Michael Kamen’s Concerto for Eric Clapton

 

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This past Monday, April 15th, would’ve been Michael Kamen’s 65th birthday if he’d still been with us.  Well, he’s still with me.  Last night I went for a long walk down the streets of LA and I put on one of my all-time favorite pieces of music.  A piece that is so good, it’s almost sacred.  This is the holy grail of concertos, Michael Kamen’s Concerto for Electric Guitar, which he wrote for Eric Clapton in 1990 and performed live on their 24 Nights tour with the National Philharmonic Orchestra.  

Tragically, before they could record it in a studio, Clapton’s 4 year old boy Conor fell to his death from the window of a 53rd floor suite he was staying at in New York.  Clapton put his electric guitar away and only sang the blues after that.  And they never recorded the concerto properly in a studio.

In September 2003, just a couple of months before Michael passed away, I spoke with him on the phone, and he said they were going to get back together, he and Eric, and finally record the concerto properly (Michael had done a great but different recording with Japanese guitarist, Hotei, and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in 1997). The world lost Michael too soon.  Way too soon.  His unique musical voice was a gift that only a handful of Hollywood composers possess.  

To me, the Concerto for Electric Guitar, as performed by Eric Clapton in this live recording, the final night of the tour, is on par with Beethoven’s 3rd, or 9th.  It’s on par with Rachmaninoff’s 3rd.   And I don’t say this lightly.  This is one of THE GREATEST pieces of music ever written.  The emotional arc contained within the journey of these three movements is so powerful and deep that I hope you will only listen to it actively (not as background music while you’re checking facebook).  Put this on your ipod and take a walk in the city, or blast it at home in a dark room where your senses are only tuned in to your ears and heart. Or take it with you to the gym and see how you feel when you go on that run.  It is an emotional journey to bliss!  This is Michael Kamen’s greatest achievement, and I want to share this very rare recording with everyone in the world. 

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8 thoughts on “Michael Kamen’s Concerto for Eric Clapton

  1. Very much agree… imported the Kamen&Hotei CD from Japan. First heard it as accompaniment for an ice skater, Takahiko Kazuka, during the Olympics and went on a mission to find a copy. Has provided much enjoyment since.

  2. Thank you thank you thank you! I have been searching for this music for years! First heard it on the radio in the UK one Saturday evening as you say as part of the 24 nights tour and I was spellbound. It was and is the most beautiful music I have ever heard and Eric Clapton the perfect guitarist to play it. At the time I recorded it on a cassette recorder and I still have the cassette but nothing to play it on anymore. I was always worried the tape would break and I would lose it so only played it very occasionally. Very precious thanks again.

  3. I too had been searching for a recording of this concerto but had given up in exasperation. I had also heard it live on BBC Radio from the Albert Hall as part of Eric Clapton’s 24 nigbts tour. I too made a tape of it & almost wore it out playing it repeatedly. It did not transpose well onto a cd. Hence my search for another recording. I have just been watching a repeat of Edge Of Darkness & heard Clapton’s fantastic music. The credits reminded me of Michael Kamen so I decided to Google Eric Clapton & Michael Kamen. Idiscovered your tribute to two great muscians. I have just listened to the first
    t movement again after all these years. I was filled with such emotion. It is truly an outstanding piece of music. So thankyou so very much for aloowing me to listen

  4. I too had been searching for a recording of this concerto but had given up in exasperation. I had also heard it live on BBC Radio from the Albert Hall as part of Eric Clapton’s 24 nigbts tour. I too made a tape of it & almost wore it out playing it repeatedly. It did not transpose well onto a cd. Hence my search for another recording. I have just been watching a repeat of Edge Of Darkness & heard Clapton’s fantastic music. The credits reminded me of Michael Kamen so I decided to Google Eric Clapton & Michael Kamen. Idiscovered your tribute to two great muscians. I have just listened to the first
    t movement again after all these years. I was filled with such emotion. It is t ruly an outstanding piece of music. So thankyou so very much for aloowing me to listen

  5. Thank you so very much for the opportunity to listen to this wonderful piece of music again. Sorry about the duplication of message I was so excited that I got carried away. I went to sleep with that music in my head. !!!!! Thank you again.

    Jane B

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