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Collegium Musicum - Collegium Musicum Live  CD (album) cover


Collegium Musicum


Symphonic Prog

3.61 | 47 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Third album from the Slovak (well Czech also back then) Collegium Musicum became the Eastern Block's ELP/The Nice, especially now that guitarist Griglak had left to found Fermata. Actually this could be considered as the group's fourth album, as the remaining trio had recorded with Pavol Hammel an album called Zelena Posta, but it wasn't credited to CM. So came this Live album holding four tracks (two aside) that are totally based on reworks of the classical master composers.

Soundwise, there is little doubt that the reduced line-up is limiting the group's spectrum to an ELP almost-clone (no singing bassist), and not much else! In some ways, the arrangements resemble also Ekseption or Trace, Focus or Finch, as the group seems content of just putting drums and bass parts to the music that's played on a single organ. You can easily imagine, the Slovaks making incredible sacrifice for a western electric instrument during the Cold War, let alone investing into a second one. One of the things that bugs me is that all of those borrowed passages from the master composers are not acknowledge, therefore making the borrowings grow into rip-offs.

Unlike some other groups like Plastic People Of The Universe (who were regularly busted as they inspired themselves from Velvet Underground and rebellion), it is easy to imagine that CM benefited from a sort of "approval" from the communist regime, since they made easy access to the classical master to the younger generations. Judging by the inside photos from the group's stage performance, they were at least playing in theatres or movie houses, shows which no doubt were at least not banned from the state police. Nevertheless, I suggest you start your discovery of CM with another album.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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