Rick Wakeman found his first experience of playing Lincoln Cathedral’s historic pipe organ, for the live album “At Lincoln Cathedral,” to be so heavenly that he returned again, almost two decades later, for the follow-up recording, “Live Portraits At Lincoln Cathedral.” (“The feeling of power that appears to surge through the fingers into the instrument itself and in turn through the pipes themselves is almost unsurpassable,” he later reflected.)
Collected together in this exclusive box set, the albums present two sides of Rick in all his virtuosic glory. For “At Lincoln Cathedral,” the keyboard wizard improvised his set on the spot, channelling inspiration as if delivering music from the gods. For the “Live Portraits“” performance he brought his latest “Piano Portraits” material to the hallowed venue, with solo arrangements of David Bowie’s Life On Mars? and The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby nestling alongside classical pieces (Clair De Lune) and career-defining Wakeman originals (Merlin The Magician).
One of Rick Wakeman’s more obscure albums, “At Lincoln Cathedral” is spoken of in hallowed terms by those in the know. Originally released in a limited run of 500, this one-off solo performance, with no audience (except for the crew), recorded on 26 September 2001, it was completely improvised on the spot – no rehearsals, no planning, just pure inspiration pouring from Wakeman’s fingers. It almost didn’t happen, as the cathedral’s Bishop initially refused to allow anyone to touch the building’s renowned pipe organ. When word came back that the hopeful performer wasn’t just anyone, a decree was issued: “If it’s Rick Wakeman, he can do anything he wants!”
Here are Ricks thoughts about the session
“There are so many emotions that race through the body when seated behind the manuals of a great cathedral organ and the feeling of power that appears to surge through the fingers into the instrument itself and in turn through the pipes themselves is almost unsurpassable.
As opportunities to perform on great cathedral organs are really few and far between, the chance of having a day to play the organ at LincolnCathedral was too good to miss. The music I chose was written specifically for the instrument itself and is based around a combination of fixed notation and improvisation fueled by pure emotion.”
Capturing every shimmering note across two CDs and two DVDs, rounded out by a tour programme, a numbered certificate, an AAA laminate and ten postcards, this box set is something any Rick Wakeman fan would give thanks for.
“If it’s Rick Wakeman, he can do anything he wants!” – Bishop of Lincoln
10 x Postcards
Live Portraits CD/ DVD
The DVD includes exclusively filmed introductions and bonus material, including outtakes.
1 Morning Has Broken 2 And You And I 3 Summertime
4 Swan Lake 5 Space Oddity 6 After The Ball 7 Sweet Georgia Brown 8 Help 9 Amazing Grace 10 Wonderous Stories 11 Merlin The Magician 12 Life On Mars | 13 Eleanor Rigby 14 Clair De Lune
At Lincoln Cathedral 2001 CD
1 Soul Mortality 2 Dance Of The Imps 3 Gifts From Heaven 4 The All Mighty Almighty 5 Dawn And Dusk 6 The Da Vinci Variations