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Author Topic: The Seven Symphonies  (Read 1882 times)
JK
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« on: March 11, 2022, 01:08:12 PM »

Odd that it's taken so long for this to reach these shores. The following is my abridged and tweaked version of a Dutch online description of a momentous BB-related CD released today:

The world premiere concert performance of The Seven Symphonies, a Classical Tribute to Beach Boys Music will take place on Thursday 2 June 2022 at the city theatre (Stadsschouwburg) in Antwerp, Belgium. This new work by Roeland Jacobs and Rob van Weelde, based on the music of The Beach Boys, will be played live by the Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Alexandra Arrieche. A CD of the work was released today, Friday 11 March.

"The Beach Boys' music is characterized by a very harmonic sound and is therefore ideally suited for transformation into a classical repertoire and performance by a large orchestra," according to musician and arranger Roeland Jacobs and Rob van Weelde, co-founder of WedgeView Studios and owner of the WedgeView label.

"We started working with this music and selected 33 songs. We were guided by the beauty of the songs and their classical potential, less by their fame," says Roeland, who wrote the arrangements of the songs. Rob in turn made the division into the seven symphonies: "Capella", "Room For Nature", "Beach Waltz", "The Nearest Faraway Symphony", "Symphony Of The Unknown", "Symphony Of The Little Bird" and "Pet Symphony".

When making the arrangements, Roeland Jacobs had to determine which instruments should be used for the leads and which for the rhythm sections. Dominique Vanhaegenberg was responsible for orchestrating the work for a 60-piece orchestra.

"Throughout this process we were in touch with Scott Totten, member and musical director of the Beach Boys touring band," Roeland and Rob explain. "The audio recordings have also been made available to him and through him to the original Beach Boys." At the beginning of August 2021, The Seven Symphonies CD was recorded by Alexandra Arrieche and the Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra at the Galaxy Studios in Mol, Antwerp Province. Following its release on Friday 11 March, the work will be performed live by the same forces  on Thursday 2 June in Antwerp city theatre.

Here's a link to all seven "symphonies" on YouTube (it's also on Spotify):

www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22the+seven+symphonies%22
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JK
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2022, 04:35:21 AM »

Here you go:

I. Capella: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzfIycVOLIw

II. Room For Nature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEN4Eh2i0l4

III. Beach Waltz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LQ2c4DBM1s

IV. The Nearest Faraway Symphony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr6zEozjCzk

V. Symphony Of The Unknown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH1-vZkYP-Q

VI. Symphony Of The Little Bird: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvdpNsJay7I

VII. Pet Symphony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr9S92XyUrg
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2022, 11:12:43 AM »

I read about it in a Dutch newspaper, but didn't know they were on Spotify yet. So thanks a lot for posting, I listened to the first two and quite enjoyed them. Some very nice song choices already.
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JK
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2022, 02:04:15 PM »

I read about it in a Dutch newspaper, but didn't know they were on Spotify yet. So thanks a lot for posting, I listened to the first two and quite enjoyed them. Some very nice song choices already.

You're welcome! There was a full-page article about the project in the NRC -- maybe that was where you saw it. Most of it was pretty irrelevant and to the best of my knowledge made no mention at all of the CD being released the next day let alone the uploads onto Youtube and Spotify.

I plan to listen to it during the coming week.
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Don Malcolm
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2022, 09:32:50 PM »

Here's a track listing for the seven "movements" (a more accurate term for these sections than the several of the them that use "symphony" in the title). Note that some songs have sections that appear apart from one another in the mix of songs within a movement. All in all, it's a pretty nice job of weaving songs together--some orchestrations are stronger (and fuller) than others, of course.

A rather surprising number of TWGMTR tracks selected here; and there are several Dennis songs that made the cut.

I: Capella
From There To Back Again
Our Prayer
And Your Dream Comes True
A Young Man Is Gone
Think About The Days

II: Room For Nature
The Warmth Of The Sun
In My Room
Lonely Sea
Passing By

III: Beach Waltz
Friends
Time To Get Alone
I Went To Sleep

IV: The Nearest Faraway Symphony
Summer's Gone
Surf's Up
The Nearest Faraway Place
Be With Me

V: Symphony Of The Unknown
Forever
Full Sail
Baby Blue
Winds Of Change

VI: Symphony Of The Little Bird
Little Bird
Heroes And Villains
Do It Again
Cool, Cool Water
Wake The World
Pacific Coast Highway

VII: Pet Symphony
You Still Believe In Me
Let's Go Away For A While
Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
I Just Wasn't Made For These Times
Caroline, No
Pet Sounds
God Only Knows
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JK
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2022, 03:42:49 AM »

Here's a track listing for the seven "movements" (a more accurate term for these sections than the several of the them that use "symphony" in the title). Note that some songs have sections that appear apart from one another in the mix of songs within a movement. All in all, it's a pretty nice job of weaving songs together--some orchestrations are stronger (and fuller) than others, of course.

A rather surprising number of TWGMTR tracks selected here; and there are several Dennis songs that made the cut.

Thanks for posting these, Don.

Yes indeed, "symphony" is a strange choice, although those responsible may have been thinking of Uncle Phil's "little symphonies for the kids". Cool
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2022, 12:30:06 AM »

This is great!  I freakin' LOVE these medleys.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, No. VII, the "Pet Sounds" one, is probably the best.
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2022, 09:25:02 AM »

Ok, I'll take the role of the villain, but will be sincere.
I dutifully listened to these, and though I admire the work of love behind them, don't like them. Like, at all.
Have listened a few orchestral renditions of great pop music, and it always misses something important. Rhythm.
Everybody who does orchestral covers of pop music seems firmly convinced that the only right way to render it is as it were some minor Debussy: slow, hazy, bucolic, vaguely nostalgic, and with the least possible hint of rhythm. The main offenders here, imho, are the butchered renditions of The Lonely Sea and Heroes and Villains.
Sorry, but these guys are no John Coltrane.
Give me At My Piano and the Long Promised Road soundtrack, all the time. I'll take even the latest Do It Again by "Mike & Friends" over the grandly named Seven Symphonies. Tongue
« Last Edit: March 24, 2022, 09:28:10 AM by Zenobi » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2022, 01:42:33 PM »

I have listened to this repeatedly over the last week+ and here are my thoughts:

Firstly, thank you so much JK for bringing this to our attention. I don't really follow any Beach Boys news/social media feeds so the only place I really hear about any new releases is here. And thanks to everyone who replied - positive or negative reviews, it's all worth hearing.

I love classical music and honestly I usually always listen to The Beach Boys as if I was hearing classical music - as in words/lyrics are usually just melodies/harmonies to my ears, reminiscent of violins or cellos. So upon hearing about this album I was so excited and it did not disappoint!

'Time To Get Alone' from this album might be one of the most beautiful pieces of music related to The Beach Boys that I've ever heard. The entire Pet Sounds movement is pure gold to my ears. So many standout moments that I couldn't even begin to write them all down in this review. I really hope that someone sends this to Brian to listen to - I'm not sure if he would love it, hate it, or be indifferent about it. But to me, what an honor to have one's work translated into this format - and the finished product sounds so good. I can imagine Brian saying "Far out!" when hearing some of these tracks.

We got a Pet Sounds tribute album from The Vitamin String quartet that stays almost 100% true to the original recordings. And while I love many aspects of that album, I think the constant percussion on the album distracts from the violins and keeps it from being a standout record. We also recently got the Royal Philharmonic orchestra putting their spin on Beach Boys songs - it worked really well for some songs (I actually prefer their version of Sloop John B over the original), but most songs it just doesn't work - I think because there was no re-interpretation...it was just original Beach Boys songs with orchestral moments weirdly mixed overtop the originals (I know that this isn't completely the case, but that's basically what it sounds like to my ears). A long time ago I think there was a Beach Boys symphonic CD that I got, and promptly never listened to again - I can't remember much about it but I guess I didn't like it at all.

And then most recently we got Brian's At My Piano album which I listen to constantly.

I think the Seven Symphonies and At My Piano are perfect companion pieces. One is very simple, the other very complex. And both showcase the brilliance of Brian's original work.

Anyways, I can't begin to express how happy I am that such an album was made, and it'll be something I listen to often from now on. This is how I've always heard The Beach Boys. To many, they are catchy car, surf, and love songs. To me, they are so much more than that - and it's hard to explain that to people. But this album is a perfect way to show people exactly why I am completely obsessed with this band.
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The Heartical Don
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2022, 04:44:07 AM »

My thanks to everyone who posted here so far -

I listened to a few of the pieces at YouTube, and I can't really make my mind up about these. Thing is: I will have to get used to the chosen format, and to adjust to the structures.

Experience taught me that my eventual opinion certainly won't be something like: 'mediocre work-outs'. It is much more likely that it will turn out a verdict that amounts to one of two polar opposites.

For now: sometimes I seem to 'miss' certain familiar things, and on the other hand I am pleasantly surprised about novel accents when I hear the musicians navigate well when addressing the unexpected, unique, difficult aspects of the compositions by Brian and his fellow band members.

This music is well deserving of giving it the time in terms of personal patience on the side of the listener.

And: I did have the same feelings initially with works that not that much later found their place in my own 'classics' section. Two examples: Van Dyke Parks's Song Cycle and John Fahey's America. These are up there with Charles Ives's orchestral works (recently I availed myself of Gustavo Dudamel's interpretations of the four symphonies).

Prospects are good.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2022, 04:46:27 AM by The Heartical Don » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2022, 04:19:38 PM »

I did have the same feelings initially with works that not that much later found their place in my own 'classics' section. Two examples: Van Dyke Parks's Song Cycle

I remember being so enthralled by (what I think are) Smile influences all over that album. A very unusual album but one can't deny the art/craft/talent behind each and every song. Turned out to be an album I would put on repeat very often for a while there. I still listen to it occasionally.

And bringing up Van Dyke Parks - as a very talented composer himself I wonder if he would have any opinion about this Seven Symphonies record.
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2022, 01:56:54 PM »

Great to see so many wonderful responses! Well, for those with access to Dutch TV, this coming Sunday's edition of the music programme Podium Witteman (NPO 2, 18:20 CET) will include a feature on The Seven Symphonies. The album's arranger Roeland Jacobs will be there to discuss it (in Dutch) with programme regular Mike Boddé "and show how wonderfully well the music of head Beach Boy Brian Wilson fits together". Cool

Hope you're enjoying the Ives symphonies, THD. Wink
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« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2022, 01:46:19 PM »

Well, for those with access to Dutch TV, this coming Sunday's edition of the music programme Podium Witteman (NPO 2, 18:20 CET) will include a feature on The Seven Symphonies. The album's arranger Roeland Jacobs will be there to discuss it (in Dutch) with programme regular Mike Boddé "and show how wonderfully well the music of head Beach Boy Brian Wilson fits together". Cool

Regrettably the subject was only allotted a few minutes! The show began with the strings of a slimmed-down Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra playing "Our Prayer". Right at the end of the show, after all the other guests had done their thing, The Boys' version of "Our Prayer" was followed by another live version by those strings. (Curiously, all other snippets of BB performances were from live shows rather than illustrating BW's genius in the studio.)

During his interview, the enthusiastic Roeland Jacobs confirmed for me that the Dutch newspaper remark about translating each of the Boys' four voices in "Our Prayer" to violins, violas, cellos and double basses respectively was erroneous and that he'd used the logical division into first and second violins, violas and cellos.

Lastly, Mike Boddé manned the piano for the orchestral version of "God Only Knows", for which the strings were augmented by a flautist and a trombonist, both of whom alternated the melody with Mike. The idea of ending this piece (and the album) with the descending lines from the instrumental break is utterly brilliant.
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"Ik bun moar een eenvoudige boerenlul en doar schoam ik mien niet veur" (Normaal, 1978)
You're Grass and I'm a Power Mower: A Beach Boys Orchestration Web Series
the Carbon Freeze | Eclectic Essays & Art
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