The DVD was filmed in 2001 with the New Japan Philharmonic, conducted by Taizo Takemoto. It was initially released overseas only, and North American fans have eagerly awaited its arrival here. Malmsteen has only performed his concerto suite live with an orchestra seven times. An interview with Malmsteen is included as a special bonus feature.
The 18 tracks on Concerto Suite For Electric Guitar And Orchestra are: "Black Star Overture," "Trilogy Suite Op. 5," "Brothers," "Icarus Dream Fanfare," "Cavallino Rampante," "Fugue," "Prelude To April," "Toccata," "Andante," "Sarabande," "Allegro," "Adagio," "Vivace," "Presto Vivace," "Finale," "Blitzkrieg," "Far Beyond The Sun" and "Evil Eye."
Malmsteen also touches upon his previous Rising Force work on the DVD, particularly at the beginning and during the encores.
Malmsteen, a guitar genius, has been a major force in music for more than two decades, and he regards this concerto suite as his greatest creative achievement thus far. A native of Sweden, he composed this concerto specifically for an orchestra with the electric guitar as the lead instrument. Therefore, it is a true work of classical music.
"This was a huge, huge undertaking. I composed this concerto from the ground up. It took about two years total to compose, but there were interruptions when I was touring and making rock albums," Malmsteen says. "The guidelines it was composed within were very orthodox. I drew heavily from my classical influences such as Johann Sebastian Bach, his son Carl Philip Emanuel Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Antonio Vivaldi, Nicolo Paganini, George Handel and Peter Tchaikovsky.
"The classical world is a completely different planet from the rock world. But I was welcomed with open arms by the orchestra musicians. I walked into their world, they didn't walk into mine. Once I worked with them they were very impressed and I gained their acceptance."
Malmsteen believes he was embraced by the classical world in part because his new material was a breath of fresh air.
"The classical realm is dying because nobody cares about new classical composers. My concerto suite was an injection of something new," Malmsteen says.
Malmsteen started writing the concerto suite in the late 1990s and he first went to Prague, Czech Republic, to record the Czech Philharmonic performing it. He added his electric guitar parts later at his own home studio. Spitfire Records, a division of Eagle Rock Entertainment, released this CD recording, 'Concerto Suite For Electric Guitar And Orchestra In E Flat Minor Op. 1,' in 2000. As proud as he is of that recording, he says this live DVD has an added surge of energy and is "more dangerous."
"I'm completely stunned that the DVD came out as great as it did. There was some greater power watching over us. It was a huge challenge," says Malmsteen. "We only had about a half day's rehearsal and were supposed to film for two nights but only did one night. I also did all my playing by memory without the score in front of me. Maybe the crazy circumstances made it better."