Paul K Joyce talks about his orchestrations for Mirror To The Sky – 574

Produced by Joseph Cottrell, Ken Fuller, Wayne Hall and Jeffrey Crecelius

This week Mark and I had a lovely conversation with Paul K Joyce, the orchestrator on The Quest and Mirror To The Sky. He tells us some rather interesting things about the forthcoming album. Speaking of which, Simon Barrow returns this week to say a bit about the fan reaction to the new single, Cut From The Stars. He’s not happy.

  • When was Paul asked to provide orchestrations for another new Yes album?
  • Is the new album ‘more of the same’?
  • Why is Simon not happy?

Paul’s website:

Paul is thinking…

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  • Joseph Cottrell
  • Ken Fuller
  • Jeffrey Crecelius and
  • Wayne Hall


Aaron Steelman

Dave Owen

Mark James Lang
Paul Tomei
Joost Maglev

David Heyden

Paul Wilson
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Robert Nasir

Fergus Cubbage
Scott Colombo
Fred Barringer
Geoff Bailie
Simon Barrow
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Guy R DeRome
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Henrik Antonsson
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Hogne Bø Pettersen
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Declan Logue
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Todd Dudley
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Steven Roehr

John Parry
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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:

8 replies on “Paul K Joyce talks about his orchestrations for Mirror To The Sky – 574”

The announcement of “postponement” is disappointing on two counts: 1-intrinsic loss and 2-the explanation is torturous and probably contrived. Many acts have returned to live touring, of course.
Oh well, let’s focus on the new album.

Not entirely contrived, the situation they describe is all too real but this has been a known factor for literally months. It was a known factor when the tickets went on sale in October and, as you say, other artists are coping. Jon Anderson for one. I was going to suck-it-up, bank the money and see if there is another London show. However I just got the e mail notification re the Hammersmith cancellation and Ticketmaster are keeping £27 from what I paid for my three tickets. A £227.50 order but £200.25 refund. Twenty seven pounds for what? FOR WHAT? The whole exercise is shameful. And you want me to pre-order the new album while I am counting the cost of that kind of tomfoolery? Not. A. Chance.

In case anyone is worried (thought not!), I’m not really unhappy. 😉 But I do think it is occasionally worthwhile pushing back against some of the sloppy criticism of modern Yes – and especially this fine new track – which crosses the line between “I don’t like it much” (fair enough) to “it’s no good” (let’s examine the claims about what is or isn’t going on in the music critically, and with reference to evidence). But its probably just an old man shouting at the moon!

Much more importantly, what a joy to listen to Paul K Joyce again. Thoughtful, insightful, informed, with a deep care for the music and for weaving orchestral textures into the mix in a way that really serves the material. Yes are lucky to have found such a superb (and genuinely collaborative) collaborator.

I too have often been sceptical about many (most?) attempts to integrate rock music with orchestras, not least the tendency of non-classical musicians to go for saccharine strings, etc. But it can work, and with the music of Yes there is a natural opportunity because of its span and depth. I’m really looking forward to hearing the rest of .Mirror to the Sky’. Thanks for all you do, Paul.

Off topic, but regarding adding strings to rock/prog music: One of my favorites is the string arrangement on Peter Gabriel’s song “Signal to Noise.” Absolutely beautiful!

It’s been a week of surprises and feeling downhearted after learning that it will be another year before I see Yes play live again, I tuned into YMP , mainly, if I’m honest, out of a sense of duty this week.
I’m SO glad I did. Simon was on fine form with his rhetoric concerning some fan reaction to “Cut From The Stars”, and then I was reminded what a thoroughly decent chap Paul K Joyce is. Hearing both of them speak rekindled my appetite for recent recorded Yes, and sent me scurrying back to their latest release for a few more plays and then back to “The Quest” which I shamefully hadn’t given much attention to since last year. What a difference a year’s made. What haven’t I been playing it every week?
So, as a direct result of listening to YMP 574 I’m now far more excited about the prospect of “Mirror to the Sky” than I’m disappointed about Yes’ touring plans again shifting. That’s pretty good going, guys. Thanks!

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