More than likely any fan of the Neo-Classical guitar shredder, Yngwie Malmsteen (he really doesn’t need a formal introduction to anyone visiting this Web site, does he?) has at one point or another listened to some Classical music. It’s probably also not a far stretch to say that most Yngwie fans appreciate or, heaven forbid, enjoy some form of Classical music. It’s with great pleasure that Metal Express Radio can announce that Yngwie Johann Malmsteen’s 2002 DVD, Concerto Suite For Guitar And Orchestra In E Flat Minor, has been re-released specifically with the intent of capturing the American viewing audience (and also anyone that missed it the first time around). So, for those in the U.S.A., and for everyone else who missed this one initially, listen up to why everyone should buy this shining jewel in the form of a round viewable disc (which is also X-Box and PSP compatible).
Seems like just a few years ago, a plethora of Rock bands found it chic to release video and CDs with them accompanied by a Symphony Orchestra (e.g., Metallica, Scorpions, Deep Purple, Kiss, Doro, etc.). So the obvious question is how is Yngwie’s performance any different from those currently on the market? This is actually a question he gets asked quite often, and as the answer is seemingly easy, it is often misconstrued as complex. Yngwie, plain and simple, isn’t a Rock band “accompanied” by an orchestra; Yngwie is a part of the orchestra. This isn’t a Classical backdrop to a five-piece Rock band; it’s a straight out, modern day, artistic Classical performance. Yngwie’s guitar is a “piece” of the orchestra, albeit a substantial piece, but a piece no less. The full performance consists of seventeen compositions (each nicely introduced with a watermark title on screen), all written by Yngwie himself with several of the movements drawing inspiration from past Yngwie recordings/songs. The complete opus is performed with the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Taizo Takemoto.
The DVD has a running time of approximately 84 minutes and, by today’s standards, is light on features. “Bonus Features” consist of an extra track in “Evil Eye” and a short spoken “interview” with Yngwie accompanied by stills. The video is presented in full frame (versus widescreen) with no alternate angles. The Dolby 5.1 audio isn’t exactly used to the fullest either, in contrast to the spatial sounds heard on say Metallica’s S & M release.
However, for the paltry retail price tag of less than fifteen dollars (USA), there’s still a lot to like in this package. First and foremost is the concept, the passion behind the performance, and Yngwie’s intensity. The video is bright and clear, and the cameras clip quickly (but smoothly) between shots of the Philharmonic and Yngwie. There are also plenty of fretboard shots here for the avid guitar fan. It’s quite entertaining to watch close-ups of some of Yngwie “licks” and bends, all while aurally accompanied by that distinct Yngwie Fender Stratocaster sound.
Yngwie’s performance, as well as the Philharmonic, is masterful, passionate, moving, and breathtaking … pure genius and art. Yngwie conveys a lot of restraint in order to keep himself from running about the stage as he normally would during a Rock performance. He compensates with plenty of facial gestures, livid guitar movements, mullet throws, acknowledgements to the crowd, etc. It’s also quite entertaining to watch Yngwie try to lightly cajole Conductor Takemoto into some light heartedness, but Takemoto will have no part of it (until the Encore at least). The pinnacle of the performance is comprised of the five closing tracks: “Vivace” (with a monstrous opening riff accompanied by the other Strings in the orchestra), “Presto Vivace,” “Finale,” “Blitzkrieg,” and “Far Beyond The Sun.” Of all these, “Blitzkrieg” is an amazing piece with Yngwie’s fingers moving at the speed of light, his movement heightened by his extended ruffle cuffs on his Pirate-like shirt. “Blitzkrieg” will quite frankly bring an adorning smile to every Yngwie fan’s face after its closing notes.
Bottom line, while the bonus features are weak, the price is right. Any avid Malmsteen fan, or Classical Music fan for that matter, won’t be able to help but to be emotionally moved by this astonishing performance. It took two years for Yngwie to compose and finish this Concerto and it’s only been performed live seven times, so this DVD is an excellent chronicle of something many have never seen. Supposedly he is working on a second opus, and hopefully, the next one will be released as a world wide event so that everyone can enjoy it together.
Yngwie Johann Malmsteen – Composer, Guitar, Producer, Orchestration
David Rosenthal – Co-Orchestration, Transcription, Scoring
New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra
Taizo Takemoto – Conductor
To find out more about Yngwie and this Concerto, visit the label’s Web site at www.EagleRockEnt.com, or Yngwie Malmsteen’s official Web site at http://www.Yngwie.org.