Toccata (7:20)

Cover of Brain Salad Surgery

From Brain Salad Surgery and 20 other releases

The progressive rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer brought Ginastera attention outside of modern classical music circles when they adapted the fourth movement of his first piano concerto and recorded it on their popular album Brain Salad Surgery under the title “Toccata”. They recorded the piece not only with Ginastera’s permission, but with his endorsement. In 1973, when they were recording the album, Keith Emerson met with Ginastera at his home in Switzerland and played a recording of his arrangement for him. Ginastera is reported to have said, “Diabolical!”. Emerson misunderstood Ginastera’s meaning: Ginastera spoke almost no English and meant that their interpretation was frightening, which had been his intent when he wrote it; Emerson, being British, took it to mean “awful”. Emerson was so upset that he was prepared to scrap the piece until Ginastera’s wife intervened saying that he approved. Ginastera later said, “You have captured the essence of my music, and no one’s ever done that before.” This experience is detailed in the liner notes to Brain Salad Surgery. Emerson would later go on to release an adaptation of one of the pieces from Ginastera’s Suite de Danzas Criollas entitled “Creole Dance”. “Toccata” also gained fame as the theme to the New England cult TV show Creature Double Feature.


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  • grandfunk49

    Planet of the Apes. somewhat.

    22 Jun 2014 Reply
  • CosmicYage

    Toccam pra caralho hein

    5 Jun 2014 Reply
  • RockCityMadman

    Now this is real music.

    27 Oct 2013 Reply
  • pingywings

    this is so sick

    6 Jul 2013 Reply
  • blueguitar411

    dork heaven

    30 May 2013 Reply
  • RockCityMadman

    This one has probably made a few punks sneer back in the day.

    8 Jan 2013 Reply
  • renardeargent

    my mum's all-time favourite band - pioneering and brilliant..

    14 Dec 2012 Reply
  • bossmark1

    This is Groovy

    23 Jul 2012 Reply
  • Eye_Gore

    Synthesizing mastery at its best. Bless Carl with his electric drums and one hell of a solo.

    13 Jul 2012 Reply
  • BatooqSupersoul


    17 May 2012 Reply
  • richardneal

    As far as sheer ambition, musicianship & imaginative interpretation, few mortals have touched this. And few ever will.

    4 May 2012 Reply
  • richardneal

    "Diabolical!" - Ginastera.

    4 May 2012 Reply
  • Karnevil9elp

    Why is ELP or actually any Progressive Band in the Rock Hall of Fame! Basically, they can have RAP and other music, but the Hall is Prejudice against real musicians who play Progressive Music

    24 Apr 2012 Reply
  • Discrowned

    Trying to pick up the pieces of my scrambled brain thanks to this!

    28 Feb 2012 Reply
  • ZootCatchy

    looooooooveeeeee you Carl Palmer and your electric drum kit solo in this one!

    22 Feb 2012 Reply
  • wycedriver

    Some would argue that this is an example of excessive noise/wierdness. Others (such as myself) would state that this is an alternative interpretation of a non traditional classical composition, and rather well done at that. I too saw Carl Palmer play the flying drum kit during the '77 Works tour, Keith Emerson "flipping" his Hammond B3 Console (450 pounds), AND an 84 piece orchestra.

    27 Jan 2012 Reply
  • kabgab


    29 Nov 2011 Reply
  • toffea

    Everybody is pretentious . Being an inspired musician is another kind of affair.

    7 Nov 2011 Reply
  • MusicMagic77

    It's an Alberto Ginastera cover. (Adaptation of Ginastera's 1st piano Concerto, 4th movement)

    5 Nov 2011 Reply
  • kres8

    so few went so far

    4 Nov 2011 Reply
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