George Michael new album previewed
2:45pm Tuesday 4th March 2014 in © Press Association 2014
George Michael's new album has been given its first public airing.
Symphonica, the pop star's first album in seven years, is a collection of recordings from the singer's 2011-12 orchestral concert tour.
The album features 17 songs, including Through, which was written by the ex Wham! star, and covers of the likes of Sting's Roxanne and Terence Trent D'Arby's Let Her Down Easy.
George, who has been out of the spotlight since falling out of a car on the M1 motorway last year, was not at the playback at a Mayfair gallery, where images of his tour are on display.
The album, which was two years in the making, is the final work from the late Phil Ramone, who co-produced the record.
They transferred the best performances from George's Symphonica tour into the studio for the record.
The tour was interrupted when George was struck down with pneumonia in Vienna, but he fought back to perform again.
Speaking at the playback, the album's executive producer David Austin said: "George contracted pneumonia and when he came back and did that run of shows... we ended up getting the whole album from maybe just those three nights... there was that energy."
George is also working on a new studio album, according to Universal Music UK boss David Joseph.
He told MusicWeek: "Right now his absolute compete attention and focus is ... on that next studio record.
"I've heard bits and pieces... it is stunning. It is brilliant. There is one song in particular that I've heard that is beyond exceptional."
He added: "I think the global anticipation for a totally new collection is going to be enormous. Whether that's 10, 11 or 12 years after the last one, I don't really mind, because I know he won't even entertain the thought of release until it's perfect."