Listening booth — Emerson, Lake & Palmer, “Toccata”
I don’t know about you, but there are certain songs and albums that I always associate with particular seasons. One of those albums is Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s progressive rock masterpiece Brain Salad Surgery. On a gloomy, chilly October day like today in New Jersey my mind often drifts to the gloomy imagery and sounds of the album.
While most fans would probably point to the 30-minute “Karn Evil 9” suite as the high point of the album, I tend to go for “Toccata,” the group’s adaptation of the Fourth Movement of Alberto Ginastera’s 1st Piano Concert. It’s a muscular and moody instrumental workout, the type that ELP excelled at in their prime. It’s also one of their best classical music interpretations.
Keith Emerson steals the show with his ridiculous arrangement and keyboards, but Carl Palmer matches him step for step on one of the very first recordings of a drum synthesizer.