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Team Gee gets classical

Team Gee gets classical

The concept album, The Requiem For Titanic is co-composed with Gibb's son Robin-John (RJ) and is the legendary singersongwriter's first body of new material in seven years.

Recorded with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, it is set to complete next month at Air Studios in North London. Through the medium of music, the record tells the story of the illfated passenger liner from its launch to its sinking with the loss of 1,517 lives in 1912.

Described as radio friendly in parts, vocals are provided by the RSVP Voices choir and, while soloists are yet to be confirmed, tracks will feature Sony-signed tenor Marios Frangoulis and Gibb on another, Don't Cry Alone. Gibb told Music Week a deal is imminent for the album, which celebrates and recounts the "double shock" of the unsinkable ship sinking while commemorating the loss of life.

Gibb said, "Things are made important by recognising them. It was obviously a traumatic occasion - it was the equivalent of 15 Lockerbies in one - but people on their own wouldn't recognise them, they have to be motivated and educated but it has to be done in a way which is enlightening.""We're trying to tell the story via the music rather than the images, trying to create music which will live on, without gimmicks or 'prestigism.' It's not a rock opera, it's done very traditionally, like Mozart would compose it in the 1700s - there's no back beats."

Gibb said he would like to see the requiem performed at the Royal Albert Hall around the anniversary of the sinking, as well as in international settings, including New York, LA and Moscow. Moreover, he hopes this will be the first in a series of classical albums marking the anniversary of various events, including the forthcoming 100 year anniversary of the start of the First World War in 2014.

The album has been more than 12 months in the making, with work beginning in May last year, when the pair - neither traditionally classically trained in writing music - met with RPO managing director Ian Maclay.

They would write the music at their home studio in Thame, Oxfordshire, where they were joined by arranger Cliff Masterson who would translate it for the orchestra.

RJ Gibb, who is as much as a history buff as his father, said, "It's emotional, we have tried to put ourselves into the events. When (the musicians) started to hear snippets theywere so excited to hear something so fresh. We have some which are baroque style, some from the romantic period, there's a lot of different styles and some are quite crossover and radio friendly."

Gibb said, "It was a celebration at first because it was iconic what (the Titantic) represented, because man seems to have defeated nature in a way, it represented there was nothing man couldn't do with nature. When they called it unsinkable it was unique as there was nothing this country couldn't achieve and on its

maiden voyage it went down, which was uncanny."

RJ added: "The way we have done the requiem, it's like a commemoration: we start with the launch and the celebratory moments and then the mid-voyage and then it goes into the accident and remembering the souls afterwards. The centenary comes around only once. The objective is to make a beautiful piece of music but we remember it is a memorial, a requiem, for these people so we have kept the respect and the tradition as well as try to make something compatible to today's ears."

This is the first music recorded jointly by father and son to see release. Speaking about recording together RJ said, "There is no conflict, we are on the same wave length. The objective is to make a beautiful piece of music, built to last." Gibb Snr. added, "Along with my brother Barry we have worked with classical musicians all our lives so it's not new. Working with RJ, composing is about having fun. There's no egos, it's not a family thing, there's just certain people you can work with."

Completion of the record heralds the start of an active period of promotion for the artist who, with his brothers, has amassed more than 100m record sales. Gibb will sing the lead vocal on The Soldiers' cover of Bee Gee former number one I've Gotta Get A Message To You this autumn.

He has also filmed a programme for the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? series in October while a major Christmas TV show is in negotiation.

Gibb asserted there would be some "very big" Bee Gees news in coming months for 2012 adding, "You don't get ideas to schedule, but yes I am tremendously excited about the future. When you have got one of the most successful catalogues in the world today, with (Gibb brother) Barry, you get excited, but get to cherry pick!"

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