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4.6 out of 5 stars228
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 6 September 2012
I first bought this album as a 12 year old back in 1988 on cassette. I wore that out. I bought it again on CD when it was issued on Hollywood Records label in the USA on import. I bought it AGAIN when the Freddie Solo Collection 10CD box set came out and I have now bought it again in this Special Edition 4-Disc Set that has, in my mind, made what was an excellent album to begin with an INCREDIBLY BRILLIANT album now!

I had no idea that the original recording was made using synthesisers almost exclusively, it was that good. Now, having heard it again with a real orchestra, I can hear things that were previously unheard. Extra depth has been given to all the songs on this CD and improved a couple of them greatly. La Japonaise was only ever an average song in comparison to the others, now with the extra "oomph" given to it with the FILMharmonic Orchestra its full beauty has finally been revealed.

My favourite song on this album, and probably my favourite of all of Freddies solo work, has also been improved, if that is possible! The Golden Boy now really jumps out at you and I love it even more.

If you have the original BArcelona LP, buy this edition and you will be blown away. If you are new to the album, you will be blown away. If you have heard it before but never really liked it, listen to this version and you will be blown away. Easily the best CD I have bought this year and full marks to the team at Universal Records for treating this with the respect Freddie deserves and not as a simple cash cow like the Queen "Special Editions" have proved to be.
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on 3 September 2012
SUMMARY - a re-recording of the 1988 album keeping the original vocals but replacing the previous musical track with an orchestral arrangement remaining 80% true to the original but with extra flourishes. Also contains an instrumental version of the re-recorded album, a CD of out takes (all of which are found on the large 2000 Freddie box set) and a DVD of songs whose original soundtracks have been replaced with the versions found in the album.

REVIEW - a real refresh of the much-loved, cult album fusing pop, rock, gospel, classical, oriental and piano music. Is this what the album would have been if Freddie had had the time or the inclination to write for an 80-piece orchestra? We will never know but, for me, this is not necessarily an improvement on a much cherished collection of songs but I loved every minute of the reinterpretation of it.

Songs like Ensueno and Guide Me Home have not been much altered with, but the title track, La Japonaise (the true treat of the original album), The Fallen Priest and The Golden Boy have been given a brand new drama and urgency. The version of Exercises In Free Love is not to be missed.

The outtakes are interesting but you'll probably only listen to them once out of curiosity. The videos are as good as ever - I love Montserrat chasing Freddie around the stage on The Golden Boy. The new edit of the Barcelona video features many rushes not seen before. The instrumentals album is punchy but obviously let down by no Fred or Monty (as you'd expect!)

As a life long Freddie fan, I loved it.

RECOMMENDED FOR - those who love the 1988 version

NOT YET RECOMMENDED FOR - those unfamiliar with the work. Buy and fall in love with the ground breaking original and hear Freddie's version first. When you know it word for word, buy this version and get ready to have your breath taken away ... again

PS 10 out of 10 for Amazon pre-ordering. Arrived on the day of release.
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on 4 September 2012
I have always loved this album. I was terribly excited when I found out about the nature of this project, having wondered for a while why no re master of the original was forth coming. When it turned up on my doorstep on the day of release (thankyou Amazon) I couldn't wait to hear the results. I had already listened to the preview on youtube, however that really didn't prepare me for the difference between the original album and this beautifully packaged jewel.

The difference the fully orchestrated music has made is tremendous. By this I don't mean that the changes are always dramatically different to the old, though on occasion they are,but its the quality of depth they add to the songs that elevate
this recording to a different level. Whilst much of the music was always very beautiful, the orchestration enriches the music and I think invites us to treat it more seriously. It is more "classical" in its nature now. It also emphasizes or reveals more the beauty of the music. Take for example the orchestrated Exercises in Free Love. Before this I hadn't realised just how lovely the music actually is. Or Guide me back.This has always been one of my personal favourites. The music is gorgeous, the lyrics heartbreaking. The new orchestrations add considerable depth and drama to this song and indeed throughout the album. I just love it.

The only quibble I have is that it would have been nice to have a re mastered version of the original album with the deluxe package.

If you have always loved this album then you will not be disappointed. If you are coming to it new, then you are in for a considerable delight. For me it really is the peak of Freddie's post 70's writing and recording.
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on 24 October 2012
bought this album yesterday and can't stop playing it, I find this album totally fantastic and brilliant to just sit there and listen to two beautiful voices.I would highly recommend this album to anyone. 10/10
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on 4 January 2013
I saw the programme on TV about Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe and the new Barcelona tracks re-mixed with full orchestra backing. I ordered it straightaway. All the tracks are simple AMAZING and exquisite music making. This CD should be listened to with your eyes closed as it is so moving. This is something really special which I think will still be around in decades. Jackie, Grantham, Lincolnshire.
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on 11 October 2012
Thunderous, melodic, heartfelt. A triumph!

If there were any proof that Freddie still lives this is it.

Such a beautiful realisation of his dreams and ambitions. Without a single doubt what he would have wanted. A priviledge to listen to. Bravo. Bravo.

G xxxxx
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on 6 September 2012
I bought the original CD release of this album in 1992 and absolutely loved it back then. Have played it regularly over the years.

When I discovered it was being re-released to include the 80-piece orchestra, I was so excited! I ordered the album on 15th August, and was very pleased to receive it in the post on the release date.

The new orchestration is fantastic. Very subtle in some places, brilliantly bright and noticeable in others. My favourite track has always been "How can I go on?" and the David Garrett version is, strangely, a fantastic addition. The violin playing is remarkable, beautiful. I have listened to the re-worked album over and over this week, and I find the orchestration absolutely spot on. Just as Freddie would have written it.
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on 2 February 2013
I had seen documentary on TV and after the way Freddie Mercury spoke about the album and they way he obviously adored Montserrat Caballé so much I just had to buy it. When I got it was one of a very few albums that made my skin tingle on almost every single track; you cannot fail to be moved by this music and the vocals or you have NO soul at all. That comes from a complete heathen that most of my friends say has no little or no regard for music and dance at all. I so pity the reviewer that criticised the aesthetics of the printed label on the CD label when the music inside is so beautiful, they really need to get a life!
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on 23 April 2015
I was so looking forward to this, an orchestral rendition to replace they synthesised sounds of the original "Barcelona" album, one of my all-time favourite recordings. However, I'm a bit underwhelmed. The main reason is that the orchestral arrangements are just too close to the original that the whole exercise seems completely redundant. This is a missed opportunity. The orchestrator should have utilised the medium of the orchestra to reinterpret that original soundtrack. Instead what we have is an attempt to recreate exactly what we had before, except by using an orchestra to do it. There is little re-imagining. Where are the implied counter-melodies, the up-rushing lines, the throbbing strings, the french horn choir push-throughs, the busy woodwinds, the gathering orchestral forces, the tremolando/portmanteaux/marccato strings. And perhaps even worst, is the odd sounding attempt to recreate the reverse tape of the original by, I'm guessing, reversing the strings in this new version. It sounds out of place and crude. A real live professional orchestra can do an awful lot, even in limited recording time. These are not the orchestrations of Wagner, Dukas, Elgar, Rimsky-Korsakov or Respighi, and I know that because they're all dead. Whilst I prefer this recording to the original "Barcelona", I still feel a one-off opportunity was missed.
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on 23 November 2012
I saw the TV feature on Freddie Mercury in which 'Barcelona' was re-composed with a full orchestra. This was the prime reason for buying this CD. What a disappointment when I first played it after a quick delivery. The orchestra sounded 'tinny' and at best a background accompaniment when it should have formed a major part of the production of this fantastic song by Freddie.

I am going back to listening to the original keyboard version which make my hairs stand on end.
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