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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 26 August 2014
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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A passion play sounds and just feels much better in this brilliant box set. 2 CDs. disc 1 a passion play remixed by Steven Wilson and another 2nd CD of sessions from the aborted 1972 France sessions which are also superb. The DVDs of these albums also included have 5.1 mixes that are very enjoyable. The sound on all these discs is simply stunning. For a recording from the early 1970s to sound this fresh is a revelation. The booklet is also fantastic and has a lot of info on the sessions etc. just what fans will enjoy!
Overall I am very happy with this box set of yet another great Jethro Tull remix that is so well produced by the engineering wizard Steven Wilson.
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on 20 October 2014
Even today Jethro Tull's complex epic on death and the afterlife remains under-appreciated and much-maligned, yet it is every bit as good as previous album Thick As a Brick. The story of its troubled creation is also fascinating, and the bonus tracks reveal just what the band got up to during a disastrous stay at the Chateau d'Herouville (yes, Elton's "Honky Chateau"). The fact that Ian Anderson was able to change direction and create an extended piece as impressive as A Passion Play is remarkable. But it's not as accessible as Thick, nor is it as amusing. It's a more dense, demanding and serious piece, but its theatrical nature is ideal for Steve Wilson's dazzling 5.1 surround sound mix. Listen out for an extra minute of music, as well (during the section following the Hare). If you were unsure about this album at the time, don't be afraid to rediscover its many wonders on this impressive reissue.
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on 8 September 2017
This is not the best of Jethro Tull albums , not much on this of interest too me. But the 2CD 2DVD Boxset is very nice too have with a hardback book and big essay which you get the Chateau d'Herouville sessions album which altogether is nice. Its worth having as once the limited edition 2CD 2DVD set is gone its gone. I give the album a 4/5 rating but the package is 5/5 as is a really nice package.
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on 22 June 2017
A reminder of simpler times when music was exiting and diversive. Not their best album however this collection is woth having for the extras. Great delivery as usual.
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on 11 August 2017
Good quality product arrived quickly
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on 30 January 2016
Great!!! Great!! Great!!!
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on 13 July 2017
A must!
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on 5 February 2010
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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on 31 December 2014
It's a known fact that in the 1970s there was an exodus of talent from the UK thanks to the prohibitively high tax rate for people earning higher amounts. Amongst those that decided to try the life of exile were the members of Jethro Tull who had enjoyed great success with their albums to date, especially with the overall success of Stand Up which had grabbed the number one spot in the album charts (a first for Island Records at the time as well as Tull themselves and something of a surprise given the relative success of their first album, This Was), the charting of such songs as Living In The Past and Witch's Promise and so forth.

Their eventual destination was the recording studios of the Chateau D'Herouville where other British artists had recorded in the past. Their plan was to do something that had not been done up to that point; record a double concept album. It may have been something of a bugbear with them given that people had criticised their previous album, Thick As A Brick, as being a bunch of songs strung together and that the album before that, Aqualung, was criticised as being a concept album even though it was comprised of completely separate songs. To this end, therefore, they took up residence and started on their longest work. Untitled, it managed to grow to a sizeable amount, enough to fill three sides of an album before poor conditions, poor health and various other problems caused them to bundle up the tapes and head back home to the more familiar surroundings of Morgan Studios to record what would become A Passion Play. While some of the Chateau material would be reused in this album, the length was drastically cut back though some ideas survived; for example the bridging piece between the two sides, The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles narrated by Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, was very reminiscent of some of the ideas from the third Chateau tape. The album as a whole was not well received by critics though it still retains a good following amongst fans.

This is a dual DVD and dual CD release featuring the original tracks as well as extra bits and pieces including, for the first time on an official release, the complete Chateau D'Isaster Tapes with all parts restored, in the order on the tape and minus the extra bits that featured previously on Nightcap and the 20th Anniversary releases. The CD releases are mixed by Steven Wilson and though that is a little annoying on the main album version, it does work out very well on the Chateau CD. A flat version features on the DVDs as well as the stage film of the Hare which I last recall seeing on the 25th Anniversary VHS tape. The whole thing also comes with a detailed book recalling the whole period around the flight from the taxman and the disaster that befell Tull before they returned to face the music.

Overall a very interesting release giving insight into Tull at the time and certainly worth the money.
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