KEITH EMERSON’S MUSIC REWORKED
Classical conductor fulfils his Abbey Road album promise to the late keyboard star.
Keith Emerson’s best-loved material has been re-recorded with an orchestra for release on what would have been his 74th birthday. Beyond The Stars is out on November 2 via Simax Classics/Grappa. The recordings are led by Three Fates Project conductor Terje Mikkelsen and revisit works showcased at last year’s tribute concert at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.
“When I was mastering the Three Fates Project at Abbey Road [in 2011], Keith said, ‘I never recorded in Abbey Road,’” says Mikkelsen. “I told him we would take the best London orchestra we could find and record the music. It was at that Birmingham concert [A Musical Celebration Of Life] I realised I needed to keep my word to Keith and do this.”
Prior to his death in 2016, Emerson had been working on a number of new arrangements so the conductor had plenty to choose from. He contacted the world-famous chamber orchestra, Academy Of St Martin In The Fields, who were so impressed by the quality of the material that they agreed to record the tracks that make up the vinyl’s A-side.
“They were enthusiastic and so surprised by Keith Emerson’s music – they found it so delicate and wellcomposed,” he says. “When I first met Keith [around 2006], I realised how much he knew about classical music and I could have a really professional conversation with him, which is unusual with people from the rock’n’roll world. He wanted to be more of a composer but he never had the chance to be recognised as that.”
Joining the Academy Of St Martin In The Fields are soloists Rachel Flowers, Three Fates collaborator Marc Bonilla, and Emerson’s talented 13-year-old grandson
Ethan who performs on The Dreamer. The B-side of Beyond The Stars features five pieces, including ELP’s Fanfare For
The Common Man, recorded by the Keith Emerson Band and the Munich Radio Orchestra, which didn’t make it onto the 2012 symphonic album Tarkus Concertante.
“If the fans respond well to this, we would like to follow it up with more music. There’s a lot that’s been orchestrated that has never been given a classical treatment and I feel that doing this keeps Keith’s music alive,” says Mikkelsen. “I fully support Prog readers voting him the number one keyboard player of all time and my wish is to continue his legacy.” NRS
“Doing this keeps Keith’s music alive and my wish is to continue
KEITH EMERSON (RIGHT) WITH TERJE MIKKELSEN.