When rock ‘n’ roll began, it was music of rebellion, fighting against the strait-laced world of classical music. The two worlds seemed far apart until the late Jon Lord wrote his Concerto For Rock Group And Orchestra, which combined the forces of his heavy rock group DEEP PURPLE with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The work was premiered in the Royal Albert Hall in London under the baton of Malcolm Arnold in 1969. From then until the arrival of punk in the late Seventies, rockers like the NICE, EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER and Rick Wakeman embraced this hybrid genre with great energy and enthusiasm. Wakeman, in particular, became known for stage shows which matched the ambition of his music.
Lord, in his last-ever recorded interview, talked to the BBC Radio 4‘s Stuart Maconie about the DEEP PURPLE keyboardist’s passion for writing classical music, inspired by his early experiment with his Concerto.
“Rock ‘N’ Roll In Four Movements” was originally broadcast on Thursday, August 23 and is available for streaming until August 30 at BBC.co.uk.
Jon Lord died on July 16 at age 71 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Lord, who was known for his keyboard virtuosity and his reinvention of the Hammond B-3 organ sound, co-wrote such PURPLE classics as “Smoke On The Water” and “Child In Time”, among others. Lord and drummer Ian Paice were the only original members to last through the band’s initial run from 1968 to 1976. He was on board for their 1984 reunion and stayed on through to his 2002 retirement from the band, after which he’s worked primarily in the classical field.
Over the course of his career, Lord also worked with the ARTWOODS, FLOWER POT MEN, PAICE, ASHTON AND LORD, WHITESNAKE and good friend and neighbor, George Harrison.