Townshend has always been a master craftsman, so his songs are able to carry the weight of instrumentation, and Fuller's arrangements are sensitive and loyal to the original music throughout. They prove that it is possible to turn Quadrophenia into a classical work . . .
Pete Townshend reaches grandiose heights . . . ["Love Reign O'er Me"]: British tenor Alfie Boe channels the explosive angst of Roger Daltrey -- but with an operatic twist. The singer is joined by the London Oriana Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as the latter builds circling strings, marching snares and dramatic brass into huge crescendos.
Townshend says that he never thought he'd hear a classical tenor singing his songs and for them to work so well. The fact that they do sound so good is partly down to Alfie's majestic voice but also to the outstanding orchestration by Rachel Fuller. The score sits so well with the original music that you almost can't believe it's taken 40 years to happen . . . [I can happily report that the album is] thrilling to listen to! . . . The album is totally the Alfie Boe show . . . I thoroughly recommend this album -- right from the outset, it reaches out and grabs your attention and holds it all the way through . . . all of it is sublime.
The new arrangements explore the majesty of the melodies, ranging from gentle beauty to the symphonic equivalent of speaker-busting raw power . . . Townshend himself roars through "The Punk and the Godfather", and there are some lovely curveballs, with massed choirs on "5.15" and "Bell Boy". Boe's "Love Reign O'er Me" is something of a tour de force, all tinkling pianos and kettle drums as roaring thunder.
. . . the Who's epic Mod opera as played by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra retains the majesty and power of the original . . . it ebbs and flows like the sea that plays such a big part in the story . . . A triumph.
. . . this grandiose take on the Who's dark masterpiece is more compelling than precedent might suggest . . . With no rock instruments, the pulsing strings and orchestral percussion whip up the mood of breathless urgency . . . [Alfie Boe] sounds half rock-god, half heldentenor. He is technically superior to the original's Roger Daltrey . . . The barnstorming closer, "Love Reign O'er Me", as choir, fiddlers, brass and Boe go for broke, will raise many a concert hall roof.
. . . Boe copes well: just as strident and spirited as Roger Daltrey when necessary, he also brings a more thoughtful, introspective manner which pays dividends in the later, contemplative stages . . . [the success of this production is due to] the oceanic tone-poems "The Rock" and ''Quadrophenia" itself, to which Fuller has added intriguing Iberian flavours.
. . . a triumph . . . listen with open ears to a complete reimagining, with Boe's clipped but weighty operatic tones replacing Roger Daltrey's . . . If "Quadrophenia" was the Who album that brought a tear to your eye, prepare to be moved by it all over again.
. . . a passionate and dramatic tour de force . . . ["Quadrophenia" is a classic opera.] But it's even more than that: It's beautiful, passionate, gutsy, loud and expressive music.
. . . the reworking retains all the majesty and power of the original without ever trying to compete with it. With its multiple recurring themes and a towering finale in "Love Reign O'er Me", Ouadrophenia lends itself perfectly to symphonic treatment.
The RPO's sweeping grandeur is perfect for the title track and "I Am the Sea" . . . [Alfie Boe's operatic roar is] well-suited to "Love Reign O'er Me" . . .
. . . the fable of Jimmy the Mod's fracturing reality continues to engage. With hints of Maurice Jarre on the title song and "Love Reign O'er Me" achieving full chest-beating catharsis, it suits its new symphonic frame.
. . . this new "Classic Quadrophenia" soars. The entire programme flows beautifully; the film's original star, Phil Daniels, reprises Keith Moon's cheeky vocal cameo on Bell Boy and Boe's stirring performance on "Love Reign O'er Me" brings the curtain down in style.
. . . this arrangement makes Townshend's youthful gropings toward symphonic form much clearer than The Who's original recording . . . ["Classic Quadrophenia"] confirms the durability of Pete Townshend's songs and concept; unlike most attempts to convert pop or film scores into symphonic lollapaloozas, this one repays repeated listening because the songs are of such high quality.
. . . Classic Quadrophenia is an intriguing mix of rock anthem, movie soundtrack, Broadway musical, opera and classical symphonic overture. Tenor Alfie Boe sings with a satisfying mix of operatic passion and rock star angst in the role of Jimmy, originally sung by Roger Daltrey. Boe makes the part his own, especially in the closing "Love Reign O'er Me" where his powerful expressive singing against the colourful choir washes, tinkling piano and thundering percussion transforms the rock anthem into an operatic showcase. Billy Idol as Ace Face sings with his trademark gruff presence; Phil Daniels is convincing in the part of Jimmy's dad; while Townshend as the Godfather makes satisfying . . . vocal and guitar appearances. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Robert Ziegler and the London Oriana Choir under Dominic Peckham perform with joyful conviction.