> press clippings
> site updates
Ian and Andy (along with Kit Morgan and James
Duncan) have been performing orchestral shows this fall with more
planned for the future. Here's an overview of Ian's
thoughts on working with classical musicians, a few concert
reviews, and a typical concert programme.
Ian Anderson, founding member of the legendary
rock band Jethro Tull, has long been considered to be the foremost and,
to many, the only exponent of rock-style flute. While still fronting
Tull to this day with sell-out performances throughout the world, Ian
Anderson now brings his acoustic talents to the orchestral stage. He
will perform a selection of Tull favourites, solo songs and instrumentals
together with a sprinkling of Classical repertoire, all carefully rearranged
for amplified flute, acoustic-rock trio and, of course, members of the
"The object here is not to force together unlikely
combatants in unholy musical matrimony," says Ian. "The Rock
band and Orchestra thing goes way back to the early days of Progressive
Rock in the late sixties. As the acoustic musician of Jethro Tull, I
prefer a more sympathetic synthesis of classical guitar, piano, and sympathetic
percussion, drums and bass together with traditional orchestral instruments.
This is a more ambient setting where all of the musicians can leave the
theater with both eardrums and dignity impact! We try for a vigorous
Rock feel without brute force volume."
Tull fans will recognize such songs as Aqualung, Locomotive
Breath, Thick As A Brick, My God and Budapest, interspersed with varied
pieces from Anderson's acoustic material, past and present.
So - what is it like to play in this musical context
with Tull and Anderson solo material shared amongst so many musicians?
Ian says, "Well, firstly, it is a little harrowing
and we are all a little nervous regarding each other's technical skills
and our distinct and sometimes opposing separate musical backgrounds.
But after a rehearsal (or three) we are settled to the task of working
together and beginning to sense the thrill of performance on the public
"I try to keep firmly in mind that the
collective musical force works as giant acoustic ensemble and that
we acoustic rockers at the core of the performance are guests at the
orchestral house and must fit in, in terms of both volume and sound.
The slightly amplified nature of the orchestra and the function of
solo instruments and vocals from me and the other core musicians must
never get out of hand. The audience's ears adjust quickly to the overall
sound level and the power of the orchestrations and the pulse of the
orchestra itself sounds plenty big enough without ever approaching
typical rock concert levels - although we do turn it up a tad towards
"The delicate sections with string quartet or
woodwind duo are very satisfying and the improvisational elements are
still there - at least for me - provided I remember to cue the conductor
for the return to the written score again. Train wrecks are spectacular
if I get it wrong. Well worth the price of a ticket in themselves!"
"If the opportunity presents itself, I should
like to work with more orchestras in the USA and elsewhere in the world
during the next two years - not on a daily basis, since the rehearsal
and production realities make it too arduous - but frequently enough
to keep the momentum of a tour going. Three shows a week might be possible
with the odd Rubbing Elbows solo acoustic show thrown in here and there.
Let's see what transpires in 2002/3 and maybe the addition of new material
from upcoming writing and recording sessions will bring more spice to
Lars Karsten of WAZ reviewed Ian's shows in Germany earlier this year:
The Bottom Symphony Orchestra took these songs
in new directions and their interaction with Ian Anderson's famous
flute was very impressive. The "inventor" of the Rock Flute
showed himself to be in excellent mood.
"Budapest" was presented in a great version and. As an encore, ended
the event. The visibly excited 4000 visitors returned from the Hippie Era into
Karsten Mark of Ruhr Nachrichten said:
He can still do it! Standing on one leg and playing the wildest solos
with sharp accentuations and a characteristic sound, Ian Anderson is
still the top flute player in rock.
Director and conductor, Steven Sloane shared this fun-filled opportunity
with his musicians of the Bochum Symphoniker, who played at their very best.
The audience received the full benefit of the collective performance due
in part to the skill of the sound technicians, with the quality, unusually
for this kind of project, being will balanced between orchestra, band, and
And from Italy:
Mauro Sartori, "Il Giornale di Vicenza"
Dina Bartoli, "La Gazzetta di Reggio"
A storm of cheering for a perfect marriage. At the Teatro Regio in
Parma the sacred and the profane turned out to be the ideal ingredients
of a magic soiree. "From Bach to Jethro Tull" or, simple
as that, from Andrea Griminelli's to Ian Anderson's flute for nearly
three hours of Music with capitol "M"... A thrill of pleasure
among Tull fans for "Life Is A Long Song" and "Wond'ring
Aloud", rarely performed live by Jethro Tull, yet perfectly suitable
for orchestral arrangement... You could easily feel the patent amusement
of the conductor Danilo Rossi, usually first viola at the Scala Theatre
Griminelli, perfectly fitting the part of the classical flute
player, was free and easy; while instintive, whimsical and jestery Anderson
dominated both the scene and his flute... The genius of Danilo Rossi
succeeded in putting naturally together the orchestra and the band.
Franco Giubilei, "La Stampa"
Arriving at the Teatro Regio in Parma to clash rock's most
famous flute with the classic instrument of Andrea Griminelli, Ian Anderson
was able to cast a spell upon the audience as he would do leading Jethro
Tull... Anderson still has charisma and listening to his flute playing
during "My God" is still an incredible experience... The result
is a show well balanced between Tull classical influences and the symphonic
patchwork provided by the orchestra of the Teatro Regio... "In the
Grip of Stronger Stuff", a wonderful "Bourréee" and
the best excerpts from "Thick as a Brick" demonstrated that
Ian Anderson is, after thirty odd years, a great live performer".
Marina Zuccon, "Il Gazzettino"
The meeting of two among the most extraordinaire flute players...
Audience went absolutely crazy and in the stalls you could see the same
dichotomy as on stage: ladies dressed for the grand soiréee and
die-hard fans with Tull t-shirts".
Italian translations kindly provided by Aldo Tagliaferri.
TYPICAL CONCERT PROGRAMME
Classical repertoire orchestral piece (orchestra alone)
Bombay Valentine (band alone)
From the instrumental Anderson solo album "Divinities - Twelve
Dances With God". This album was recorded for EMI's Classical
Music Division in 1995 and reached number one in the Billboard Classical
Crossover charts. Anderson confines his performance to the flute and,
together with Tull keyboardist Andrew Giddings, draws upon various
ensembles of orchestral musicians to complement this eclectic conceptual
Boris Dancing (band alone)
- From solo record Secret Language of Birds. Instrumental inspired
by the unorthodox dance style of ex-Russian leader Boris Yeltsin.
- Thick As A Brick
Jethro Tull's first LP-length epic is a masterpiece in the
annals of progressive rock, and one of the few works of its kind
that still holds up 25 years later. Written as a spoof on the
concept album genre, it mixed hard rock and English Folk Music
with classical influences, set to stream-of-consciousness lyrics
so dense with imagery that some fans spent weeks pondering the
meaning. The group created a dazzling tour-de-force performance,
at once playful, profound, and challenging, without overwhelming
the listener. The original LP was amongst the best sounding,
best engineered record Tull ever released, easily capturing the
shifting dynamics between the soft all-acoustic passages and
the electric rock crescendos surrounding them. A radio playlist
regular which sold over 6 million records worldwide.
- Instrumental written by 70's Tull keyboardist
and arranger David Palmer - favourite at weddings
Life Is A Long Song (string quartet)
An acoustic gem from the early 70's.
Wond'ring Aloud (string quartet)
- Contemplative love song from the Aqualung album.
In The Grip of Stronger Stuff/ In a Black Box
From the Anderson solo
album Divinities. Wild Irish
Folk-influenced workout followed
by eerie theme from the Devil's
Title track from the 1999 Jethro Tull album received airplay on classic
Features the Indian
Tull album "This
Harmonica lead piece in the tradition of Black American Folk Blues.