Pete Townshend’s New ‘Magnum Opus’ Will Begin With a Novel
Townshend hinted at his future plans during a recent interview with Barnes & Noble, saying "Celebrating 50 years of the Who also allows me to celebrate 52 years of life as a commercial songwriter (my first song, 'It Was You,' was published in early 1963). I am reviving my solo archive work, and continuing to commission folios of all my ‘operas.' I am writing new songs all the time. I have worked with Nate Barr on The Americans, and done a number of other collaborations. I am working on a magnum opus that will begin with the publication of a short novel in 2016."
But after running down that lengthy list, Townshend insists, "My main project as a regular guy is to slow down again, after a very busy and intense few years. I have done this a few times in the past, but I need it now more than ever: time to enjoy what I have, to be happy and relaxed."
Townshend also pulled back the curtain on the creation of Classic Quadrophenia, described as a "classical reinterpretation" of the 1973 Who LP. Although the process he describes is fairly painstaking, he also pointed out that the band's music may be uniquely suited to the orchestral treatment.
"Probably all music would sound wonderful played by a good orchestra," mused Townshend. "But there are a number of reasons why Who music lends itself. Keith Moon’s style of drumming was almost orchestral, more about decoration, flourishes and celebration than just keeping a beat. Who bassist John Entwistle was classically trained on trumpet and French Horn, so his work — especially on the Who’s Quadrophenia — encompassed a complete set of brass instruments, and he made his own arrangements. By the time the Who came to record the original album, [Roger Daltrey’s] singing was probably at its peak, and he pulled all the stops to make the words come alive."
Classic Quadrophenia is scheduled to arrive on June 9. Townshend says a new version of "Love Rein O'er Me" "really shines in this context."
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