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Album Review: Pete Townshend's Classic Quadrophenia by Pete Townshend
Fairly Good, Based on 3 Critics
Record Collector - 80 Based on rating 4/5
Their first rock opera, 1969’s Tommy, may have bestowed multi-platinum sales and global stardom upon The Who, yet as their chief songsmith Pete Townshend admitted in a recent YouTube interview, it’s the band’s second epic – ’73’s Quadrophenia – that remains “the best constructed for me as a composer”. Quadrophenia sold less than Tommy but it’s certainly enjoyed an enviable afterlife. Released at the height of the UK mod revival in 1979, director Franc Roddam’s critically acclaimed film adaption exponentially enhanced its reputation, while – more recently – the original 1973 album was given a deluxe 5CD makeover prior to The Who performing it in its entirety on their 2013 world tour.
Pete Townshend's Classic Quadrophenia finds the singer/songwriter turning his 1973 rock opera into a full-fledged opera. Enlisting his partner Rachel Fuller to adapt the album into a classical piece, Townshend found a sensitive, simpatico collaborator who manages to retain the oversized dramatic sweep of the piece. Similarly, conductor Robert Ziegler leads the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra through the piece with gusto, mirroring the majesty of the Who if not the mayhem.
Landmark album gets the symphonic treatment. For this project, premiered at the Royal Albert Hall in July, Pete Townshend had his partner Rachel Fuller orchestrate songs from his 1973 record, to be performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Tenor Alfie Boe took on the Daltrey role, with Townshend and Phil Daniels guesting in cameo parts. ADVERTISINGinRead invented by Teads .