The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Queen’s Rhapsody: The Hits Of Queen

Kurt B. Reighley

By Kurt B. Reighley

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Considering their trademark subtlety — the demure stage presence, modest costuming and hushed vocals of singer Freddy Mercury, guitarist Brian May's restrained solos — Queen seem an unlikely choice to get the symphonic pops treatment. Undaunted, the London-based Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which has gained dubious international fame for its best-selling Hooked on Classics series, tackle a dozen numbers from the pomp-rockers 'extensively platinum-plated catalogue, embellishing the selections with strings, brass and a chorus seemingly weaned exclusively on ABBA albums. A few cuts yield cheesy fun: the swooping "Kind of Magic" should appeal to Erasure and Take That fans; "Radio Ga Ga" swirls and eddies like a disco classic; and "Flash" suggests John Williams (Star Wars, Close Encounters) trying his hand at something from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Then again, what is there to add to "Bohemian Rhapsody" that Wayne's World didn't already?