Combining a rock group and a symphony orchestra is one of those great ideas that turned bad almost as soon as it was first put into practice. Of course, we have had some relatively successful efforts over the course of years, but effectively none of them has been fully satisfactory in terms of artistic quality. Against this dark background, "Caravan & the New Symphonia" is a rarity: a marriage of rock band dynamics with classical high-brow aesthetics that really does seem to make sense, even though Caravan probably is not the first and foremost candidate to come to mind when seeking the ideal group for this nearly impossible task. But, then again, maybe this particular effort is a success just because Caravan's music lacks the pompous and pretentious qualities so often associated with "classical rock". The songs have enough grandeur to stand on their own even when orchestrated and the end result is very sympathetic and endearing. This new edition of "Caravan & the New Symphonia" is also a prime example of how classic album re-releases should be done: the album is not only remastered, but extended to include the full concert with a correct song order. As for bonus tracks, we are treated with a short Caravan set with excellent renditions of songs from "For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night" before the orchestra joins in the fun - and this time we get a chance to hear the encore ("A Hunting We Shall Go") as well. I have always loved this album, and now they have gone and made it even better!
We bought this album because as we love Caravan but we were not expecting anything as good as this masterpiece. This album at times is utterly breathtaking and emotionally quite draining. Know one makes music as good as this today. A lot of old rockers say Deep Purple "Live in Japan" is the best live album ever made in the 70's, well this album my friends completely surpasses that brilliant album. Words cannot underline how good it is, so I wont try, just buy it. If you like The Enid, Steven Wilson's Porcupine Tree, Dream Theatre, Soft Machine etc you will just die for this magnificent masterpiece. I can hardly play "For Richard" without bursting into tears but thats me being silly. Great 5 star album.
Caravan first worked with an orchestra when recording Pye Hasting's instrumental piece A Hunting We Shall Go for the album For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night in 1973. The conductor and arranger for the session was Martyn Ford, who had been working with Barclay James Harvest. He enjoyed the experience so much he proposed the idea of a live concert also featuring the New Symphonia Orchestra. The idea was in vogue at the time with artists as diverse as Procol Harum and Deep Purple recording albums with full orchestras on board, sometimes with overblown and pompous results, though this is happily not the case here. The concert happened on 28 October 1973 and was brilliantly captured on the Pye Mobile by Bill Price for an album, which was duly released in April 1974. Due to the space limitations of vinyl, only the main part of the concert was included, and the running order could not be maintained. It consisted of the lengthy Love In Your Eye (from Waterloo Lily), two hurriedly finished new songs, Mirror For The Day and Virgin On The Ridiculous, and their normal closing number, the suite For Richard. For this remastered re-issue the entire concert appears for the first time, complete with Pye Hastings' between song banter. Three songs from the current album were performed before the orchestra came on, and for an encore the complete ensemble performed the piece that had kick-started the project, A Hunting We Shall Go. These make a valuable and very welcome addition to an already essential CD
It's many years since I bought my vinyl copy of 'Caravan and the New Symphonia...', so knowing it note for note as I do, was it worth the switch to CD? Yes it was. The album should have been a double in the first place - the restored 'missing' tracks, played as a first half and without the orchestra, are as fresh and exiting now as they must have been on the night, while the grande finale, 'A Hunting We Shall Go', is just delicious, with those haunting chromatic strings in the quiet section. The accompanying booklet tells of all kinds of back-stage shenannegans (How do you spell that word?), as well as unscheduled on-stage pyrotechnics, none of which impinges on the fantastic performance of band and orchestra alike. As a result of that concert, and the subsiquent truncated vinyl release back in 1974, Caravan earned the reputation of being the first band ever to make an orchestra really rock. Listen to this and find out why. And cheers to Pete Drummond: at last you really did make it onto the album.
caravan & the new symphonia. excellent CD live by caravan theatre royal Drury lane. i was at this concert as caravan recorded this live. the conductor of the new symphonia was young as we all were.. what some might not know there was a technical hitch in recording some of the track music so they made an announcement that they was rerecording some of the music, and that we was welcome to stay while recording which we all did gladly.caravan very underrated band. excellent music couldn't rate this live CD enough just buy it you wont be disappointed five stars and more all the way.....