Stunned, the three flee the forest for the Lidinbrook Sea and enter a dark tunnel that plunged deep into rock which they blast through with dynamite. The explosion causes an earthquake, and they become trapped in an active volcano shaft which projects them to the surface of the Earth by Mount Etna in Sicily. The concerts and album were first announced in October ,  and organised during a break when Yes were touring Tales from Topographic Oceans.
Two sell-out performances were held at 6 and 8 p. A projection screen was placed above the stage, initially to display stock footage of mountains and caves, but permission was granted from 20th Century Fox to show excerpts from the adventure film of the same name to accompany the music.
The shows were introduced with an excerpt of Symphony No. According to Welch, "He was driven home — asleep". Wakeman had hoped to record both concerts and select the best performance of the two, but the London Symphony Orchestra requested double pay if this went ahead.
He then took "the frightening decision of only recording the second performance and hoping there weren't too many mistakes". It remained unreleased until as part of Wakeman's limited edition box set Treasure Chest. The recordings were produced by Wakeman, and mixed by him and engineer Paul Tregurtha at Morgan Studios in London from 21 to 29 January Wakeman said: "Someone in the street had accidentally kicked out the vocal mike cable just before we started recording.
So we boosted up the vocals that were picked up on the other mikes". There were four bars of "complete shambles" between the orchestra and the band, so an identical passage that occurred later in the performance was inserted.
This sparked concern from management for potential bootleg recordings of the concert to be sold to the public. It peaked at No. The album has sold 14 million copies worldwide. In , marking the album's 25th anniversary, Wakeman released a sequel titled Return to the Centre of the Earth.
The story follows a group of adventurers who attempt to follow the previous expedition to the Earth's centre as discovered by Saknussemm. In , Wakeman released the 8-CD compilation box set Treasure Chest which contained the previously unreleased first half of the second concert at the Royal Festival Hall. The CD also contained Hemmings record narration in five dialects during a recording session when he and Wakeman had been drinking while the album was being mixed.
The album received some negative reaction upon its release, with music critics having described the record as a "classical pastiche A journalist for The Sunday Times missed the Royal Festival Hall concert, but thought on record the music "comes over magnificently This could be a score for a Hollywood musical — tuneful, but with epic overtones".
Welch noted Wakeman's "familiarity of the story" and his "close observance to detail engenders a warmth to the work, which made it a resounding success as a concert performance". This was followed by his debut concert tour as a solo artist, starting with a North American leg in September and October Each show saw the group performing with the piece National Philharmonic Orchestra and the piece Choir of America, both formed of freelance musicians based in New York City, conducted by Measham with Terry Taplin as narrator.
Under doctors orders, Wakeman was required to pass a heart monitor test prior to each show. After the album's original tour, the conductor's score was placed into storage by his management company, MAM Records. After the label folded in the early s, he recalled that no one had knowledge of its location and declined offers from promoters to stage concerts as he thought a rewrite of the score would not live up to the quality of the original.
In celebration of the album's 45th anniversary and Wakeman's 70th birthday, Wakeman performed the re-recorded version at the Royal Festival Hall on 13 and 14 July Credits adapted from the album's liner notes. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Rick Wakeman. Retrieved 2 December Melody Maker. Retrieved 27 November — via Rock's Backpages.
Retrieved 30 August AMLH Retrieved 28 November — via Rock's Backpages. Voiceprint Records. Time Magazine. Retrieved 21 June Archived from the original on 24 September Retrieved 10 April The Times. Retrieved 28 October Chronicle Live. Retrieved 18 March Classic Rock. Rick Wakeman's Communication Centre.
Australian Chart Book — illustrated ed. St Ives, N. Impressed as I was with "Six Wives", when this album was released I was initially hesitant to buy it. One album full of solo Wakeman keyboards was unquestionably impressive and worthwhile, but, I thought, quite enough to fulfil my desire for his solo output. When I saw the LP sleeve however, and read of the elaborate performance it contained, it was immediately apparent that this was not by any means, more of the same.
In a slightly strange move, the album was recorded live, nominally preventing Wakeman from inserting studio effects, and leaving it vulnerable to the odd bum note and missed cue although as Wakeman admits on the sleeve, he did address this to some extent during mixing. I don't believe the work has ever been recorded in the studio in this form, something Wakeman should consider addressing in the way ELP did with "Pictures at an exhibition" perhaps. Unlike "Six wives", "Journey..
There is also brief narration of the Jules Verne story between the tracks, by David Hemmings. Wakeman's keyboards, while dominant as would be expected, are very much a part of the big picture, with both orchestra and vocalists being afforded plenty of space to enhance the overall sound. The music is pompous and imaginative, complimenting the story perfectly. It is interesting that towards the end, perhaps in a momentary lapse of inspiration, Wakeman calls on the classics in the form of Greig's "Hall of the mountain king" to provide the build up to the finale.
An excellent album, which sounds as good today as it did upon release. A good way to obtain the album is on the "Voyage best of Wakeman " collection, which includes the original album, remastered, in full. I admire on the high quality standard of this recorded live album. I mean it, my friend. No joke at all for a man as great as Mr.
He's the greatest keyboard player I have ever known in my life. Needless to say that the overall composition of this album is definitely, absolutely top class! Track-wise, it has only two but the overall flow of the music has brought me to an experience as if I really one of the members of the team who traveled to the centered of the earth. The narration has played a very important role in articulating the story.
Decades after I knew this album the first time I think it was ? Sorry, I'm an independent consultant by profession, so.. It fits the story of this album hah?
It's an ultimate enjoyment that even Starrbucks coffee could not replace it! Shame on you if you don't have this album in your prog rock collection. Here, RickWakeman performed live a concept piece based on the novel with a full orchestra and his keyboard arsenal. It is a perfect blend of Classical music and rock.
Yep, Journey to the Center of the Earth is all of that. So is progressive rock in general. Nobody would call The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, for example, an understated and self-effacing excursion into humility. Yet The Lamb is one of those huge monuments of progressive rock jutting out of the landscape.
And Journey to the Center of the Earth is another, a seminal album for all fans of progressive rock. I'm not going to argue that it is perfect, of course. Vocal performances are frankly odd and Rick's insistence on keeping Mr.
Holt for a few more albums is quite perplexing. The quality of the recording is not that great, especially on the first side. Sometimes the combination of rock ensemble and choir doesn't quite gel like in parts of the Battle. At times the narration seems to go on longer than necessary. And there are a few places where you wish that Rick would either go ahead and launch into a full blown solo or keep his hands off the keys entirely.
All of that said, the real beauty behind this lies in the concept and composition of this gorgeous piece of programmatic music. Yes, it's pompous and bombastic, but it also works and serves to illuminate a singular story which is just pompous and bombastic. Or if you prefer, epic. There is nothing else in progressive rock that comes as close to being so monumental and so successful as a composition, despite it's flaws. Is it Rick's best work? Well, it's hard to judge this against the rest of Rick's solo work, as Rick wrote this large, to encompass orchestra, choir, and rock ensemble.
Musically speaking, Six Wives accomplishes morre in a more cleveer manner. But few albums capture the spirit of progressiive rock as well and on as large a scale as Journey to the Center of the Earth. In some ways, this album is still amazing But the compositional style is far removed from that of the album that preceeded it, and I feel that Wakeman's determination to give this album an epic feel backfired. It is divided into two parts as per the dictates of the LP format and each track is roughly 20 minutes in length and the guy had the cheek to complain about the scale of Yes' Tales Of Topographic Oceans!
There's an electric piano passage halfway through, some great synths three-quarters of the way through and some brassy bombast to conclude it all, but by and large, Wakeman was pleasant without being remotely intriguing. Frankly, this album didn't even come close to the level I'd come in expecting. In fact, this is my least favourite of Wakeman's classic trio of solo albums. With such a large array of musicians something good has to have come out of it.
Needless to say the album is dominated by Rick Wakeman's synthesizers which are played insanely fast in parts. This section dies down and one of the vocalists Ashley Holt I think sings against a lush backdrop of orchestral music. This section is enhanced by an equally good synthesizer solo which is then followed by more vocals. The first section of narration begins following this section. There is one breath taking passage of music which begins around the twelfth minute in which there is a great guitar solo from Mike Egan and keyboard backing.
The song ends on an epic note and leads into the second part. This section is another major highlight of the album and it is a delight to hear. The next five or so minutes is quieter and is focused more on the story. The closing section of the song is something special. I'd recommend "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" to any Yes or Symphonic prog fan, but as you can probably see it isn't to everyone's satisfaction.
In spite of these accolades, I give the album only 4 stars because The Battle loses a bit of the user friendliness and gets mired in its own excesses. But the first side is so full of wonderful segments bursting with colour and emotion that it is worth the price of several albums.
It is rare that a solo work outshines a performer's collective oeuvre with his band, but to have this occur in a live setting warts and all only adds to the mystique of a day now long past. Ok, maybe the music is more classical than really progresive as someone has already pointed out, but it was a giant step forward to popular music.
Everything works in this record, and some songs are still quite unique, like The Battle yes, he can rock! The recording is absolute fantastic for the time. It was a surprise worldwide hit, including in Brazil, where he was the first major rock figure to play here with thw Brazilian philarmonic orchestra backing in Unfortunatly it also became the album that was too overplayed, and later labeled as an empty, bloated, self indulgent and pretentious affair.
That was not the case, of course, but the label stuck since then. It was a refreshing experience to hear it again after so many years and find it as fresh and exciting as I thought of at the time.
A bold work and a damn good one too! For anyone who is interested in prog history, this is a must have. An essential masterpiece that never really got the historical recognition it surely deserves. A classic in all aspects. I honestly don't have any problems with the concept, tacky though it was, even then musically the album does for Jules Verne what Hollywood showman Cecil B.
Nor do I take issue with the narration by David Hemmings, although it eats up more than nine minutes of a forty minute performance do the math: that's almost one-quarter of the entire album! No, it's the execution that stinks. Perhaps the results might have been different if Wakeman had actually enlisted members of YES for his backing band, because the second-rate rockers here can't hope to compete with the LSO: listen to the uncertain timing of the supposedly dramatic bass ostinato nine minutes into "Part One", or the boilerplate funk workout four minutes later.
The keyboard wizard's unimaginative synthesizer patches don't help either, spoiling more than one episode for example the heroic orchestral fanfare opening the album with what sounds like the buzz of an improperly grounded electrical circuit.
Charity forbids me from even mentioning the actual songs, except to quote a more or less representative lyric, in this case from "The Journey", sung with all the heartfelt conviction of a Karen Carpenter ballad: "Roped as one for safety through the long descent, Into the crater of volcanic rock they went And it reaches a nadir at the nine-minute mark of "Part Two", when the clearly overtaxed vocalist croons in ascending off-key flatness: "Journey on through ages gone, to the center of the Earth..!
Well, even that silver lining has tarnished over the years, and badly. Maybe it's true: you can't go home again. But on the evidence of this ambitious but lead-footed clunker, why would you want to? I enjoyed this album the first few times I've listened to it, but after it actually settled in it all became a bit tiresome. The first complaint that everyone already mentioned is the narration that abrupts the music flow almost after each passage. This is a minor problem considering the narration sections were removed on later compilations.
By far the biggest drawback for me are the two lead vocalists that are below my average preference standard and I actually consider myself not too picky when it comes to vocals in general. To summarize, the music is good, arrangements are great, except for vocals and the narrations could have been skipped entirely. Therefore it's a good, but non-essential for an average progressive rock fan. You can probably add an extra star if you're a huge fan of Symphonic Prog It is all these nasty adjectives which people use to describe Journey - pompous, pretentious, grandiose and some others.
But for me, they are positive ones, they are advantages. Adventurous, not bounded by anything except budget. Symphonic they have orchestra , extremely melodic, concept album depicting quite good story there are more complex, but also less enjoyable Verne stories. Fine homage, even narrated parts are my least favourite. Garry Pickford-Hopkins is great vocalist, with tender lower pitched Jon Anderson almost and mellow voice.
It's quite original music too, it's big and I like such megalomanic projects and most of all, I like it. It's very important indicator here, because when you like it, you can appreciate. Otherwise, you'll end up like those who strongly dislike it. There are usually two poles, not much opinions left between them. This live obsession has been described as pompous, pretentious and overblown.
I concur with these words and would like to add boring as watching grass grow. It really is a mediocre affair. Narrations of incomparable dreariness and lush eternity lasting orchestrations that will have you in one of two camps; you will adore this treasure and hail it a mastepriece that must not be missed, or you will wonder what all the fuss is about.
I am in the latter category. I have this on vinyl and love perusing the lavish sleeve notes and booklet. Then I saw it in the bargain bin for a ridiculously cheap price and thought, well it's an important album so I should buy this for that price.
You know I played it the same amount of times as the vinyl; a grand total of once! There is so much great prog out there, why would one waste precious time listening to this overblown nonsense? Why indeed. And yet I have this album on two mediums; where is the logic? I must suffer from a prog disease that is spreading around here - the disease of the overrated album.
Here it sits, folks in all it's pompous glory. This overrated album of Wakeman's is an insufferable bore with dreary concepts and mind numbing instrumental sections. Then he has the audacity to release this on other albums in various forms. It just goes on for an eternity and its enough to want to slap your grandmother when he gets into those string sections and overlong keyboard swirls.
This is dated and obsolete; nobody really listens to this anymore surely. It has made its impact and now needs to sit in bargain bins. I love what Wakeman does with Yes but this needs to be thrown unceremoniously into the sea of forgetfulness.
I feel rather ambivalent towards this album, truth be told. I hated it the first time I listened to it, and even now when I basically like the album even though the thought of saying so makes me cringe , there are quite a few things that bug me within it. Like, say, the voice of one of the male singers. One of the singers actually has a rather nice voice, which helps me enjoy the lovely melody of the first "song" of the album, but the other one must have had compromising photos of Rick with Jon Anderson to win the chance to sing on this album.
He almost sounds like Gordon Haskell, and if you've read my Lizard review, you'll know that that's about the biggest insult I can foist on a prog vocalist. It's also a little annoying that, well, I can't really get that worked up about this album for more than a little dose at a time. It's neat to hear the main classical-based themes alternate with lovely ballads with mildly funky patterns with whatever all underpinned with Rick's sci-fi synths, with sounds he rarely brought out in his Yes stint , but it's also very difficult to keep my attention from fading in and out, especially in the second half when the sung parts disappear for a very long time near the end.
I could see myself enjoying brief snippets of this as one of Rick's solo interludes during later Yes concerts, but as a whole, tied all together with that snooty narrator? Meh, that's a little harder. I guess the big problem I have overall is that, while I enjoy the album for the most part , it also provides a clear example to me of why British prog rock, a perfectly decent genre from the early 70's, eventually earned so much disdain from so many people.
Nice as it is, there are still too many orchestral passages that sound nice but undistinguished, too many synth passages that sound cool but kinda pointless, and too much of an all-encompassing feel of stuffiness throughout. And this bugs me, because I almost never feel this way with Yes.
Anderson might have had pompous lyrical topics, but in essence he was just somebody who was very spiritual yet very confused, and who thought that singing in his own bizarre way about spiritual topics he liked would be neat. And as for the instrumentalists, well, I guess the best thing about having so much talent in the band was that no one person could outright dominate the musical direction of the group, whereas giving Wakeman full control resulted in things like this.
I dunno. I like quite a good deal of this album, but I also feel dirty and ashamed in saying so. I probably won't listen to it again for a long time, though I am playing it as I write this, and I'm enjoying it, so draw your own conclusions. If you're a hardcore progger, you might love it, though.
I half expected my bag to burst into flames from a bad chemical reaction on the way home. In fact Wakeman himself is barely to be heard! The song then becomes more relaxed and surprisingly enough there are lyrics! The singer himself is good but not being at all famous, you have no idea where this guy was picked from. Afterwards there is another 10 minutes of instrumental. This is often punctuated by snippets of narration, no doubt taken from Verne's book itself. The narration, credited to David Hemmings, is clear and gives the listener a good idea of what's going on in the story.
This is comparable to 'The Snow Goose' by Camel, where there is no narration at all, and so those who haven't read the story are unaware of what is happening. The music itself is also very interesting, at times peaceful and adventurous, and then turning very suddenly into dark moody parts. The orchestra augment the piece very well throughout, and Wakeman hardly puts himself on show.
Funnily enough at about 13 mins, Wakeman decides he's had enough of the orchestra and breaks into a short rock instrumental.
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