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Rigoni & Schoenherz - Victor CD (album) cover

VICTOR

Rigoni & Schoenherz

 

Crossover Prog

3.33 | 15 ratings

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GruvanDahlman
5 stars Sometimes it just so happens that you stumble cross an album that you simply know must be good. An album you feel from the get go, although you know nothing about it. Most albums I acquire are known to me in one way or another. This stunning album wasn't and by the looks of it I am not alone in my ignorance. I seems to be rather forgotten, squatting in the dark corners of prog.

When I first laid eyes on the album I was struck and fascinated by the cover. Such a beautiful one. I had just finished Reading "1984" (again) and by some strange coincidence the cover seemed to recall the world which Orwell depicted in words. This was obviously just a feeling of mine, emanating from my most vivid imagination. Anyway... When I saw this wonderful piece of cover art I knew and I felt deep down in the very fibres of my soul (if there are any) that this is an album of overwhelming quaities and depth. I knew it. I felt it. And you know what, that deep sense of wonder was true. I had struck gold. I truly had

The album is centered around Victor, a young boy growing up at a circus that's seen better days. The father wants Victor to abide to his fate and become a clown, while Victor himself wants something else out of life. It may all sound a bit thin for a story but it really isn't. It is on the contrary quite intriguing, especially if you consider the true subject of the album, the pursuit of happiness and the meaning of life. What is it all about? Should one bow down to the wants and needs of ones elders or do we owe it to ourselves to find our own way? It is all a question of progress, I suppose. If all of us always did what our elders want, where would we be? Would we still be cooped up in lowly holes in the ground, raiding the surrouning countryside for carcasses dressed only in the suit of our own hide? I may be rambling and you wondering where is all this leading? It will end here and instead I will focus on the music. So, wthout further ado I thank you for your patience and will move on.

The first thing one can say about the music is that it is very powerful yet delicate. Divided into four suites, each one almost 20 minutes long, the album might seem tough to swallow. I come to think of the excesses of Yes and "Tales of topographic oceans" but the music on Rigoni & Schonherz album is far more accessible, though not necessarily lacking in complexity. Each suite has a variety of styles and genres, ranging from (almost) old school rock'n'roll via hard rock and outright classical movements of the finest sort. It has been proven that the merging of classical and rock is a tricky one, as shown by Jon Lord's "Gemini suite" but it can certainly be extremely rewarding when exected correctly, as by Focus on "Hamburger concerto". The classical sections of "Victor" is apart from being fantastic pieces in their own right, also very fitting in the context of the album. Acting as dramatic interludes or bridges between the different stges of the story it is reminiscent of how soundtracks work in movies, setting the mood and reinforces the storyline. The rock side of things are very engaging aswell, apart from some small entries of basic rock'n'roll which I do not approve of but those are few and ruins nothing of the album, seen as a whole.

There are an abundance of keyboards on "Victor", which suits me perfectly. Everything from piano and organ to other electrically powered keyboards is used to perfection, suiting the context very well. The presence of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra puts further greatness to an already fantastic muscial landscape.

I hear echoes of Rick Wakeman, circa 1974-1976, and his most pompous and overblown exercises. (And that is meant in the most positive and loving way possible.) The quire and classical elements only adds to this notion. Still, "Victor" certainly is an entity of it's own It is as pompous and overblown as anything you could imagine but in the best of ways. After all, that is an integral part of prog and so it should be.

While all four suites are exquiste and really enjoyable, I do find the second and third one to be the best. The thirds holds my favorite part, "Victor's sng to his faher" with a great and memorable melody line. Very dramatic and powerful indeed.

I have already stated that the album is accessible and that still stands but it must be said this album is also highly complex in it's execution and delivery. The balance between the very competent classical sections and the rock ones are so fantasically performed and is really an accomplishment. I stood and keeps standing in awe when listening to this album. It is a thorough album, never loosing neither focus nor the ability to enthrall. It is a very spellbinding album of great drama and depth that I really adore. Truly adore.

My initial feeling for this album has proven to be accurate. This is really a record to discover and I think that anyone with an interest in (vintage) prog would do well to hear.How such a remarkable body of work has remained so anonymous I'll never know but that's the way the cookie crumbles, I suppose. There are so many albums out there needing to be discovered. Hopefully this review will remedy that, at least as far as this album is concerned. The overall rating for me has to be a five star one. I cannot really be content in giving it four stars. I would regret it, I think.

An outstanding one-off album from the very deep of the progressive ocean.

GruvanDahlman | 5/5 |

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