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BANKS: Seven

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Tony Banks (b. 1950)

Seven: A Suite for Orchestra

The idea of writing for an orchestra had been in my mindsince the recording of the music soundtrack for the film The Wicked Lady, backin the early eighties. At that time I had an existing piano piece which becamethe main theme, that took on a whole new character when it was orchestrated.This inspired me to want to create more music this way using only an orchestra,with the only addition being possibly a piano. With the film score, I hadwritten the music on the piano, which was then orchestrated, and although mostof the pieces worked well, some sections ended up further from the originalconcept than I would have liked. This time I wanted to make sure that thepieces ended up being a true representation of what I had originally written,even though I knew I was going to need the help of an orchestrator. I thereforerecorded fairly detailed demos of the pieces, which I then gave to Simon Hale,the orchestrator of this suite, with the brief to make the music intelligibleto orchestral players. The idea was to keep faithfully to the structure, andnot to change any melodies, chords or other elements, but to have some freedomwith instrumentation, and the use of additional arrangement ideas, to make theresult convincing. There were obviously some ideas that worked better thanothers and it was not until we were actually recording with the orchestra thatthis became apparent. Having worked for over thirty years in the studiorecording with Genesis and others, I was unprepared for the method of workingin this situation. In the time the group would take to have perhaps got theirinstruments working, the orchestra is expected to have done a finishedrecording of maybe twenty minutes of music of which they previously had noknowledge. At the same time we were making frantic changes to the score, bothto correct typographical errors and more importantly to improve parts. Thenthere were also decisions to be made in terms of tempo and expression, whichhad to be communicated to the conductor and then to the players. This provedtoo much to do in the time available, so after recording four pieces andlistening to them many times afterwards I realised I would have to start again.I went in much better prepared the next time, enlisting the help of Nick Davis,who has been involved in my last few studio projects, as co-producer. I triedto make sure that everything from our end was as finished as possible, and thatthe conductor had a clear idea what was intended, and although it was stillvery intense work, everything seemed to come together more easily. Also, havingbeen through the process once, I knew more what to expect and was thereforeable to enjoy the recording and be much happier with the result.

Of the seven pieces in this suite, five were writtenspecifically for this project, the other two being ideas from the past that Ihad always thought would work well with an orchestra. The Gateway was in factwritten some twenty years ago as a possible idea for a film theme that wasnever used. The other older piece, Neap Tide, I originally recorded a versionof at the time of the album Strictly Inc. The suite opens with Spring Tide, oneof three pieces to feature the piano, and the one in which it is mostprominent, although even here it is still very much part of the orchestra. Thesecond piece here, Black Down, the name of a local hill, is the one that reallystarted this project; I just wanted to hear how it would sound using realstrings as opposed to a synthesizer. After that the rest came fairly quickly,and the final piece to be written was The Ram. I wanted something more rhythmicand up-tempo, with a more optimistic conclusion. Earthlight is really a themewith simple variations. The original theme written actually appears here as thefirst variation, the major key version although coming later, seemed the betterone to start and end with. Simon added the semi-quaver violas accompanying themiddle part, which looked very doubtful on paper, but which in the end soundvery effective and natural. The suite closes with The Spirit of Gravity, whichtravels through a number of different musical ideas only to end up finally justwhere it began.

Tony Banks

Tony Banks

Tony Banks is a founder member of the rock group Genesis,having been keyboard player and composer through all of its variousincarnations. The group was originally a five-piece, (including Peter Gabrieland Mike Rutherford) which was formed at Charterhouse School in Surrey. Later,after one or two comings and goings, they were joined by drummer Phil Collinsand guitarist Steve Hackett, and became one of the major exponents ofprogressive rock music in the early 1970s with such albums as Selling Englandby the Pound and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. With Phil Collins taking overas lead singer after the departure of Peter Gabriel in 1975, and the laterdeparture of Steve Hackett in 1977, the band, as a three-piece, became one ofthe most commercially successful bands in the world with a string of number onealbums including Invisible Touch and We Can't Dance. The final incarnation cameafter Phil Collins left in the mid-1990s and resulted in the release of CallingAll Stations in 1997. Throughout its existence Genesis has been just as wellknown for its live shows that have combined the music with elaborate visuals,first playing small clubs and theatres in the 1970s, and then arenas andstadiums in the 1980s and 1990s. During this time Tony Banks has also recordedfive solo albums, A Curious Feeling (1979), The Fugitive (1983), Bankstatement(1989), Still (1991) and Strictly Inc (1995). In addition he has also composedthe soundtracks for the films The Shout (with Mike Rutherford), The WickedLady, Lorca and the Outlaws, and Quicksilver. An album combining the music fromthese last two films called Soundtracks was released in 1986, and the musicfrom The Wicked Lady was issued as a record in 1983.

Item number 8557466
Barcode 747313246625
Release date 02/01/2004
Category 20th Century
Label Naxos Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Composers Banks, Tony
Banks, Tony
Conductors Dixon, Mike
Dixon, Mike
Orchestras London Philharmonic Orchestra
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Producers Nick Davis and Tony Banks
Nick Davis and Tony Banks
Disc: 1
Seven - A Suite for Orchestra
1 Spring Tide
2 Black Down
3 The Gateway
4 The Ram
5 Earthlight
6 Neap Tide
7 The Spirit of Gravity
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