Episodes YMP Classic Feed

Episode 41 – Symphonic Music of Yes

CD purchased circa 1993 (click to enlarge)

The forty-first episode of the Yes Music Podcast featuring the ‘Symphonic Music of Yes’ compilation.

  • Are these arrangements better than the Magnification tour ones?
  • With some key Yes band members, is this the treat one would expect?
  • Are there any surprises?

Listen and see if you agree with me then let me know by leaving a comment or contacting me via the different routes on the right hand side or by leaving a comment below!

Show Links

David or Dee Palmer – read the fascinating story of the former Jethro Tull musician here on Wikipedia

Tim Harries on Wikipedia

Alan Parsons’ website

Julian Colbeck on Wikipedia

Keith West on Wikipedia

London Community Gospel Choir website

London Philharmonic Orchestra website

English Chamber Orchestra website

Please subscribe!

If you are still listening to the podcast on the website, please consider subscribing so you don’t risk missing anything. You can subscribe with an RSS reader, with iTunes, via email updates or via

Theme music

The music I use is the last movement of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This has been used as introduction music at many Yes concerts. My theme music is not take from a live concert – I put it together from the following two creative commons sources:

thanvannispen and

7 replies on “Episode 41 – Symphonic Music of Yes”

Sorry but this is Yesmuzak to my ears. (I agree with you – what were they thinking?) The (very) few good moments do not redeem this album for me.

(PS. The posting of your podcast on a friday lunchtime always sets me up for the weekend.)

Oh my I really enjoyed your comments on this one “wallpaper Music” lol and Yes anytime Mr Howe has to play any Trevor Rabin he becomes very stiff…not the Mr Howe that we all enjoy so much.

I guess like it goes their is a season for everything and this just must have been one of those things that “they” thought would be a great idea and again like you had mentioned why does it take so many to reproduce what five people did?

I believe when you mentioned “Soon” you miss spoke about how Rick would have played it however we all know it was Patrick Moraz that did it original but hey I liked it when either one did it so no biggie.

Just to change gears for a bit I did hear a snippet of “Awake” with Jon D.singing on the present tour all though I was a little taken back by how Mr Downs opened but as you had mention in your previous podcast he does make it his own style that’s for sure however Jon did a outstanding job of it and I think he sounds more true to a young Jon Anderson then David B. did have a listen and tell me what you think
its in two parts
anyways as always great to hear your Podcast and your very humors style can’t wait for next week show until then

Best Regards
Paul Tomei

Hi Paul. There seems to be a whole series of these CDs produced by a similar team, including a Queen one which I have heard bits of – it’s worse…

Thanks for spotting the Moraz mistake – I’ll mention it in the next episode.

Glad to hear you think JD is doing well. I hope he comes to the UK!

Finally, thanks for the YouTube links. Sounds like they are doing really well – as you say, it’s not the same but a worthy interpretation. In answer to the folks on YouTube who say Downes gets the intro wrong, I think you’ll find he’s not trying to play an exact copy of Wakeman and anyway carbon copies are boring, in my opinion. 🙂

Thanks for those links Paul. I have to say that I didn’t think Geoff Downes could pull it off but it’s pretty darn good and still gave me goose bumps (and there’s no higher accolade than that!)

Hi , This is Stormy from Phoenix.
I am replying to the Symphonic Yes music episode # 41, a bit late, sorry, but I do have a sore spot towards this CD. David Palmer had been doing several albums of this concept of quote unquote ‘symphonic music’ tributes to various prog bands. First was Genesis, then Jethro Tull, and later Yes and Pink Floyd. The problem I have with David Palmer’s work here, is that they are not symphonic, they are a rock ensemble with an orchestra thrown on top. I think there should be rules to this sort of thing so as to make them a truly classical styled symphonic arrangement to these masterful, extended compositions, which are so deserving of such a concept. Especially Yes.
First rule, no guitars, no bass. There are plenty of symphonic instruments to cover this spectrum. Contra bass and bassoons, as well as tubas, french horns and such, should be used for the bass parts.
Secondly, and very importantly, no rock drum kits, no trap sets. The symphony offers a wide assortment of percussive instruments to cover these rhythm parts. How about some tubular bells? Pun intended, as the symphonic albums to Mike Oldfield’s early works set a great example as to how this should be done.
No synthesizers, the only keyboard to be used would be grand piano. These should not sound like rock songs, but classical pieces of music. The only vocals would be done by a choir. Also, no members from the band involved to take us out of the purely classical element we are striving for.
Now with that all said, imagine this album, or a symphony concert with the following set list:
Heart of the Sunrise
Close To The Edge
And You And I
Gates of Delirium
(about 80 minutes worth of music there)
All following the strict classical arrangement.
Songs like Roundabout, Owner of A Lonely Heart and All Good People would not work in this mode of composition. We want Beethoven, not Boston Pops. However, All Good People with a massive choir and strings handling the rhythm parts would be refreshing.
I really, really want to hear this album. I mean I hunger to hear this. I love classical works like The Firebird Suite and Holst’s The Planets, and Yes music, done as if composed by the masters, would be such an experience, mere humans could not describe it. Anyone agree? Anyone out there share my great desire to hear this album done proper? Anyone with the forthwith all to take the project on? I mean, I really want to hear this done right.
Thanks and I love this podcast and agree with the host 99% of the time, except that I love the Union album (no onions there for me)

Thanks so much for the fascinating comment, Stormy. I agree about the ‘thrown on top’ nature of the arrangements. It should be either/or – band or orchestra. The only other possible exception might be the Concerto for Group and Orchestra by Jon Lord, featuring Deep Purple – do you know it?
Yes – Boston Pops, there was a disastrous idea!
I would also love to hear the album you describe – I winder if it will ever be created?
Thanks for the kind words also about the podcast – it makes it all worthwhile when I know people like you are enjoying it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 300 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.