Soundtrack album of the Ken Russell film
featuring songs & performance by Roger Daltrey & Rick Wakeman
01. Rienzi/Chopsticks Fantasia (4:20) (Wagner/Liszt)
02. Love's Dream (4:25) (Liszt/Lyrics: Daltrey)
03. Dante Period (2:05) (Liszt)
04. Orpheus Song (3:10)(Liszt/Lyrics: Benson/Daltrey)
05. Hell (1:59) (Liszt/Translation: Forsythe)
06. Hibernation (1:11) (Wakeman)
07. Excelsior Song (2:32) (Liszt/Lyrics: Wakeman/Russell)
08. Master Race (0:45) (Wagner)
09. Rape, Pillage & Clap (3:09) (Wagner)
10. Funerailles (3:48) (Liszt/Lyrics: Benson)
11. Free Song (Hungarian Rhapsody) (1:57) (Liszt)
12. Peace At Last (2:59) (Liszt/Lyrics: Benson/Daltrey)
Total playing time: 32:12
Rick Wakeman: Keyboards
Roger Daltrey: Vocals (tracks 2,10,11)
Linda Lewis: Vocals (5)
Paul Nicholas: Vocals (7)
The English Rock Ensemble
The National Philharmonic Orchestra
David Wilde: Piano (Liszt music)
Music produced, arranged & adapted by Rick Wakeman
Executive producers: Brian Lane & Bill Curbishley
Recorded with the Island Mobile/Rak Mobile
Mixed at Island Studios & Olympic Studios, London
Art direction: Roland Young
Design: Junie Osaki
Written & directed by Ken Russell
Starring: Roger Daltrey, Sara Kestelman, Paul Nicholas & Fiona Lewis
Guest stars: Ringo Starr, Rick Wakeman
A GoodTimes Enterprises production
Warner Bros/A Warner Communications Company
Produced by David Puttnam & Roy Baird
No question about it, Franz Liszt (1811-1885) was one helluva guy. Though no-one (to our knowledge) ever called him Frankie, Liszt was a bona fide heart throb, a teen idol of the first magnitude - in fact, you might (and we will) describe Franz as The First Popster! He had young girls swarming all over him during his concert tours, which moved regularly from one end the other, & he was a performing star from the age 11 or 12, filling big halls & making the various European equivalents of big bucks, Franz, ever big-hearted, even did benefits. He had it all; hordes of female fans, piles of lucre, good looks, good times, and...
...Talent! Yup, Franz had the creative goods to back up all the flashiness. He was a heavy dude in the eyes of the critics & his fellow composers (like Richard Wagner, for instance); he had great chops on his axe, the (acoustic) piano- he played his slim little arse off. It's said, in fact, that to demonstrate his virtuosity, Franz used to play difficult piano pieces while at the same time enjoying a piece... uhm, while simultaneously engaging in sexual congress - evidently those double-header performances went over big at parties. Forget those dry, dreary history books you had to read in school - the 19th was a very hip century. And foxy Franz Liszt led the kind of life inhabitants of the 20th century can easily relate to, right?
Ken Russell is pretty hip, as 20th Centurians go, & he related so deeply Liszt's story that he decided to make a movie about it. And what better way to present the story of the 1st Popstar than to get a couple latter-day Popstars to act in the movie & to compose & perform its soundtrack music. Russell asked Roger Daltrey - who played the title role in Tommy, Russell's last movie- to play the part of Liszt. And he asked Rick Wakeman- himself a playful historian of some note (with albums, about King Arthur & King Henry VIII to his credit)- to play a more fanciful role, & to crank up his many synthesizers & keyboards in order to update & sci-fi the music of Liszt & Wagner. Ringo Starr, Russell decided, was just right for the part of the Pope. Ringo concurred rapidly & with typical Russell chutzpah, Lisztomania come together. And through the fanciful & flamboyant aspects of the film contribute greatly to its impact, it should be noted that for the most part, the film is historically accurate. Yes, friends, what we have here is a Real Movie about Real People - allegorical rather than literal, obviously, but based firmly on documented historical evidence. (Biography of source material on request.)
In the latter part of Lisztomania, Russell takes a quantum leap in allegory, resulting in the film's least linear & most pointedly overpowering sequences. And the Wakeman - Soundtrack leaps right along with it. But no matter how streamlined & futuristic the music on this soundtrack album sounds, every note of it is based on the compositions of FL & RW. It ain't Bach, but it's certainly Switched-On.
So what Russell, Rick, Roger & Ringo have done is to grandly bring together the full flash, freakiness, flourish, & fanfaronade of the 2 parallel epochs separated by so many years. Lisztomania, indeed. Like Liszt's party trick, it's no little feat.
(P) © 1975 A&M Records Inc.