The reason this music holds up so well is that for a summer in 1972 Yes achieved a perfect confluence of talent, opportunity, and technique. Jon Anderson finally had the total vision he had strived for since starting the band: five of the best musicians in the rock world, tempered by touring and recording, and informed by all the influences each brought to the mix. Rick Wakeman was largely the movitativing force in the creation of the mature Yes sound, not because he was one of the two best keyboard players in England, but because he had an inborn feeling for structure, and what makes CTTE work, and keep on working is the stucture of the main piece and the two other pocket symphonies on the album.
Close to the Edge has been described as a Sonata, a musical form that introduces and then explores themes and variations, returning in the last movement to main theme. This structure gives the work a unity that eluded most of the other prog rock epics, including some of Yes's own.
Listening to Close to the Edge now, the craftsmanship is even more apparent to me than when I first heard it in 1972.Read more ›