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Richard Carpenter Conducts ‘Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’

The album features Carpenter’s new arrangements of the group’s timeless, original vocal and instrumental tracks.

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Richard Carpenter Carpenters Orchestral Album featured image web optimised 100
Photo: Carsten Windhorst

A&M/UMe have announced the 7 December release of Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The album combines the group’s original vocal and instrumental tracks from their 100-million-selling catalogue with new orchestral arrangements by Richard Carpenter, conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London. It’s available for pre-order now in digital, CD and 180-gram 2LP vinyl LP formats. It will be released in the vinyl format on 8 February.

Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra comes on the heels of the RPO’s album projects of recent years accompanying the catalogues of Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison and the Beach Boys. But the Carpenters’ album represents the first time that one of the artists who created the timeless original music has been closely involved in their new presentation. Carpenter serves as the producer, arranger and conductor on the album.

“I think that’s what makes it very special,” says Royal Philharmonic orchestral manager Ian Maclay, “the fact that it’s his music and he knows it and that he was there from the start. It’s not somebody else interpreting, which is what normally happens.”

From today (1), the fiirst two tracks, the new orchestral versions of ‘Yesterday Once More’ and ‘Merry Christmas, Darling,’ are available for streaming and immediate download with pre-orders of the digital album. On 16 November, the Carpenters’ version of The Beatles’ ‘Ticket To Ride’ will be available as the next taster for the album.

Carpenter and the RPO convened in Studio 2 at Abbey Road from 13-16 August 2018, the hallowed location that hosted legendary recording sessions by The Beatles, Pink Floyd and countless others. Richard’s new arrangements add to his original vocals and keyboards, Karen Carpenter’s vocals and drums, woodwinds by Bob Messenger and guitar by Tony Peluso.   

The recordings also feature such stellar guest musicians as Joe Osborn on bass, Hal Blaine on drums, Chuck Findlay on trumpet, Earle Dumler on oboe, Tommy Morgan on harmonica, Buddy Emmons on pedal steel and Tom Scott and Doug Strawn on saxophone.

Carpenter explains that the new album gave him the chance to expand on the original, vintage recordings. “‘Close to You’ called for a sparse string arrangement,” he says, explaining that he would have liked to have more players and a richer sound on the hit version. “In the second and third verses, it sounded a bit thin, because there are only ten violins playing it. Now, we’ve quadrupled that. So, anyone with the ear for it will hear it immediately. It’s the same line, but it’s richer, because there are so many more players.”

He adds: “There have been more than a few times when I have thought, ‘I wish I could have a second crack at that,’ and there were places where things could be augmented without overdoing it. That’s the trick.

“These refreshed tracks more than ever showcase Karen’s remarkable voice,” he concludes. “And that to me was reason number one for undertaking the project.”   

Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is released on 7 December. Scroll down to read the full tracklisting, and buy it here.

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Track listing:

OVERTURE

YESTERDAY ONCE MORE

HURTING EACH OTHER

I NEED TO BE IN LOVE

FOR ALL WE KNOW

TOUCH ME WHEN WE’RE DANCING

I BELIEVE YOU

I JUST FALL IN LOVE AGAIN

MERRY CHRISTMAS, DARLING

BABY IT’S YOU

(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU

SUPERSTAR

RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS

THIS MASQUERADE

TICKET TO RIDE

GOODBYE TO LOVE

TOP OF THE WORLD

WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Diane Sampson

    November 2, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Two amazingly talented people! I cannot wait to hear this!

  2. Greg Owen

    December 8, 2018 at 7:40 am

    This album is absolutely wonderful. It was an instant purchase as soon as I saw it. Thank you Richard and Karen

  3. Eric Stokholm

    December 13, 2018 at 12:53 am

    I preordered 2 of the discs and paid more than 50.00 dollars for them. I still have not received those w discs yet. Today is the 12th of December. Almost a week now. Where are they or I want my money back now. This site took my money and I received nothing. So disappointed. Will never prepay for anything ever again.

  4. Sue Marguerite

    December 14, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    I am listening to the album on Spotify and am confused …. the overture is absolutely gorgeous … but then the rest of the album is exactly the same as any other Carpenters album! I’m a huge fan but just don’t see much difference … what am I missing?

    • Alfredo

      December 26, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      Sue, there is definitely a difference, but it is often subtle. Karen’s vocals have all been remastered and cleaned because, as Richard stated, back then there was technical noise (and other issues with the recordings) that could not be helped. The sound of this album is fuller, stronger and above all, Karen’s vocals sound deeper than I have ever heard them sound before. Amazingly, even on vocal tracks that date back to the late 60’s and early 70’s, she sounds as if she had recorded them yesterday. On some songs, Richard removed the overused reverb that was typical of the era, helping Karen’s voice sound more natural and richer. Granted, I am a musician so I will hear things some people will not, but the overall sound of the songs on this album is, even in comparison to the 2000’s remastered albums, far above in quality. If you own other Carpenter’s CD’s, play some of the songs back and forth between those and the new ones. I guarantee you that you’ll hear the difference…and may not want to go back to the older albums… Also, some new arrangements were added to enhance (rather than take away from) the experience. Older songs, like ‘Ticket to Ride’ and ‘Masquerade’ sound greatly improved, but the additions are more evident in songs like’ We’ve Only Just Begun’ and the addition of strings and a gorgeous acoustic guitar in ‘Superstar’ as well. Listen carefully to that song and you’ll hear the guitar. There is a lot to be heard in this album but the beauty of it is that Richard’s intention was not to hit us over the head with it, something I am grateful for. The subtle changes make a huge difference, without taking away from the original material. Not easy to do, but he pulled it off delightfully.

  5. Steve Simmonds

    March 27, 2019 at 9:01 am

    Hi
    Will they tour with this music?

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