I put sad faces but they didn’t show up.
He may not have in the past due to technology limitations, however the RPO album seems to be comparable in production to “Christmas Portrait”, “Christmas Portrait Special Edition” and to a lesser extent, “An Old-Fashioned Christmas”. With CP & CPSE, both albums play like a symphony, where the music flows into each track, rather than an album of just one track after another (AOFC seemed to have short snippets reminiscent of CP, but it was also divided) and a pause between tracks. Same with RPO.But, Richard said in the past he doesn't even like live concert albums.
Very rarely did he feature live recordings on compilations.
So, it comes across as another update or cleanup of their songs.
It clearly isn't a studio album though as these are not 'new' songs (and many of them are little different from their original versions). Strictly speaking, it may not be a straight compliation either, but I'd never classify it as another studio album. That's like saying The Singles 1969-1973 should be considered a studio album because it has a couple of segues, a mini-overture at the start and a couple of re-recordings, and I don't think anyone would claim that that was the case.He may not have in the past due to technology limitations, however the RPO album seems to be comparable in production to “Christmas Portrait”, “Christmas Portrait Special Edition” and to a lesser extent, “An Old-Fashioned Christmas”. With CP & CPSE, both albums play like a symphony, where the music flows into each track, rather than an album of just one track after another (AOFC seemed to have short snippets reminiscent of CP, but it was also divided) and a pause between tracks. Same with RPO.
Also, according to the Copyright information, Universal considers the RPO album a Studio album, and not another compilation if remixes.
On second thought, there's truth to this idea.It's a phenomenon I've noticed many times.... the "first" version of something you hear turns out to be your favorite. There are a lot of Beatles tunes that were recorded by A&M artists and without fail, the version I prefer is the one I heard first. I suppose the same thing is true with the Carpenters albums -- if you'd heard the RPO version first, the originals would sound lifeless. If you hear the originals first, the RPO's sound fussed-over and overproduced. So it goes.
I can assure you those are real strings. Perhaps it sounds synthesized because those 16th notes are marked "marcato", causing the strings to dig in. It also seems they're more out front in the mix. As for adding ideas after leaving the UK, Richard did exactly that with a pickup date at Capitol Records. I can't remember if Baby, It's You was one of the songs that was modified in that session, but the score contained those figures in London.Forgive me if this had already been discussed...but does anyone else wonder why the choice was made to use the blatantly synthesized string figures in the middle of “Baby It’s You?” Do we know if this was another example of something he decided to add after he had already left the UK and it was too late to have the figures recorded by the orchestra? Don’t get me wrong, I love the musical idea. It’s quite dramatic. I’m just wondering why not use real strings, since he was there with the orchestra anyway.
i too didnt care for the choir but overall happy with it..still a country album should come out.. remade.collectionI can't work out how to place the 'spoiler' tag here, so I'm just saying that, seeing as the new album hasn't been released in most parts of the world yet, if you don't want to know details of 'Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra', look away now!
You may want to wait to listen to the album yourself before you read this. This is a blow-by-blow description of the first eleven tracks. I guess you'd rather wait to hear the actual music than read about the sounds on the album.
I should also say that I am listening to the album on very basic sound equipment. Somebody listening on the latest high-tech equipment will have a different experience.
The first few seconds of the Overture that opens the album took my back to 1976. The first couple of passages sound like they're taken from the Overture on Carpenters' Very First Special, but then the music changes.
I like the snippet of 'Someday', leading into "Hurting Each Other", is nice. The OK Chorale-type 'Woo-hoo' a bit later in the intro is maybe not so necessary. The drums on this track are more prominent and Karen's vocal, going into the chorus, doesn't sound as 'sweetened' as on early mixes. Upon her first, "Without ever knowing why?" you can hear her tongue touching her lips. Maybe this little section is from a different take from what is usually appears, but almost all of the vocal, if not all, is what has always appeared. The strings sound very much like re-recordings of the original arrangements - at least, in parts of the song. In this mix, you have a sense of more defined stops, if only for a second at a time. There's a slight slowing down or pause in the vocals in the last chorus. And a sudden stop, similar to the way the song was ended in concert in Australia in 1972.
As I listen to this album, I'm getting the feeling of being at a current-day concert with the songs being performed as faithfully as possible, but with a few embellishments and with a clearly defined, modern-day orchestra behind Karen and Richard.
Going into 'I Need to Be In Love', there's a very hushed section, which I like. The piano is quite prominent at the beginning of the song, and it doesn't exactly sound acoustic. There's a faithful reproduction of Gayle Levant's original harp part. Drums throughout are the most noticeable difference - quite loud. Karen's vocals on the the choruses sound harder...not as echoey or gauzey as on previous mixes. The oboe at the end of this great song is nice and the piano ending is just slightly more elaborate, as in it has an extra little trill.
Notice that I'm not talking much about the actual involvement of the orchestra. The parts are very subtle and, upon first listen, I'm not hearing them too much. In fact, I think that Richard has largely used his arrangements / charts from the original recordings, with just a few extra flourishes or passages here and there.
I really like the acoustic-sounding snippet of guitar at the beginning of 'For All We Know', then the famous oboe sound. Beautiful. Flute comes in during the second verse. It's different to hear acoustic guitar on Carpenters recordings. Yes, we heard it on 'At the End of a Song', 'Honolulu City Lights' and some others, but it suits 'For All We Know' really well, in that intro. Can you imagine that?
So far throughout the album, the lead vocals and backgrounds have sounded very much as on the original releases. Someone with better equipment would definitely pick up their definition much better.
The additions / changes to 'Touch Me When We're Dancing' are super-subtle. I wondered if there might be a bit more guitar and in fact it does sound a bit more pronounced...maybe re-recorded...in the second verse. That's a really nice sound. The synth part after 'Play us a groove so we hardly move' sounds more pronounced. It's during this song that I first noticed quite major differences with the vocals, but only with the backgrounds. It sounds as if the 'Carpettes' from 'Made in America', (Julia and Maxine, etc.), might have been erased!! They must have fallen out of favour! It sounds very much to me, upon very first listen, that only Karen and Richard are in the background. It makes for a nice change!
On 'I Believe You', I have always loved the flute. That's quite prominent upon this mix. That's really nice! The background vocals are mixed differently. The second verse, "I Believe you when you tell me every time we make love will be the first time" is definitely a different take, with different phrasing and pauses for breathe, while the very first verse is almost certainly the same take as always. The orchestra behind and flute sounds nice! The background vocals are very much more prominent than on previous pressings, and are probably actually mixed differently. There is a change of lead vocal just before the drum break. The drums are the original drums, by the way. There is a sense of snippets of different takes being punched in and out, rather than the complete version being a different vocal. The flugelhorn after the drum break is just a bit overpowering, maybe. It sounds a bit like a fox-hunt..or at least a Greek God on Mount Olympus blowing a conch to herald heavier lovin' action. That's the first bit that's sounded just a bit out of place. There are music-box lullaby-type keyboards towards the end, which is nice.
There is a nice 1978 Carpenters-style piano and oboe / flute, (not sure of my instruments here), introducing 'I Just Fall In Love Again'. The piano part is different. Karen's vocals are very much at the front. There is lots of orchestra coming in just before the first chorus. This mix sounds quite 1950s blue-birds, soft clouds and Valentines, but I think the song was always meant to sound that way, and I like that. The drums are the original recording - at least, in some sections. Oh-oh, there's a choir coming in during the second chorus. Don't worry, it didn't steam, stayed very much in the background and then left the party. There's the original fuzz-guitar solo, thank goodness. The vocal sounds different, but I think that's only because it's so much at the fore-front. It is slightly possible that parts of Karen's lead are a different take....but I don't think so. Well, on "I Just Fall in Love Again", the orchestra definitely makes its present felt more, but so do Karen in her vocals and Richard on piano.
The orchestra over the piano introduction to "Baby It's You" sounds good. There's some nice harp in there. Sections of the oboe part at the beginning of the song are from the original arrangement, but with a couple more flourishes. Dramatic string work emphasises Karen's exclamation, "They say you've never, ever been true!" The original sax sounds in all its glory. The vocals sound very much the same as always.
The beginning of 'Close to You' sounds very much the same. Bass and drums coming in very prominently when they begin. The main change in the first half of this, Carpenters' very first hit, is mainly in the bass and drums department. Original trumpet part. Well, how could you change that? Karen's angelic "Ah-ah-ah" just after the trumpet break sounds different. Mixed differently, perhaps? The 'Wa-ah-ah-ah-ahhhh' at the end of the song are mixed differently, or might have some parts of different takes in there. The song finishes the way Carpenters used to end it in concert around '74.
And straight into 'Superstar'. The introduction is virtually the same arrangement as the original. Some more prominent guitar...in fact some prominent acoustic guitar. Nice! Also, some 1971-Richard-on-electric-piano sounds. Equally as nice! Couldn't do without them! The orchestra is very strong on this song, but probably using a very similar arrangement to what was used in 1970s concerts by Carpenters, when they had orchestra backing them. The whole effect, with Karen's longing, insistently vocals, definitely adds a sense of drama - if you ever could add drama to the brilliant original! I like and the harp, slowing to a halt at the end, gives the sense of...dot..dot..dot..., that you have at the end of stories when you're left to ponder over what might have happened.
'Rainy Days and Mondays' includes a mist-storm of strings, to add pathos to Karen's dark but warm reading. Yes, there are changes to the piano parts and drums, but the alterations are very much in keeping with the mood of the original. Richard is really hitting his stride here, with 'Superstar' and 'Rainy Days and Mondays'. Karen is given space just before the instrumental break, so that the note that she holds, '...always get me down....' sounds different and more angst-filled.
All-in-all, 'Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra' will seem like a new listening experience for the long-term fans, without turning them off with stark changes. I very much got a mental picture of attending a concert with Karen and Richard appearing as holograms, mainly using the original vocals and backgrounds, but with some new rhythm parts, sections for other instruments and an orchestra behind them, playing partly original arrangements, but embellished with new sections of arrangement. I look forward to listening to this album many more times and better-noticing all the changes and additions.
Sorry that I haven't had time to answer anybody's questions. I have to rush to work now!! I haven't even got time to re-read this, or finish listening to the songs!
Thanks for the explanation. To my ears....and to be clear I am talking about the string figures played between the lines “you should hear what they say about you..” and “cheatin’”....these sound electronic. But you are the expert and I was not there, so I appreciate your clarification John.I can assure you those are real strings. Perhaps it sounds synthesized because those 16th notes are marked "marcato", causing the strings to dig in. It also seems they're more out front in the mix. As for adding ideas after leaving the UK, Richard did exactly that with a pickup date at Capitol Records. I can't remember if Baby, It's You was one of the songs that was modified in that session, but the score contained those figures in London.
Maybe we'll need to remind the string players next time not to sound so synthesized.
The sampled strings that sound the most real are the short attack, or marcato samples. Basically, they sound so real that it's easy to mistake real strings for samples.Thanks for the explanation. To my ears....and to be clear I am talking about the string figures played between the lines “you should hear what they say about you..” and “cheatin’”....these sound electronic. But you are the expert and I was not there, so I appreciate your clarification John.
I'm curious as to what state you live in? I'm in NY(well 30 minutes north of New York City) and I have a Target 5 minutes away from me but I have no idea if the stock they have is old or new like the disc you bought. I really would like to have the physical disc even though I have the download.Been lurking for a while, finally registered so I could post. I've had the iTunes version for a while now and decided to pick the CD up at Target today. Much to my surprise, the CD has the correct mixes and is identical to the iTunes download, just with the added bonus track. It appears Universal has corrected the cds with the current printing. Of course I don't believe there's any way to tell if the CD is the correct version or not, but they are out there.
Interesting. On the updated files, that part is filled with wind-chimes. Those wind-chimes are NOT present on the old standard RPO CD or the old standard Target RPO CD. I also hear a scratchy-staticky sound under Karen's vocal at that point. Another difference!Regarding: This Masquerade, as presented on the RPO.
I am unable to listen to it. There is a noise, from about 56 sec to 60 sec,
that sounds like a train putting on its brakes, screeching on the tracks.
Am I the only person who hears that sound ?
Other than that, I love the song.