Reviews by Tim Boudewijn van der Wart

Reviews by Tim Boudewijn van der Wart

Review of Rick Wakeman Live in Concert 2000 submitted on 20th October 2001

The CD starts with a beautiful Pachelbel intro, real nice and easy but the sound is a bit digital. Then comes Birdman of Alcatraz (from Criminal Record), this one is truly as pretty and sweet as it should be, but the original version beats this one. The Wives are good, but again, they do not sound pure enough to my taste. The Nursery Rhyme Concerto is a beautiful fast and funny piece. What can I say about Merlin, I think I have a total of five different versions of it, and they're all good, this one is not the best (it has a kind of Return feel to it). The Beatle tracks are good, better than the piano tour versions. The YES stuff is OK, but I always miss Jon while listening to YES with no one but Rick. The Journey excerpt is relaxing (it's like the instrumental Journey from greatest hits). Clair de Lune is an outstanding Claude Debussy arrangement, although I like the Tapestries version more. The entire CD is really good, but virtually every song is better preformed on the albums they originally came from, that is of course a matter of personal taste so don't let me scare you off, for the piano lovers as for the keyboard lovers it is a beautiful compilation with lots of variety. The only "bad" thing about this album is that they cut out the talking in between. That doesn't take away the beauty of the songs, have fun!

Review of Classic Tracks submitted on 26th October 2001

This CD is stunning!! Merlin is finally finished - a tremendous vocal version!! This Merlin truly recaptures the thrill the original version gave me when I first heard it! The journey is also excellent, the vocals are perfect and there are beautiful guitar contributions, it is not bad at all that there isn't any choir or orchestra! Catherine Howard is good too. This cd is certainly a must buy for all the fans, but try to find the one with the cover shown on this site, I have the ugly one from prestige records, which looks like it has been designed with some miserable paintbrush (the music is the same of course).

Review of Live On The Test submitted on 26th October 2001

This recording from a 1976 Old Grey Whistle Test is most of all a lot of fun, in addition to that you get a perfect Catherine Parr, a happy mamma journey excerpt with terrible vocals and wonderful keyboard playing, a good Merlin and Lancelot and last but not least; three great songs from the rare No Earthly Connection album. I heard this album (Live on the Test I mean) was only just deleted from being on sale, I don't know if it is true, try to find a copy nonetheless it is definitely worth the money and the trouble!

Review of Romance of the Victorian Age submitted on 26th October 2001

Together with Tapestries these two albums form a piece of true piano art! Fast and slow pieces, good for dinner music but also very good for relaxing or intensive listening. Both are "must buy albums" for the piano fans.

Review of Tapestries submitted on 26th October 2001

Together with Romance of the Victorian Age these two albums form a piece of true piano art! Fast and slow pieces, good for dinner music but also very good for relaxing or intensive listening. Both are "must buy albums" for the piano fans.

Review of The Piano Album submitted on 26th October 2001

For Catherine Howard this version is actually better than the original! This is a beautiful album filled with new and old tracks. It is in a way a "best of piano" album, which is a good initiative I think. For the piano fans it is a real gem, but beware it is by far not as relaxing as Tapestries and Romance of the Victorian Age, it is a quite energetic CD, but truly gorgeous.

Review of Voyage submitted on 26th October 2001

This is without doubt the definite A&M seventies compilation! Outstanding in each aspect. Even if you own all the pieces already on the separate albums, this is a must buy because it is just secure to have for example a magnum opus like Judas Iscariot on compact disc (my vinyl version is almost completely transparent, as probably a lot are). To my opinion it should even have been a 3 cd-set! More from the Music Reincarnate e.g. the Warning or the beautiful Reaper - and what about Statue of Justice and the Breathalyser? The CD is an absolute must for all, all the pieces are great and the former vinyl pieces are flawlessly remastered.

Review of Wakeman with Wakeman submitted on 26th October 2001

I hate the Paint it Black cover, to me the worst thing a musician can do is to cover a rolling stones song, just awful! The rest of the album is surprisingly good, in particular past and present, megalomania and lure of the wild. All the tracks are pure keyboard except jiggajig, that a simple two piano piece, quite nice though. I think it is a nice thing to have in your wakeman collection, not a must, but nice.

Review of Live in Buenos Aires DVD submitted on 13th December 2001

Really terrific, esspecially Merlin, where Adam and Rick both play on a portable guitar like keyboard, extremely fast! You have to get used to the singer tough, but that is the problem with a lot of Rick's albums. 1984 is great too! It is a very very good buy, as all his dvd's are, and you will get official bootleg live for free along with it!

Review of The Six Wives of Henry VIII submitted on 30th March 2002

Pure virtuosity from the keyboard master on his debut album! Fast stunning and harmonic pieces of music that have quality written all over them. Personally I like Catherine Parr the best, because of its super sonic Hammond solo’s, Jane Seymour is a masterpiece too; a gorgeous church organ composition which can easily compete with a good music piece from Bach or any other well known composer. Anne Boleyn has got beautiful bits of piano and Catherine Howard has such a lovely melody that it can make you cry. Anne of Cleves is one to get used to; you will probably not like it the first time you hear it, but the more you listen the more you love it. A key album that forms the foundation to every Wakeman or even prog rock collection!

Review of Journey to the Centre of the Earth submitted on 30th March 2002

This has to be the standard to quality entertainment, written by the master himself (as is all his work) it shows the world that music has been given a new definition; Music=Rick Wakeman, the rest is just insignificant sound (okay, not all of it, but a lot is!). A perfect Rock-Opera with full orchestra and choir, Rick plays the moogs perfectly and all his other synths too. I can listen to this one a million times and I even like it better! The singers being bad just makes it more fun to listen to. I can’t get enough of the forest and the moment the storm begins always is one of the most enjoyable moments of the album for me. It has a perfect grand opening and a ditto ending! This particular version is great but the dvd version is even better! If you do not own a copy yet, you should better rush yourself to the store to get one!!

Review of The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table submitted on 30th March 2002

The MaLoKAatKotRT is a very emotional and personal masterpiece. It is my number one Wakeman record. If anyone of you owns the family album and wonders why Rick himself isn’t on it; that’s because he already described himself musically here...I think Rick is Merlin; both very wise and genius as he is humorous and affectionate. The album is full of the prettiest music with an historical feeling to it, instrumentally and verbally a perfect achievement. And a definite must to all the genuine fans, if you don’t like it, I can’t understand what attracts you in Rick’s music at all. You just got to have this, it are Rick’s heart and soul that speak on this one.

Review of Lisztomania submitted on 30th March 2002

Lisztomania…a soundtrack that makes you longing to see the movie (and I still haven’t seen it because I can’t find the movie anywhere). Although not all the tracks are Wakemans’ it is a beautiful album with a very special feeling to it. The combination of Roger Daltry's lightning voice with the gorgeous Wakeman melodies makes this a sensation. Peace at Last is the best song of the album; it’s a kind of extension to love’s dream which is also very beautiful. There are also a few sinister tracks on this album such as Hell. It can be quite hard to find a copy since not many of them were sold, if you can’t find it try to get the exclusive eight cd box (only 1000 of these around! so be quick) because Rick has put the “real Lisztomania” in there.

Review of No Earthly Connection submitted on 30th March 2002

No Earthly Connection is a very good album on which Ashley Holt breaks all his personal records and it can also besides the beautiful music form the beginning of a new religion! Good use of the English Rock Ensemble here enhanced with a brass section. It is just like all the seventies albums a must for your collection. It contains really interesting moments; on the Lost Cycle there is a solo which sounds like the keyboard is played the wrong way round! The entire music reincarnate is a lesson about how to live your life (you have to evolve your music sense which will give your soul eternal life). There are pretty melodies (“wait, wait look at the sun…”) and rocky songs (“you shall hang said the maker…”). It can be quite hard to obtain a copy because it was never (and probably will never be) released on compact disc. A very good album which to my opinion belongs in the top seven of the Wakeman album charts.

Review of White Rock submitted on 30th March 2002

Yet another great masterpiece from the maestro. The Loser is the one of the most beautiful Wakeman tracks ever, and White Rock is the song the mini-moog was probably invented for! Lax’x is a very abstract and complex composition, very good though. Searching for gold is also very good, it has a catchy chorus; the entire album can be called brilliant if you ask me. There is lots of piano and organ use, also is there a good choir. Among the fast rock pieces there are very beautiful piano compositions enhanced with synths Rick does so amazingly well. In my list the album ranks probably at number two. A pity it was never released on cd, such a masterpiece must be possible to play always, and not to be worn out till here are no copies left anymore.

Review of Rick Wakeman's Criminal Record submitted on 30th March 2002

If there were any academy-awards for best album Rick would win these for this album every year again! The first half of the album consists of three very beautiful, versatile and energetic pieces of perfect Wakeman keyboard art And the second part really knocks you off your socks every time you listen to it. Birdman of Alcatraz is probably his best pure piano composition, the Breathalyser is a fast and striking keyboard piece with a funny vocal ending, and Judas Iscariot is...it is so amazingly good that it can make you cry over and over again. This album is unquestionably a top three album if not number one in the Wakeman album charts!

Review of Rhapsodies submitted on 30th March 2002

Although some will argue this, to my opinion this is still a pure seventies album (and not even Rick’s last! to my opinion that’s Rock ‘n Roll prophet!). The style, the instruments and the humour is all typically of the seventies and that makes it a very good album with good and powerful songs (sea horses, summertime, the pulse) and there are also good and funny songs like Bombay duck and woolly willy tango. The album being long does not affect its quality; it is a very good en enjoyable listen with typical Wakeman moments, which we actually all want to hear from Rick. It is a link you don’t want to miss in your collection, there lots of them around too so it won’t be any trouble finding a copy.

Review of Return To The Centre Of The Earth submitted on 4th August 2002

Return To The Centre Of The Earth, a more than perfect achievement from (now proven again to be) the best composer of this time! Together with hundreds of other gifted musicians (LSO, ECC, Bonnie Tyler, Fraser, Trevor Rabin, Ozzy Osbourne and many others) Rick has proven the world that good quality music has not and probably will never die out! EMI gave Rick the possibility to do this project to the full, and that is exactly what he has done. With a visualizing and breathtaking narration from Patrick “Jean Luc” Steward this album takes you all the way to the centre of the earth! Every song is perfect, the balance between the relaxed and heavy rock songs couldn’t be any better, the solo’s are pure ecstasy, Rick plays the old Moog like no-one can! This album is a perfect, and I mean PERFECT blend between classical and rock music, the melodies are complex, the recording is of the best quality and the singers are great! Rick Wakeman at his very best, let’s all hope that he will from now on get more opportunities to do projects like these because there is no living soul who can do this better than he can, everyone not deaf should buy this album!

Review of The Wizard And The Forest Of All Dreams submitted on 27th September 2004

Whenever I cannot get to sleep, I play this one, and I will be in dreamland before the second track begins!! This is to my opinion one of the best works Rick has ever done! Musically it is of the same high standard as his 70's output, although the music is completely different, only choir and piano. A must buy for all who enjoy beauty, complexity and relaxation. And indeed because of the sheer quality this one should appeal to a much broader audience than Rick has ever experienced!!