires music I have complete faith that this part of the package more than pulls it's weight. One day when I'm rich I will add to my setup the gear which will allow me to appreciate the DVD-a disks!
Five stars
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revisited masterpiece, 5 Feb 2010
By 
J. L. Williams (london United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Passion Play (MP3 Download)
Almost 20 years have passed since I last listened to this. When it was first released my flatmate and I listened to it obsessively to the point that it enetered our consciousness. I had truly forgotten about its titanic presence in the pantheon of rock, and as a previous reviewer suggests, it is a piece of genius up there with Handel's Messiah, etc. which will come to have its rightful place in time.
Well, thanks to finally embracing MP3 technology in my mid fifties, 'Passion Play' is back in my head and I can't shake it out - nor do I want to! I've just come back from a bike ride and wasn't connecting with the landscape. Those haunting lyrics; 'All along the icy wastes, their faces smiling in the gloom; roll up, roll down feeling unwound, step into the viewing room!'really are quite disturbing. Of course, all the words of 'the Hare' come flooding back and put a smile on my face - a wonderful interlude, but for me one truly magic moment is the symphonic burst at the end of the 'Hare' which takes us back to that ominous pulse and swirling layers of flute which carries us onward.

This is the best of Tull - the weave of opera, obtuse yet such poetic lyrics, the undercurrent of mocking menace, the signature flute and the craftsmanship of the band. As with Schubert or Van Gogh, its day will surely come
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A complex and challenging work, 15 Sep 2008
By 
Cartimand (Hampshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Passion Play (Audio CD)
As a Tull fan since my schooldays (first getting into Thick As A Brick when I was around 13), I can never decide which is my favourite album of theirs. It's usually the one I'm listening to at the time (with the exception of the bland disposable syntho-pap of Under Wraps). The same rule holds good for A Passion Play ....... but only just. Whilst superficially similar to TAAB, and even half-reprising a couple of the themes of that masterpiece, APP is certainly not an easy album to get into.
I recently bought the enhanced CD, as my old vinyl copy had become so scratchy as to be almost unplayable. The clarity of sound, the bonus video of the Hare Who Lost his Spectacles and the sumptuous packaging, containing some quite illuminating notes penned recently by Ian Anderson, were absolutely first class.

On my long drive into work each day, I've been playing the CD several times (yes, even the Hare bit!). Last night I woke up with the music so stuck in my head that I couldn't sleep for hours. Yes! A quarter of a century on, I had got into APP all over again! Never mind the somewhat pretentious concept and the downright morbid motif, just listen to the virtuoso performance as themes merge and intertwine in magical fashion. Heavy, almost Black Sabbath-like guitar assaults you from the left, swirling flute and sax from the right, atmospheric keyboard sounds and pounding, mesmeric drums punctuate everything, whilst Ian Anderson's vocals have rarely conveyed such passion.

For a pleasant chill-out session I would certainly plump for almost any other Tull album (notably Songs From the Wood, TAAB or Heavy Horses), but for a profoundly moving and ultimately highly satisfying musical appreciation, there is little to compare with A Passion Play.

I couldn't quite bring myself to award the maximum 5 stars, simply because the intensity of this piece precludes too frequent listening, and the whimsical humour of "Hare" grates after a while (the CD does not permit the listener to skip that track). However this much-maligned album remains an essential purchase for anyone interested in this most cerebral of classic Brit rockers.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll either love it or hate it!, 9 Aug 2007
By 
Lucas Biddle (Gold Coast, QLD Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Passion Play (Audio CD)
No-one likes this album: they either love it or they hate it. It polarises people.

Upon first listening to A Passion Play I was quite disappointed, especially when compared with Thick As A Brick, Jethro Tull's previous concept album. 'Why did I buy this junk?' I thought. My second listen felt a little better. By the third listen I was addicted.

It's fairly similar in structure to Thick As A Brick, though much darker in feeling. Brilliant chord progression and licks. I love the little intermission where "The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles" is told, backed with amazingly suitable music and other effects.

I absolutely love this album. It's a very close second to Thick As A Brick for me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At long last I can be rid of that blasted rabbit!, 26 Aug 2014
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Having enjoyed their hit singles in my formative radio listening years, I got fully into Jethro Tull in the mid 1970's since which time I've been a lifelong fan of the band. "Thick As A Brick" has always edged it as my favourite Tull album, perhaps unsurprisingly given my penchant for more 'progressive' rock generally. Logic then, would dictate that "A Passion Play" should at least have been my second choice, if not actually being my preference over "TAAB". However that was never the case. Indeed, throughout the 'vinyl years' this album languished in my collection as the great ignored Tull album; the one I just couldn't get into. And there was one very good reason for that! ...You see, many truly great albums, particularly those in the more progressive genres, require the listener to put a little work in, getting beyond what may at first seem 'complex' or 'difficult' on the ear, to truly recognize and appreciate the genius of the artists on display within the multifaceted music. ...Sadly I always found that having to leap up and fiddle about trying to place the needle in the groove so as to avoid my ears being assaulted by several minutes of dreary, childish and thoroughly annoying old tosh about a bloomin' pantomime lagomorph, entirely spoiled my listening experience! I refer of course to 'The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles'. I have never understood what the point of this poorly executed piece of nonsensical drivel was ever supposed to be, and I doubt I ever will. Even at first listen it isn't funny, nor even slightly amusing, and if it's supposed to be a metaphor or parable, conveying some kind of deep message then I'm afraid it is an utterly hamfisted attempt that entirely fails to do so. For me, the only thing this annoying interruption achieved was to entirely spoil what was probably a good album, rendering it impossible for me to ever properly get into the music. So despite my brain telling me otherwise, to my ears "APP" remained a dense and difficult listening experience that I was never able to fully assimilate and enjoy. - Years passed and along came the advent of CDs, and various remasterings, but each time, the vinyl error of not making the track a separate band that could be easily skipped, was replicated. Only in more recent years when I finally managed to make a rather iffy copy of the album on my computer, with the dreaded interruption rather clumsily edited out, could I finally listen properly to this album and begin to discover what a great musical work it truly is! Which was utterly wonderful - like discovering a brand new Tull album from their 'classic' early '70s period. ...And now, joy of joys, I have in my hands a brilliant sounding remixed version with all the music now in separate track bands, so that I can at last programme out the offending track 8 and listen to the musical work in all its splendid remastered glory, sans hare! The myxomatosis mix! Whoopee! - Plus a wonderful new, full version of the "Chateau d'Herouville" album that very nearly never was, and all the rest of this excellent package to boot. Following on from the very good, if not quite wonderful "TAAB 2", and the extremely excellent, best stuff in years, new album "Hommo Erraticus", this has all made me a very happy bunny indeed, with or without my spectacles!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critics hang your head in shame, 5 Aug 2009
By 
Huck Flynn "huckleberry" (northern ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Passion Play (Audio CD)
Previous reviewers have renewed my faith in the music listening public. I got this on its original release (1973?) and it was almost universally slated by critics - curiously the same critics who had praised (and rightly so) the previous album Thick as a Brick. Well PP is really TaaB II - the same extended musical brilliance with some subtle differences ( including Anderson's new mastery of soprano sax as already pointed out). Complaints that Tull had stopped writing songs or had somehow betrayed their rock and blues roots were ridiculous - Tull were simply moving on, progressing if you will. PP is fundamentally approximately 10 pieces of music joined together in clever and creative ways to form a superb thematic whole. It may not suit those with a short attention span or electric guitar junkies clammering for extended wailing lead solos but at least they can go back to Stand Up, Benefit or Aqualung for that. For the rest of us who were willing to suspend judgement and give it a listen, what a thoroughly rewarding experience over the years, and, as others have said, it is still fresh. The playing is masterful - as well as Anderson's wonderful acoustic work, breathy flute and honeyed warble, the sax is an expressive melodic weapon, in Anderon's hands more baroque than jazz. John Evan's keyboards are inspired, sublime and entertaining, Barre's guitar is subtle and intricate and the rhythm section of Barlow and Hammond take the composition through a bewildering and impressive number of time signatures. It's an inspired piece and the 45 minutes flies past showing that Tull can do what Yes were so good at with Close to the Edge but without the ridiculously pretentious lyrics, although Ian Anderson's sometimes are a bit silly in a schoolboy humorous way. I must disagree with some previous reviewers - after two listens i never wanted to hear the mildly amusing interlude "Hare Who Lost His Specs" ever again. Thankfully with modern technology you can program this out. Passion Play is wonderful rock theatre; may the curtains go up on it many times.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated atmospheric brilliance!, 8 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: A Passion Play (Audio CD)
...I fully agree with Peter Knowles' review. This is (IMHO) one of the most under-appreciated albums ever made, with amazing production. The feel, composition and musicianship are stunning throughout - and it never gets boring. The first listen can be a bit of a challenge to those used to Tulls' more 'conventional' works, but stick with it and it becomes SO rewarding to listen to! BUY IT!!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My joint favourite Tull Album, 25 Feb 2012
By 
This review is from: A Passion Play (Audio CD)
Bombastic? Yep

Indulgent? - Yep

Just one long song? - Yep (split by the silly Hare tale)

A concept album by any chance? - Yep

Slaughtered by the music press on release? - Yep

No wonder I love A Passion play (APP) so much. It is between this album and Thick as a brick(TAAB) as to my favourite Tull album. Such an intricate piece of music. The tale is a fascinating one about someone watching their life being replayed "step into the viewing room". There are so many excellent sections, particularly on side two - "We sleep by the ever-bright door", "Summoned by name" and "Magus Perde" sections. The whole piece blends really well together. Lots of superb music, lots of variation in tempo.

Another observation I'd make is that APP, like some of the classic albums of the 70's, (Close to the edge, Selling England by the pound, Pawn hearts, Moon madness & Ommadawn etc) sound as fresh to my ears today as they did when I first bought them. The price of this cd and others by this great band seem almost too cheap considering the amount of repeated pleasure they will bring most listeners. Tull went on to produce some fine albums after APP, Minstrel in the gallery, Songs from the woods and the underrated Stormwatch to name a few.

But this and TAAB represent, IMHO, Tull at their peak. I can't separate the two of them in a head-to-head fight because I prefer side one of TAAB and Side two of APP. Whatever, APP is one hell of an achievement.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a very worthwhile extended performance, 1 July 2014
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I would guess that most fans considering this purchase will already be intimately acquainted with this album. I myself are amongst the 'hard core' that have rated this as my favourite Tull album. Sad maybe, but remember APP reached No.1 in the US. I would heartedly recommend it to all who love the album already, or want to re-experience it. The sound engineering by Steven Wilson is superb as always. He has managed to remix and rejuvenate the sound brilliantly without losing any of the character of the original mix. This is demonstrated on both the CD and DVD 5.1 mixes. The music has been organised into individual tracks (similar to the MFSL remaster). However, the album plays gapplessly as its intended to be a song cycle I assume. This gives one a chance to skip the 'Hare has lost ..........' in case you find it tedious after 1,000 plays! There is even an extra verse on the 'Foot of Our stairs' track which has been inexplicably missed on previous releases. This is another example of the care and attention that has gone into this release along with the 80 booklet giving further incite from Steven Wilson, the ballerina and the infamous 'Crime of Passion' review.

Great care has also been taken to review the Chateau d'Herouville sessions. Although much of the work has been recycled into APP and subsequent albums, the sessions still work as great contribution to the Jethro Tull body of the work. Here they are presented as remixed pieces in CD as well as 5.1 surround and should not be seen as just early version 'fillers' that you find on many deluxe offerings from other artists. Jethro Tull have more respect for their fan base than that.

I hope that this release sparks a re-evaluation of APP within the 'prog rock' genre and renews interest in a sometimes maligned Album. Keep the Jethro Tull re-releases coming. I will certainly pre-order with confidence if this is the quality of work I can expect.
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A Passion Play
A Passion Play by Jethro Tull
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