[Smt-talk] The Prog-rock Symphony?

Holm-Hudson, Kevin J kjholm2 at email.uky.edu
Thu Nov 19 05:35:55 PST 2009

Oldfield followed "Tubular Bells" with several other albums in the same vein--"Hergest Ridge," "Ommadawn," and "Incantations." The latter is especially interesting for its motivic development of certain intervals (P4s and P5s especially) and a style that suggests he'd been listening to Steve Reich.

Oldfield's labelmate David Bedford--certainly a serious composer in the British new-music scene--also went through a "prog symphony" period with his albums "Star's End" (the most "classical" of the lot, though it's a double concerto for electric guitar and orchestra, with soloists Mike Oldfield and Chris Cutler), "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," "The Odyssey," and "Instructions for Angels."

On the more abstract side, Tangerine Dream are known for their extended album-length pieces during this period, especially "Rubycon" and "Zeit" (the latter described as a "Largo in four movements."

This is just the tip of the iceberg, I'm sure...

Kevin Holm-Hudson
Associate Professor, Music Theory
University of Kentucky

From: smt-talk-bounces at societymusictheory.org [smt-talk-bounces at societymusictheory.org] On Behalf Of Dmitri Tymoczko [dmitri at princeton.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 6:09 PM
To: smt-talk smt
Subject: [Smt-talk] The Prog-rock Symphony?

Hi Everyone,

I'm wondering if anyone can help me come up with examples of what I
think of as the "Prog-rock Symphony" -- album-length, through-composed
instrumental pieces suggesting some sort of classical influence,
however vague.

For example, Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells," Zappa's "Grand Wazoo,"
or Jean-Michel Jarre's "Oxygene."

There are lots of examples with vocals; I'm happy to hear everyone's
favorite instances, but I'm particularly interested in instrumental


Dmitri Tymoczko
Associate Professor of Music
310 Woolworth Center
Princeton, NJ 08544-1007
(609) 258-4255 (ph), (609) 258-6793 (fax)

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