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Reviews > Queen Music Reviews > 11-26-1995 - Made in Heaven - The Sunday Times

A word of explanation: although Made in Heaven appears exactly four years after the death of Freddie Mercury, this album is an authentic band effort, built around recordings that Queen made in the last year of their singer's life, but which they postponed finishing for sentimental and other reasons. Nor, though there are a few cracks showing, does it sound like the work of a man who knew he was dying. Aside from the dark, bluesy inflection of Mother Love a track Mercury recorded only weeks before the end the mood here is upbeat and furiously triumphalist in the way that only Queen albums know how to be. In particular, the title track is a roller coaster of operatic vocals, spiralling guitars and abrupt changes of direction; I Was Born to Love You is likewise bursting at the seams with all those claustrophobically close harmony routines with which Mercury and guitarist Brian May sugar-coated the band's best-loved tunes. Vacuous lyrics, novelty effects and sonic bluster have their part to play here, too, of course, but by the rather routine standards of Queen's output up to and including 1991's Innuendo, this rates as a superior effort and a more-than-worthy epitaph to the great entertainer himself. RS WAGNER Rienzi Overture, Tristan and Isolde Prelude and Liebestod, Die Meistersinger Prelude, Siegfried Idyll, Parsifal Prelude, Lohengrin Prelude Act III The London Classical Players, cond Roger Norrington; soloist Jane Eaglen EMI 72435 5547927 Of all the 19th-century composers to whom Roger Norrington has turned his lively mind and his questioning attitude to accepted performing traditions, none emerges from the encounter more strangely but excitingly changed than Wagner. The music is approached with a comprehensive rethinking in which faster tempos are only one element. Certainly some will be startled, and perhaps shocked, by the 81 2-minute Meistersinger Prelude (Wagner's own timing for it, incidentally) and still more by the Tristan Prelude, for which Norrington recaptures the lost sense of two-in-the-bar and a (to me) thrilling wave-like surge appropriate to an opera so much of which is suffused with the rhythm of the sea. But it is at least as much the effect of the colour and style of the period instruments, irradiating the whole texture of the music, that makes this disc the immensely stimulating experience it is. Essential listening.