FREDDIE MERCURY & MONTSERRAT CABALLE – Barcelona

Island Records (Released 3rd September)

To celebrate 25 years since the original album was released we get a rather impressive re-issue. The album has been orchestrated with a full orchestra, the FILMharmonic Orchestra from Prague. The original music was done by Mike Moran (who worked with Freddie Mercury on his solo works and Queen) on string synths and keys. Also the drum machines on two songs are replaced by Rufus Taylor (son of Roger) playing live percussion and classical violinist David Garrett guests on ‘How Can I Go On’. Not only this but there is a four disc deluxe edition featuring a rarities and out-takes disc plus a DVD of various performances.

It has to be said with a full orchestra it takes the whole album to another level. You only have to listen to ‘Barcelona’ to hear this as the music blasts out of your speakers, although the vocals of Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Cabballe are still the main focus. ‘The Golden Boy’ benefits from losing the programmed percussion, whilst ‘How Can I Go On’ is a perfect meld of pop, classical and opera, much as I would imagine Freddie Mercury envisioned the album to sound like if it had a full orchestra.

An album that has certainly grown on me over the years as I did think what the heck was Mr Mercury doing an opera album for back when it was first released.

This should open the album up to new set of fans and those who had the original album will love the full orchestrated version.

****

Jason Ritchie


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