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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 5 January 2002
I first heard Colosseum in the late sixties/early seventies. In the mid to late seventies I was impressed by bands such as Brand X featuring Phil Collins on Drums. Then I heard Colosseum II with Gary Moore on lead gtr. The Title track of the Variations album was used by Melvyn Bragg for the South Bank Show theme music, having heard this I bought the album and was not at all disappointed. With all the ingredients of a classic album it still stands the test of time.
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on 12 October 2001
But this really is the chocolate icing on top of the cream cake with marshmallow bits in.
What do you mean you don't like marshmallows? Well, anyway, this is the original 1978 recording of Variations remastered into lovely sounding CD quality. Not that I noticed, but there you go.
And thisi s good - very good.
Everyone knows the Paganini melody, usually from the Lloyd Webber version, though strangely enough no-one ever knows the name of it, and mutter stuff about "The South Bank Show" theme and wander off humming.
Being a 'cellist this always intrigued me, and "Variations 1-4" was always a favourite of mine on the ALW compilation cassettes. This is the original though (did I already say that?) with Julian Lloyd Webber and his rock band allowing for an incredible mix of styles, from the classic ALW contemporary to jazz, saxaphone blues, discordant rock music, and synthesised dance. The instant and continuous change of mood and style makes for this collection of 23 variations to be well balanced and entertaining up until the last slide down to bottom A (impossible on a 'cello without having to detune the C string; very interesting to watch!). ALW obviously knew the worth of Variation 5 (that's Unexpected Song to the other ALW lovers out there) which makes several triumphant reappearances throughout this recording....
So what's this recording actually like? Well, compared to other versions that I've heard, JLW's "1-4" is just a tad too slow, and that "Yee-haw" is a bit annoying. But apart from the title song, the rest is fantastic, just so long as you like synthesisers.
The Song and Dance recording is also very atmospheric (because of the applause) and has several added Variations, but the sound balance isn't quite right and I don't like the reorchestrations into proper instruments......
It's jolly good, though.
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on 8 December 2006
Written by Andrew for his brother Julian, This turned out to be a rock classic. the musicians they got to help make it so. for a start we`ve got Rod Argent and Don Airey on keyboards,John Mole bass, Gary Moore guitar,Jon Hiseman drums including Phil Collins, Herbie Flowers, A.L.Webber synthesisers and J.L.Webber cello!If you like the Mahavishnu orchestra, Focus and Tommy Bolin. Then this could be for you!
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on 1 October 2013
I first heard this in my school days and it was one of the first audio cassettes I ever bought.
When the cassette wore out I bought the CD.

Amazon just awarded me the "Auto-rip" for free and it's dire in this format.
For reasons best known to Amazon they have added periods of silence between the tracks.
This is not what Andrew Lloyd-Webber wrote and if I had paid real money for the MP3 version I would want that money back.

The CD is still great though.
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on 30 September 2008
I bought this a million years ago and it wears really well. Old Sir did himself proud with this jazz-rock come classical feast.
What a band too!
Don Airey and Rod Argent on keys, John Mole on bass, GARY MOORE on guitar, the wonderful Barbara Thompson on sax and woodwind and her powerhouse hubby - Jon Hiseman on drums - fantastic!
Then of course we have Julian Lloyd-Webber on the cool cello.
People remember the theme to South Bank Show but there is much more. Some cool laid back pieces mixed with some roaring, all out fusion sections.
It's all instrumental and an absolute delight.
Get it!!!
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on 19 August 2015
Having just turned 50 I decided this was the perfect album for a nostalgic whallow! The rhythms and beats in this rock piece are well crafted to give this electronic version of the variations a unique feel. Ideal for anyone who wants an unusual take on a classical piece.
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Who'd have thought that one of Paganini's Caprices could have inspired so many variations!?

This is a great album, the second track (variations 1 - 4) is well known piece due to it being used as the theme tune to The South Bank Show.

I'm sure Melvyn Bragg himself has listened to the synth-electro-magic that is Julian/Andrew Lloyd-webber's Variations!

Apparently this Andrew wrote this for his brother after losing a bet on a football match. The resulting album did very well in the UK music charts.

I found that some of the tracks had a similar sound to that of Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita - just little moments where the arrangement was similar. So after listening to this you find yourself digging out your Andrew Lloyd-Webber albums.

Other favourites on here 'Variation 18', 'Variation 23', and 'Variations 19, 20 and 6 varied'.

Although the album isn't one I can listen to over and over again, the unique sound makes it an album that deserves to be enjoyed once in a while.

So get it and start playing air synth!
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on 3 July 2014
I loved this album when it came out and remembered it the other day. I wasn't about to climb into the loft to dig out the vinyl and turntable so went looking on Amazon.
This was a spur of the moment 'ooh I fancy listening to Variations'. I didn't realise that you get a free downloadable MP3 version too so was delighted to be listening to it within a few minutes of buying it.
As to the CD - I can't comment really since I've had my Variations 'fix' from the MP3s; I've not opened the CD
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on 14 March 2014
I was checking over the dust on my music collection when I found my old Vinyl Edition. Shock Horror and how did that happen the disk was cracked. I ordered the cd and the mp3s arrived in me cloud player, and suddenly there I was enjoying a forgotten pleasure of decades past.

Lloyd Webber has been bashed cos he's popular, has a few hits and people covering his work. But when you listen to this you realise all over again that the bugger has got talent. Maybe it's time to drag out Cats and The Howling Opera Thing and dust them off?
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on 3 September 2006
Remember the South Bank Show from UK TV? Remember the theme tune? This is where it came from. I had this on vinyl when it first came out - great stuff! Now that it is on CD I shall be purchasing a copy.

Edit: And I HAVE purchased a copy of this CD - brings back some memories of my youth!
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