“Whoso pulleth out this sword from this stone and anvil, is the true born king of all Britain.”
And so begins Rick Wakeman’s third solo record; a brilliant combination of progressive rock keyboard wizardry and symphonic and choral music. “The Myths and Legend of King Arthur…” was praised as a masterpiece by prog rock enthusiasts but panned by some critics as an example of progressive rock pretentiousness. Rick Wakeman was a workaholic professional composer and performer who had few if any combined technical and creative equals in modern music. I say, if you got it, flaunt it. To call Wakeman’s compositions pretentious is calling Mozart’s extravagant or Bach’s baroque compositions excessive.
Rick Wakeman lived for music and music lived through him. His music is not for everyone, but then, never is the work of any visionary artist. This is not party music. This is not play it in the background music. This is sit down and appreciate the artistry and virtuosity music. Appreciate it because there are few ever born who can compose music this grandiose and expressive. Artists like Wakeman don’t try to compose music. The compositions live within them and they need to let them out. Even if they are trapped in a hospital bed after suffering a heart attack, they would have someone bring them a tape recorder so they could hum the music into it so it wouldn’t be lost and could be recorded later; wich is how much of this album was initially composed.
My sincerest thanks go out to the former Detroit television meteorologist and music lover who, through a good friend I met today after finding out he was parting with his valued record collection. I picked up many gems today. Records that will be cherished every time I listen to them. It was a pleasure meeting and talking about music with you.