Portsmouth Sinfonia ‎– Plays The Popular Classics

Columbia ‎– KC 33049
Vinyl, LP, Album

Tracklist Hide Credits

A1 From Peer Gynt Suite No. 1: "Morning"
Composed By – Edvard Grieg
A2 From Peer Gynt Suite No. 1: "In The Hall Of The Mountain King"
Composed By – Edvard Grieg
A3 From The Nutcracker Suite: "Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy"
Composed By – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaïkovski*
A4 From The Nutcracker Suite: "Waltz Of The Flowers"
Composed By – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaïkovski*
A5 Fifth Symphony In C Minor, Op. 67
Composed By – Ludwig van Beethoven
A6 William Tell Overture
Composed By – Gioacchino Rossini
B1 Also Sprach Zarathustra Op. 31
Composed By – Richard Strauss
B2 Blue Danube Waltz Op. 314
Composed By – Johann Strauss*
B3 "Air" From Suite No. 3 In D Major
Composed By – Johann Sebastian Bach
B4 "Farandole" From L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2
Composed By – Georges Bizet
B5 "Jupiter" From The Planets, Op. 32 (Excerpt)
Composed By – Gustav Holst

Companies, etc.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout: BL 33049



Add Review



October 10, 2017

I pity the poor vinyl seeker who picks up this album in the hopes that it's a typical collection of classical music pieces by some obscure Symphony. On the other hand, it is a wonderful re-discovery of the classical pop hits, done by an orchestra that is not entirely sufficient in their instrumentation. Nevertheless part of the enjoyment of the journey I think is the motif of the Portsmouth Sinfonia. It's not entirely off-kilter because one can recognize the works here.

British composer Gavin Bryars started the orchestra, and not sure if it was done so for the purpose of going back to his roots, but I suspect to explore the music in a different light. There is a Fluxus flavor to the concept of having an orchestra who can't play their instruments (properly) and performing classics by composers like Beethoven, Bach, Bizet, Holst, and others. At first hearing, I took it as a joke, but I don't think that's the purpose here. The selection of pieces they do on the album is very popular. The average listener who may not know classical music, I would have imagined heard the compositions in their home or on the TV or some other medium. The arrangements are close to the music sheet (as far as I know), but it's the skills of each musician that makes this album unique.

In ways, an orchestra is a study of civilization at work where everyone has a role to play for the betterment of the composed work as well as the overall orchestrational sound. The Portsmouth Sinfonia is chaos working as a group. It's a society that is struggling to make sounds that are actual music. This is not an eccentric's work, but more of a statement on politics and culture and how one sees their role in the "orchestra." Brian Eno produced this album and is one of the musicians in the orchestra. He plays Clarinet, and Byars play the cello. His original instrument I think is stand-up bass. - Tosh Berman