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Fugato Orchestra - Neander Variations CD (album) cover

NEANDER VARIATIONS

Fugato Orchestra

 

Prog Related

4.08 | 18 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars Composer and brilliant pianist Balázs Alpár is a young Hungarian who studied long and hard both the strong classical heritage (Liszt, Bartók, Kodály) as well as the illustrious prog (East, Solaris, Omega, After Crying) that came out of this incredibly brooding land and after a great amount of patient persistence, finally got this marvel produced by the intense Periferic Records boss Gregory Böszörményi. Allegedly the demo stayed stashed within a pile of documents on his desk and found it only a year later. I can understand the shock! Fugato Orchestra is the purveyor of a rather opulent symphonic work that chose to structurally depend on some massive classical orchestrations with copious violins, violas, cellos, string bass, flutes, trumpets, oboes and chorale work. This is quite distant from the ELP/King Crimson/Genesis School of prog, probably much closer to the Enid in both structure and substance. What makes this so utterly attractive is the blending of so many young amateur musicians into a clearly defined modern progressive masterpiece. From the opening flute-driven "Neander Valley Chase", the exquisite orchestral sonics rapidly enchant, beguile and entertain, utterly original. It becomes face slappingly obvious that this is going to be some expertly paced symphonic prog that is unafraid to venture into explorative synthesized expanses, such as on the absolutely stellar "Marine Myth" where Alpar's synths buzz, bellow and blister with uncanny genius. But that's the fifth cut here, so let's not get ahead of ourselves .There is utter melodic grace on the romantically piano led "Peace of mine", a swerving delicacy that is true to the Magyar taciturn nature, happy yet sad at the same time, a unique emotion that many Westerners cannot comprehend. "Virelai" keeps it bouncily vibrant with joyous classical infused strings, mobile flute and thumping drums to make it rock gently. "Serenade" is just that, a quasi epic hymn to some distantly painful emotion, once vibrant and now veering into history. In my odd view, that's what a serenade should be: utterly romantic, suavely sensual, cockily melancholic and somehow timeless, with a seriously concocted upwardly enthralling theme. Back to "Marine Myth", this is a classic for the ages, a jewel that will stun into disbelief any keyboard fan, so completely modern and current and a shoo-in for a part on a sci-fi action thriller soundtrack. You got to hear this! On the 7 minute plus "Etnoid" the true the Enid tendencies come shining through, a heady concoction of bass/drum propulsed classical music that teems with lush melodicism. The flute comes around again, leading the charge, allied with some trumpet in strategic places; this is adventurous yet sharp music, never complacent or tepid. The next 2 tracks ("Haiku" 1&2) infuse some fabulous tenor, alto and soprano voices that instill unbridled awe and then on "Witches Sabbath" there is a supremely slick synth flurry, anchored by a solid groove that is simply delectable. Again ivory ticklers and electro fans alike will be flabbergasted by the audacious delivery and the sheer genius of the dense music delivered here, a mid section that swims in funeral grandeur, just waiting for the synth to slither in between the flutes ornaments. My goodness! There then begins a triumvirate of 2-3 minute tracks that are distinct from one and other, each with its own title, praising the various symphonic virtues of the numerous young musicians as this is not a band but rather an orchestra, some amazing baroque flute that will dazzle fighting off some devilish trumpet escapades (I mean think about it: a duel between flute and trumpet!!!). The disc ends with the 3 part title track "Neander Variations", an exquisite merging of classical grandeur, folk no longer extremity but spiritual guide, modern keyboard stylings that need only a solid bass and drums package to seal the deal. I am not a massive connoisseur of the Bachs, Beethovens, Mozarts and alumni, but at my age, I can recognize splendid music when I hear it and this certainly is. Fans of the Enid, After Crying and Solaris in particular should leap at this with ease but I think it's a masterpiece for any music lover, period! You guys got to get this or else you are off the boat ,drowning.... 5 flaming fugues
tszirmay | 5/5 |

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