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Panta Rhei - Bartok CD (album) cover


Panta Rhei

Symphonic Prog

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3 stars Quite similar to the most dynamic works from ELP, this quintet played in this album, very interesting covers of some of BARTOK's music, like COLLEGIUM MUSICUM also did. Of course, the lead instrument is the hammond organ, with a good bass/drums section. This music is imperative to ELP, TRACE or TRIUMVIRAT fans.
Report this review (#77393)
Posted Sunday, May 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A very interesting rare recording, it is a symphonic prog album mainly driven by a hammond organ, bass guitar and drums, as the previous reviewer stated, and done in a same kind of way as ELP, it is so much ELP sounding, you'd think it is by ELP, Panta Rhei could by a Hungarian ELP clone, a superb prog album, never seen the light of day, as Bartok's family refused to give PR permission to release this on record back in 1977, though some recordings are recorded between 1976 and 77, also features loads of synths too.

A suberb album consisting of Bartok's works, it is possible to listen to this album, but not avalable on any physical recordings ie, vinyl, tape or cd etc.

A must listen for Emerson, Lake and Palmer fans, you will love this one, if you are an ELP fanatic.

A shame this album is not avalable to buy as a album, one of the rarest albums I ever heard!!

Report this review (#82288)
Posted Friday, June 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Barbaric

Hungarian band Panta Rhei (not to be confused with the German band of the same name, or the similarly named Swedish band Panta Rei) were formed in or around 1974. Pretty much unknown beyond their own borders, the band were heavily influenced by Emerson Lake and Palmer and that band's predecessors King Crimson and The Nice. The fact that this their first album is named after and based upon the works of Bartok is an early clue to the bands influences. It was an interpretation of a Bartok piece which introduced us to ELP on "The Barbarian", the first track on their first album.

This album was never actually released at the time of its recording, as Bartok's descendants effectively blocked it. In recent times however, the band have made the music available via their website.

There are six track in total here. Three were recorded live, the three studio recordings originally being intended to form the band's first single. All the pieces are adaptations of original Bartok compositions. The dominant sound is that of Hammond organ very like that of Keith Emerson on ELP's early albums.

The opening "Quarts" has immediate similarities with "The Barbarian", Andras Szalay's bass playing being very similar to the style of Lake. One of the band's early claims to fame was that they designed and built their own synthesisers. The first evidence of these is on "Harlequin", a second short but punchy track to introduce the band. Things get more interesting with "Rumanian dances", the final studio track, which has a more intricate structure and some dynamic effects.

At over 12 minutes, "Dance suite" is the longest track here. It is also the first of the live tracks, although you'd be hard pressed to tell. This is the first track to feature any vocals at all, Eniko Acs mixing spoken word with sung verses. He has a strong Italian prog style voice, which adds an extra dimension to the track. Kalman Matolcsy is soon sharing centre stage again with another lengthy keyboard solo. Around the midpoint of the track, the pace changes and the piece moves into a virtuoso monophonic synth solo, the track at this point perhaps borrowing from "Karn evil 9, part 3". We also have a quick burst of what sounds very like "Abadon's bolero".

"Ostinato" is notable mainly because it features a different drummer to the rest of the tracks, Miklos Kiss. Apart from that though, this piece is adequate but unremarkable apart from some impressive synth improvisation. The closing "Allegro barbaro" is the Bartok piece which actually became "The Barbarian". The version here is in reality more of a stright cover of the ELP track than a new interpretation by Panta Rhei.

"Bartok" is an impressive, if sadly stillborn, debut by Panta Rhei. While they are unlikely to win any awards for originality of sound, their Hammond and synth based music will appeal to ELP fans. Worth investigating.

Report this review (#146843)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This defunct Hungarian band (not to be confused with the German Jazz ensemble Panta Rhei, or the Swedish space rockers Panta Rei) might be better known today, if only:

A) They had chosen a more singular name...

B) They had played somewhere else besides the cultural backwater of mid '70s Budapest...and

C) They didn't swap musical hats with such alarming frequency. Even worse, each new incarnation sounded like an entirely different group: first a bouncy Magyar pop band; then an ELP-style classical rock clone; then a Jazz-Rock Fusion combo, and finally a strictly synthesized electro-pop outfit a la JEAN MICHEL JARRE.

All ancient history of course, and no one outside Eastern Europe would even remember them today if so much of the band's music wasn't available for complimentary downloading (follow the link here at the Prog Archives Panta Rhei page to their web site). Several album's worth of material is now only a mouse-click away, including this somewhat tarnished treasure: a symphonic rock arrangement of music by fellow Hungarian Béla Bartók, recorded during the band's most overtly ELP-influenced era, circa 1976.

The LP itself was never released; apparently no one thought to secure the rights from the Bartók estate beforehand. In truth the music was secondhand Bartók by way of Keith Emerson, a debt they all but acknowledge in their rendition here of "Allegro Barbaro", actually a note-perfect cover of the early ELP version better known as "The Barbarian" (drummer Csaba Beke even duplicates all of Carl Palmer's drum fills, verbatim).

The entire album is an ELP throwback, right down to the feisty Hammond organ runs and Moog synthesizer solos. It's actually more an EP than a legitimate album: six songs, half of them performed live (with the audience edited out), totaling just over 31-minutes. But there's plenty of other free music on their web site to make up the slack, including an abbreviated but entirely credible copy of ELP's "Tarkus" (the "Welcome Back My Friends..." live version), and a lavish 22+ minute re-staging of Edvard Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite", maybe the highlight of the band's entire schizophrenic career, and one of those vulgar but irresistible epics on which any Prog Rock wannabe would feel proud to stake his reputation.

Panta Rhei may have been consistently one step behind the musical trendsetters of their time, but it's a pity they never had a chance to enjoy wider public exposure. Is it too late now to say better late than never?

Report this review (#221847)
Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars A big music moment similar to the best of Emerson Lake and Collegium Musicum. A rare album when the keiboards, (Hammond) give a singular moments of good music. The record material was not good but this is an albun that the music quality is superior and I like listen and apreciate de musicians work and not the quality of sound. The bass and keiboards give us a special moments of the good progressive scene in Hungarian in seventies, and we can´t never forget that rock music was made in obscure moments behind the iron curtain. If Collegium Musicum are one of my favourites bands, Bartok are one of my favourite discovery in last days. This is a masterpiece of course because if the sound are nothing special, the music is excellent. 5 stars
Report this review (#529530)
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A Progressive/Classical Rock band from Debrecen, Hungary, formed by keyboardist Kalman Matolcsy, bassist Andras Szalay, guitarist Alex Szalay and drummer Csaba Beke in 1974.Among the first attempts the group tried to adapt Classical pieces belonging to Hungarian composer Bela Bartok after recruiting vocalist Eniko Acs.These however would never see the light due to the denial of the Bartok family and they are only available as a free digital download from the band's website.

Chronologically based around 76'-77', this is one of the closest things you can hear to E.L.P. or COLLEGIUM MUSICUM, featuring three live recordings and three studio tracks, on one of them (''Ostinato'') the drums are performed by Miklos Kiss.Half an hour of bombastic EMERSON-ian organ orgasms and some synthesizer beats here and there, especially on the long ''Dance suite'', which however is the weakest track of all, filled with long narrative parts and flat grooves.The shorter tunes are more interesting, rich-sounding and powerful with strong Classical melodies, dramatic bass lines and virtuosic synth solos among the never-ending organ textures.There are also minor guitar solos and riffs among the keyboard runs but these are too few to change the whole E.L.P.-like atmosphere.

While ''Bartok'' is definitely noy among the best Classical-Rock adaptions I've heard, these recordings show a band with potential, that did not make it into the prog scene at the time.Feel free to taste these recordings by yourself in the band's website.

Report this review (#815149)
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012 | Review Permalink

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