Musical version of "SPARTACUS" (Jeff Wayne)


Musical version of "SPARTACUS" (Jeff Wayne)






 

 

 

CD

DISC ONE

"ANIMAL & MAN"

01. Destiny [Palene (spoken) & chorus]
02. Animal & Man (Part One) [Spartacus & Marcus Crassus (spoken)]
03. Animal & Man (Part Two)

"THE EAGLE & THE HAWK"

04. For All Time [Palene & chorus]
05. Whispers [Spartacus, Crixus, Oenomaus & Marcus Crassus (spoken)]
06. The Eagle & the Hawk [Spartacus, Marcus Crassus (spoken), Palene & chorus]
DISC TWO

"THE PARTING OF THE WAYS"

01. Going Home [Palene, solo voice & chorus]
02. The Parting of the Ways [Crixus, Palene (spoken) & Spartacus]
03. We Carry On [Marcus Crassus (spoken), Spartacus & Chorus of Slave Girls]
04. Trust Me [Isoricus, Palene (spoken) & Spartacus]

"THE LAST BATTLE"

05. Two Souls With a Single Dream [Marcus Crassus (spoken), Palene & Spartacus]
06. The Last Battle (leading into) [Marcus Crassus (spoken) & Spartacus]
07. The Eagle & the Hawk [Spartacus]

"THE APPIAN WAY"

08. The Appian Way [Palene (spoken)]
09. Epilogue (Part One) [Marcus Crassus (spoken) & chorus]
10. Epilogue (Part Two) [Marcus Crassus (spoken) & chorus]


2CD
EUR: Columbia, Sony Music - 472030 2

Information

FEATURED ARTISTS
Anthony Hopkins - Marcus Crassus (spoken part)
Catherine Zeta Jones - Palene (spoken and sung part)
Ladysmith Black Mambazo - The "voices of Spartacus army"
Incantation - Multi-instrumentalists
Jimmy Helms - Isoricus the Cicilian pirate (from Londonbeat)
Fish - Crixus the Gaul (from Fish, Marillion)
Alan King - Spartacus (from Walk on Fire)
Chris Thompson - Oeomanus (from Manfred Mann, Alan Parsons, etc.)
Bill Fredericks - (from the Drifters)
Jo Partridge - guitar
Danny Campbell & Marwenna Haver - backing vocalists on "For All Time"
Lorna Bannon & Carol Kenyon - Slave Girls on "Trust Me"
OTHER MUSICIANS:
Programming: Gaetan Schurrer
Additional programming: Steve McLaughlin
Keyboards: James Cassidy, Jeff Wayne
Guitars and guitar synths: Jo Partridge
Bass guitar, Stick: David Sinclair
Live drums: John Cann
Brass section: "The Parting of the Ways" & "Trust Me" Kick Horns
OTHER:
Script: Brian Sibley, John Spurling
Recording & Mixing Engineer: James Cassidy
Design & Art Direction: Icon


Released SEP-1998


Fish portrays Crixus the Gaul in this Musical, who made 2 appearances:
Disc 1:
In Part 2: The Eagle & the Hawk
05. Whispers (spoken part by Fish)
0isc 2:
In Part 3: The Parting Of The Ways
02. The Parting Of The Ways (song by Fish)

Musical was made possible with the aide of ANTHONY HOPKINS

Review:

So it took over a decade, but Jeff Wayne has finally returned with a followup to his classic musical version of "War of the Worlds".

"Spartacus" is a faithful telling of the story of the rebellious slave who builds an army to challenge the mighty Romans, but who loses in the end to the forces of senator and multi-millionaire Marcus Crassus.
Here, the part of Crassus is played grandly by Anthony Hopkins, whose narrative style is usually commanding but is sometimes forced. British actress Catherine Zeta Jones plays Spartacus' woman, Palene. The voices of Spartacus' army are contributed by African band Ladysmith Black Mambazo (well known for their work with Paul Simon). Fish, from Marillion, sings as Crixus the Gaul. Jimmy Helms, the lead singer with Londonbeat ("London Nights") is Isoricus the Cicilian Pirate. The role of Spartacus is played by Alan King, leader of a band called Walk on Fire. Bill Fredericks, former lead singer of the Drifter(!), performs, as do two alumni from "War of the Worlds" -- Chris Thompson and Jo Partridge.
Inevitably, Jeff Wayne's work is compared to two other relevant works: first, his own "War of the Worlds"; and, second, the 1975 album "Spartacus" by German progressive-rock band Triumvirat.
How does Jeff Wayne sound in the 90s? Much of the music is obviously synthesized, and seems not as "full" as the orchestrated arrangements from WOTW. Two of the main "fight" sequences (in "Animal & Man" and "The Eagle & The Hawk") contain a mix of driving music and forceful narration that made WOTW so extraordinary, but there are also many weaker moments... especially the "hit single" from the album, "For All Time". Jones provides a competent vocal, but this sappy love song simply doesn't even hold a candle compared to Justin Hayward's "Forever Autumn".
On the other hand, the Triumvirat interpretation of the Spartacus saga was musically complete and compelling, if a little short on words.
The feeling of each stage in the saga was often -- but not always -- captured in Wayne's version and, at almost two hours long, is very difficult to listen to in just one sitting.
In fact, I've found that I've enjoyed Jeff Wayne's "Spartacus" more when I've used it as a background to some other activity, and listened at a distance, rather than focusing on the work itself. Perhaps at a distance, the shallowness of some of the songs doesn't stand out as much.
Through all of the critical comments about "Spartacus", one point kept nagging at me. "War of the Worlds" was truly a story of conquest (at least in the Wayne version, which presupposed a real Martian invasion).
There was truly something to rejoice about at the end when the humans killed off the Martian machines. In "Spartacus", however, the denouement has the wealthy multi-millionaire bloodily crushing the army of rebellion, restoring the powers-that-be to their self-proclaimed positions of grandeur. "Spartacus" makes this out to be a "good" (if not "happy") ending: "I, Marcus Crassus, broke him and I saved Rome. Today the triumphant shouts of the crowd are for me alone. The voices of Spartacus and all his followers are silenced -- forever!"

Depending on one's school of thought, this may not be a particularly pleasant ending, and Jeff Wayne's typically grandiose style doesn't seem to completely mesh with this very tragic, death-ridden event. Is it a fault of the music? Not really; instead, it's more the choice of subject matter.
When Triumvirat tackled Spartacus 17 years ago, they crafted a state-of- the-art synthesized production that didn't have much pretentiousness (at least not much more than did other bands of the day!). They captured the essence of the story in the music, and still produced an entertainint product.

In 1992, Jeff Wayne has truly created another masterwork in his interpreation of the Spartacus story. Even with all of the difficulties I've mentioned, "Spartacus" still is a very good album on all fronts. But be warned: it is definitely not of the same caliber as "War of the Worlds". With all of these disclaimers, and with reasonable expectations, it's still quite easy to give some very high marks to this album.