"Ethereal.Epic.Moving.I am a long-time Zep fan and a huge fan of crashing movie scores. If there was one group's songs ripe for ripping symphonic interpretations, Led Zeppelin was it.Tracks 2,3 and 5 make the CD worth the purchase. The LSO brings out even more grandeur than the original pieces, if possible. "Kashmir" probably resembles the original version the most, but is still different (in a good way). "Battle of Evermore" is less intricate than the Zep version, but also more gloriously sweeping and crashing. And "When the Levee Breaks" becomes a joyful, symphonic exclamation, with the orchestral riffs growing more and more contagiously groovy--I defy you to not dance or frolick to this piece.However, the other tracks leave a _lot_ to be desired. 10 minutes for "Going to California"? They should have picked "Achilles' Last Stand," "In the Light," or other more epic pieces for interpretation. And I am disappointed that the LSO used up precious disk space for TWO "ambient" tracks that really have nothing to do with Zep. Bottom line: lovers of Zep and epic movie scores will find the CD worth purchasing for nearly 30 minutes of grand symphonic music. Nitpickers and purists will not enjoy it."
Less symphonic than Zeppelin's originals!
Randall Banks | 10/11/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Being a fan of classical and a Zep lover I was really excited to buy this album--what a terrible letdown. I expected the power and fury of a live orchestra to amplify the emotion of Led Zeppelin's songs, and instead "Kashmir--symphonic Led Zeppelin" left me with mixed feelings and less than satisfied. The song Kashmir starts off dramatically with a great deal of excitement, then cuts in with a ridiculous and over-amplified weeping vocal substitute. It might work if Page, Plant and Bonham had tried it themselves but in the hands of Coleman, it just sounds like the stereotypical Middle Eastern fluff one is treated to in James Bond movies. Absent this silly excursion it might have been the best piece on the album. As it is, everytime the song gets cranking and my head starts banging, the screeching violin comes back--ouch. Battle of Evermore--damn, more of the same. Painful violin and pipes, some electronic doodads ripped from Pink Floyd. Then Stairway to Heaven is completely missing the cacophony at the end, just as lame as lovemaking without a climax. When the Levee Breaks suffers poor mixing--strings and brass well-balanced but percussion too damped. Yet despite the muffled drums this is the best piece of the album, if only by default thanks to the unwelcome meddling and experimentation in some others. It's beautiful and powerful despite the flawed mix and I could get lost in it. Going to California should lend itself well to orchestral arrangement, but Coleman lets the listener down with an uninspired rendition that paradoxically goes afar on weird tangents. Just when you think he's finally got it right with a fantastic arrangement for Friends--oops cheese-bag flanger effect! How many orchestras do YOU know that can mix in delay? If it were a cassette tape I'd simply think somebody left it on the dash of their car. Almost as annoying as the ersatz "vocals" that wreck Kashmir and Battle of Evermore. Goodness, why did he mangle Friends, otherwise the most emotional piece on the album? It's a powerful and artistic rendition that should have gone from master to disk without a goofball at the controls of a special effects box. All My Love almost ties with Levee for best of album. It's mixed well and thankfully free of bizarro special effects. All three of Kashmir, Battle of Evermore, and Friends are musically superior but are corrupted beyond hope with asinine effects and ear-torturing feature instruments. The symphony orchestra couldn't take me on a wild ride of power and love because of the deliberately inserted interference."
Superior orchestral treatment of classic rock
Danno | NY, NY | 02/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With "Kashmir," Jaz Coleman accomplishes the impossible - he creates orchestral treatments of classic Led Zeppelin songs without resorting to camp or cliches. I'd previously suffered through many attempts to reinterpret classic rock through the medium of classical musicianship - and I have been disappointed by CDs based on the music of Queen, the Stones, Pink Floyd, etc. This CD triumphs where similar CDs have failed, carefully avoiding the pseudo-Muzak pitfalls others have fallen into.
Part of the success is earned by Coleman's gorgeous re-arranging of Zeppelin's material; Coleman is unafraid to add Middle Eastern textures to the arrangements, resulting in a very epic, almost Cecil B. DeMille quality. An equal part of the success goes to both Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones - their innovative arrangements on the original Zep albums undoubtably made Coleman's task much easier. It's amazing how grand and larger-than-life this music is once divorced of Robert Plant's lyrics and Bonzo's thundering groove. Once again, I'm struck by how close to film music this CD is. It would be perfect music for an old Hollywood Biblical-era widescreen film!
The CD's one flaw is an over-reliance on material from Led Zeppelin IV. One can only imagine how "Dazed and Confused" or "The Rover" would have sounded in Coleman's hands! It's especially disappointing since two tracks on the CD are Coleman originals which, while suitably Eastern-sounding, could have been replaced by actual Zep compositions like "In the Light" or "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp." It's too bad Coleman never tried for a sequel."
Moving. Even the non-classical-music-fan can enjoy.
Matt | FL United States | 09/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not the biggest classical music fan in the world. But, on a whim, I bought this CD while at the music store one day. I love Led Zeppelin and I figured I couldn't go wrong...and I was right! The London Philharmonic Orchestra did a fabulous job of capturing the moods of the songs, and without the use of the traditional Rock 'n' Roll instruments the members of Led Zeppelin used to create them. The song "All My Love" makes the CD worth buying alone. The song was originally written by Robert Plant, an ode to his dead son. After watching the VH1 "Behind The Music" special on Led Zeppelin and learning the story behind that song, listening to the classical version of it leaves me with this haunting feeling every time, even more so than the original Led Zeppelin version of the song. I highly recommend this CD, for the Classical music and Rock music fans alike."