Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra — Tubular Bells - 50th Anniversary Celebration
(Cleopatra CLO 3402, 2022, CD / LP / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2023-02-12
In my mind there is a category for Things That Don’t Need to Exist. It contains such tragic and reprehensible things as racism, school shootings, and domestic violence. It also contains things which in the scheme of human suffering are trivial but nonetheless serve no useful purpose. I suppose everyone has such a list, and they won’t all be the same as mine. Tubular Bells - 50th Anniversary Celebration is on my list. Given that Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, the original 1973 album, is an absolute classic and vastly influential album, plus the fact that Oldfield himself recorded a version of the music with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, there is no valid reason for the same orchestra to release another recording of the music decades later without Oldfield. Aside from the obvious one that someone is convinced that there are fans who will buy it. If that conviction is justified, then Tubular Bells - 50th Anniversary Celebration is a valid commercial product which serves to contribute to the livelihood of those involved (presumably including Mr Oldfield himself). That doesn’t make it valid from an artistic standpoint, as it adds nothing to the existing work aside from the inclusion of the additional tracks, which include orchestral renditions of other Oldfield pieces. I won’t fault the technical aspects of the recording, as all the players are quite competent, but I find nothing interesting about the art itself. So if you’re one of those people who feels the urge to contribute to the economy by purchasing Tubular Bells - 50th Anniversary Celebration, by all means do so. For the rest of us, there’s that copy of Tubular Bells sitting on the shelf (real or virtual) ready for us to enjoy when we’re in the mood.
Related artist(s): Mike Oldfield
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