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Mona Lisa - Le Petit Violon de Monsieur Grégoire  CD (album) cover

LE PETIT VIOLON DE MONSIEUR GRÉGOIRE

Mona Lisa

 

Symphonic Prog

3.60 | 54 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Life Line Project
5 stars One of the highlights of seventies' French symphonic rock

Undoubtedly "Le Petit Violon de Mr. Grégoire" by the French band Mona Lisa is one of the major classics of French symphonic rock. As with lots of French bands of that period one of the hallmarks are the almost hysterical and very expressive vocals adding to the dramatic effect of the music. As with so many French bands of this period, the playing abilities of the musicians doesn't surpass the average, so you won't get neck braking solos and overcomplicated musical intermezzos. The strength lies in the collective playing and the most important thing here is the joining of the instrumental forces to create a complete musical product. No ego tripping but musicians who play at the service of the story line.

Major work on this album, originally released in 1976, is of course the title piece "Le Petit Violin de Mr. Grégoire", a three part suite of more than twenty minutes. The story tells the tragicomic adventures of the Grégoire, a gifted violin player who is completely obsessed by his music, by which he tries to enjoy pleasures that can be reached by his almost diabolical music alone. The composition ends in a sparkling and a contagious musical feast.

The story is magnificently performed by lead singer Dominique le Guennec who really brings to life the dramatic adventures of Grégoire. Like Ange front man Christian Decamps, he knows to charm the listener in a compelling way, making you forget everything else. The story line is supported in a more than effective way by the band, colouring the adventures of Grégoire with melodious guitar solo's and well-chosen synthesizer parts, executed with lots of pleasure over a sometimes pumping rhythm section.

The album is completed with four shorter compositions. Two of them, "Le Chant Des Glaces" and "Solaris" are completely instrumental and show us the love of Mona Lisa for very melodic and light footed symphonic rock. The music is uncomplicated and very pleasant to listen to. There are lots of two voiced melodies between keyboards and guitars to enjoy and the characteristic orgue aux effets spéciaux (used instead of a Hammond and a mellotron), so frequent at French bands of that period is omnipresent in both titles.

"Allons Z'enfants" is even more French than de Gaulle, dealing with the delusions of grandeur, again showing Dominque le Guennec as one of the greatest performers in French progressive rock.

The strange song "Le Publiphobe" deals with the petty-mindedness of a lower middle class Parisian worker in the Moulinex factory.

Le Petit Violon is an extremely well succeeded and very attractive sonic product that has all characteristics that distinguish French symphonic rock from all other symphonic rock. It's probably the best album in the genre, so if anyone is interested in trying an album of early French progressive rock he may well start with "Le Petit Violon De Mr. Grégoire". Both the band playing and the vocals are great, so you won't get disappointed there.

"Le Petit Violon De Mr. Grégoire" being a true and essential classic of international symphonic rock, I can't deny it the well deserved five stars!

Erik de Beer.

Life Line Project | 5/5 |

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