On This Day (December 20)…Deep Purple go Symphonic

Deep Purple reportedly released Concerto for Group and Orchestra in the United States on this day in 1969. This post has a massive asterisk due to my only source of the exact date being Wikipedia at the moment; it may move.

Album cover, designed by Chappell. Retrieved from here.

The actual Concerto was recorded earlier, on September 24th of that year. This narrowly beat out acts such as the Nice, who performed with an orchestra around three weeks later; as far as I know, this makes the Concerto For Group and Orchestra the earliest experiment of its type. I will be going into more detail on the music itself on the anniversary of its performance.

Critical reaction was mixed, however. Some reviews, such as this one, suggest that the majority of the concerto isn’t particular good. The release, meanwhile, was marred by the fact that Tetragrammaton, the label in charge of releasing it, went bankrupt around that time. This resulted in a very limited US release. Seeing as some members of the group, notably Ritchie Blackmore (source), were worried that the piece’s success would leave them performing with orchestras forever, the problems around this time were probably a great relief.

When did you first hear Concerto for Group and Orchestra? What did you think?

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