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Concert Program
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Concert Program
Genres: Jazz, New Age
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #2

2 Cd Re-Issue.


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CD Details

All Artists: Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Title: Concert Program
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Windham Hill Records
Release Date: 5/9/1995
Genres: Jazz, New Age
Style: Meditation
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 019341116929


Album Details
2 Cd Re-Issue.

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CD Reviews

Classic Penguin Cafe
A. Shaw | Finland | 12/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Quintessential and sublime live recording of the band performing their most accessible tracks, including Music for a Lost Harmonium, Telephone and Rubber Band, Beanfields and others less familiar, but as inviting. Taking the principle of repeated phrases and applying different tonal arrangements and textures, under leader Simon Jeffes the band established parametres for cross-over genres that reign still today (2006): their mix of classical and world styles is still very hard to beat."
"Concert Program" or "When in Rome..."?
T. Fisher | 02/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

""When in Rome...", the only live CD of a concert before an audience by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, has long been one of my favorite albums -- a record I have listened to regularly, over an over again for more than 10 years. Indeed, I thought this was the only "live" record the PCO had ever produced. Imagine my surprise when I heard about "Concert Program", a double-CD live recording that had somehow escaped my attention until only recently.

"When in Rome" captures a concert before a packed house at London's Royal Festival Hall in 1987, with all its energy and excitement. "Concert Program", however, is a recording of a "concert without an audience" from 1995. PCO founder Simon Jeffes wanted to record a snapshot of the PCO at the time, reportedly because he felt the orchestra would soon go through some important changes, so he gathered the band in a residential studio in Somerset, England for a concert to be recorded. Jeffes died of cancer in 1997, and "Concert Program" thus sadly became the PCO's last release.

Both albums provide a kind of "greatest hits" collection including the PCO's best-known music, which was remarkable for drawing on a wide variety of musical traditions to create what Jeffes called "imaginary folklore" or "modern semi-acoustic chamber music". The PCO was consistently pleasant and optimistic. There is occasional sadness, but even that is handled in a very affirmative way.

Usually when music is overplayed in advertisements, it becomes annoying very fast. But the best-known works of the PCO became well-known from their omnipresence in advertisements in much of the 1980s and 1990s. Both albums contain the well-known "Music for a Found Harmonium" and "Telephone and Rubber Band" -- but "Perpetuum Mobile", another of their most popular earworms, is found only on "Concert Program".

"Concert Program" with its 20 tracks has the advantage of providing more music when compared with the 16-track "When in Rome". But without the energy of an audience, and a few more somber pieces thrown into the mix, "Concert Program" also takes on a more wistful quality. These include "Cage Dead" a tribute to John Cage, who had died in 1992, and "Vega", a lengthy piece with more than passing stylistic references to Philip Glass.

The lineup at the time of "Concert Program" also means different instrumentation than on the earlier album -- especially noticeable in a more prominent brass section. This makes a comparison between the versions on the two concert albums a lot of fun.

So which one to buy? Well, the easy answer is both -- which is true, but a cop-out. "Concert Program" is outstanding, but if I had to choose, I'd go with "When in Rome". It is a more polished and consistent album, with a slightly more satisfying selection of music. Still, if you like the Penguin Cafe, sooner or later you might think about getting both. Five stars all around."