Jan Akkerman and Claus Ogerman’s ‘Aranjuez’ (1978) is defenitely among the most beautiful records in my collection. Claus Ogerman arrangemends for orchestra are moody, mysterious and stylish. He can easily switch between peacefull and darker atmospheres or between bombastic and fragile environments.
All pieces are symphonic with a modern classical music feel with loads of interesting harmonies, making this interesting for progressive rock listeners. All tracks have slow, soulful pace. As a listener of Frank Sinatra’s all ballad string albums (I warmly recommend ‘No Once Cares’ and ‘Only The Lonely’), I almost feel like this could almost have been a Frank Sinatra record – which is not too far from the truth since Claus Ogerman has also written arrangments for the Voice.
The guitar of Jan Akkerman have never sound more emotional engaging, more sensitive and well performed. His jazz guitar with a slight distortion is recorded beautifully and reminds us of moviesoundtracks of dessert and western movies. Great phrasing and storytelling. I wish this side of Akkerman would have been more prominent in his carrere.
Conclusion. Beautiful, relaxing and soulfull music for when the sun is down. Warmly recommended. (by friso)
This album from 1978 was kind of an anomalie for Akkerman during a period in his record output that saw albums like Eli (1976), Jan Akkerman (1977), Live in Montreux (1978), Santa Barbara – Live w/ Joachim Kuhn (1981), and Pleasure Point (1982) hit the record bins. His live concerts were usually exposés of funky, jazzy, hard rocking events with plenty of abrasive incendiary guitar work.
He may have wanted to proof that he was also able to sell a romantic semi-classical recording like the million selling Introspection LP’s by ex-Focus band mate Thijs van Leer at that time.
This recording has several things going for it: beautiful intimate yet razor sharp guitar sound, and a jazzy improvisational playing style which suits this music well. All pieces are beautiful, well known classical works or original compositions.
Unfortunately the strings are arranged and recorded with a “thick layer of sugar coating” that makes them sound like a Mantovani record.
I would have loved a more classical music approach of those strings, fronted with that beautiful electric guitar sound of his.
This record may be the pinnacle of easy listening (and that’s a compliment in my book), and is still highly listenable to my ears. (by Garrett de La Forêt sur La Pente)
Jan Akkerman (guitar)
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass)
Symphony Orchestra conducted by Claus Ogerman –
01. Adagio from “Concierto de Aranjuez” (Rodrigo) 5.57
02. Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 (Heitor Villa-Lobos) 5.59
03. Espanoleta (Sanz) 5.19
04. Love Remembered (Akkerman) 3.49
05. Modinha (Villa-Lobos) 5.49
06. Nightwings (Ogerman) 5.04
07. Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte (Ravel) 7.00
08. The Seed Of God (from “Magdalena”) (Heitor Villa-Lobos) 5.52