Yngwie J. Malmsteen
Concerto Suite For Guitar And Orchestra In E Flat Minor With The New Japan Philharmonic-Live (DVD)
Released: 2005, Eagle Vision
There have been many, many Metal bands that have done a pairing of a symphony and Metal. Usually the band marries the bands existing songs and adds symphonic elements or in a live concert just stands in front of the orchestra and plays. However, to the best of my knowledge there have been only two people that have actually written a symphonic score to marry with Hard Rock or Metal. First being Jon Lord and Deep Purple’s ground-breaking CONCERTO FOR GROUP AND ORCHESTRA in 1969 and secondly, nearly 30 years later in 1998, Yngwie J. Malmsteen and his piece CONCERTO SUITE FOR ELECTRIC GUITAR AND ORCHESTRA IN E FLAT MINOR OPUS 1.
The original album was recorded with the Prague Symphony Orchestra and released in two versions, a ‘classical’ mix and a ‘rock’ mix back in 1998. According to his autobiography (RELENTLESS) Yngwie says he was approached to perform the piece live in Japan, one of his many strongholds. He jumped at the opportunity and the result is this DVD, that captured those iconic performances on June 15th and 17st, 2001.
The DVD itself is plain, it comes with a 4-page booklet with some photos and full credits. There are two bonus features a video and an interesting interview with the maestro himself that only runs a mere four minutes. It is actually a voice-over interview with some random rotating pictures of Yngwie, while he answers written questions, which makes sense because the original interview was probably run through a translator.
The concert is sublime, it is really something that has never been done before, even by Deep Purple because Yngwie does not mix Rock and Classical, it is completely classical. It is a piece of music strictly written for a symphony with electric guitar (instead of violin) as the lead solo instrument. Hence the unwieldy, but necessary, title of CONCERTO SUITE FOR GUITAR AND ORCHESTRA IN E FLAT MINOR WITH THE NEW JAPAN PHILHARMONIC LIVE. As expected from the Japanese, the sound and video are superb. The show runs a tight 84 minutes and is a five or six camera shoot. How he can play so well with all that jewelry, rings and a watch is beyond me. Visually the concert is not very exciting compared to his rock show, just Yngwie standing in front of an orchestra playing to a quiet, but packed hall. No fireworks, no smoke, no flash pots, not even any light show, no lights, no spectacle at all...just pure music by performers at the top of their game.
I can say with confidence that straight-up fans of Metal can pass on this DVD. In terms of a DVD it is pretty plain and not at all 'Metal'. Again, my bias towards Yngwie sees me rating this DVD much higher than than you might normally expect. True Yngwie fans everywhere need to own this DVD as he has stated, on the record, that this is the crowning achievement of his magnificent (my word) career. Now, the highlight performance of one of the greatest guitarists of all time has been captured for all eternity for everyone to enjoy.