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Marián Varga - Pavol Hammel, Marián Varga, Radim Hladík: Na II. Programe Sna CD (album) cover


Marián Varga

Symphonic Prog

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3 stars This second collaborative album between Pavol Hammel, Marian Varga and Radim Hladik, came out 4 years after "Zelena Posta". It seems as though Hammel had more to do with this one than Varga did, as there is even a stronger pop tint on it than on the great '72 album. One of the most important developments here is the first time Varga used synthesizers on recordings, to my knowledge, but it still has plenty of organ, and is sonically balanced compared to the disaster "Continuo" that would happen a few years later.

Simplifying the situation we can say that side 1 of the record was the proggier side of the album, with the four longest songs being the most interesting. The title track is a driving tune based on an Emerson-inspired organ motif. "Letia husi" has some interesting mods on the organ, a good chorus in 5/4 and some seriously frantic soloing by Varga. "S chodnikom na chrbte" is a more straightforward rock jam, despite being the longest track the album, but it features some awesome soloing by both Varga and Hladik. Finally, "Lalia polna" is a fairly simple choral piece, but very effective and beautiful, perhaps the single highlight here.

The second side is comprised of some no more than decent pop-rock songs. "V zelenej pamati" in particular is the rock bottom of the album with its latin-pop flavor, and Varga doesn't even play on it. Similarly the dixieland-infused album closer leaves this listener with a bad taste in his mouth.

Overall, if you thought that "Zelena Posta" was a masterpiece then you will also like "Na 2. programe sna", although half of it sounds like pop-rock of the times, and would have been better left for a solo Hammel album. The nice thing is that there is a double-cd edtion that has both albums on it.

Report this review (#138518)
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Possibly most capable Czech keyboardist Marian Varga plays with another Collegium Musicum member, acoustic guitarist Pavol Hammel and possibly the best Czech jazz-rock guitarist Radim Hladik (of Blue Effect). This trio is regular project,released few albums.

Music there on this album isn't excellent jazz rock of Blue Effect or more keyboards-based prog fusion of Collegium Musicum. Trio plays quite eclectic mix of early jazz rock (with backing females vocals), Czech folklore and pop-rock. Leading sound comes from Varga's keyboards, guitars both are only supporting instruments. There are more strings quartet on support, but in all the sound is more prog folk, than fusion or symphonic.

Musicianship is great as usual from this three great musicians, and songs are well arranged. Main problem form me, that main material is in fact folk rock, and as very often, compositions are not very diverse. I like some keyboards moments, and often very professional arrangements, but album's genre itself isn't my cup of tea.

Good album for Central European prog folk lovers, but has only limited attractiveness for fans of Blue Effect or Collegium Musicum.

Report this review (#338764)
Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The best of the old Czechoslovakia comes together for an album.

When I mean the best, I mean the best prog/jazz musicians in the business. Marian Varga from Collegium Musicum and Radim Hladik from Blue Effect. Those two and Pavol Hammel. The result is a kind of a super group.

The music is a mix of symph prog with Marian Varga's keyboards. The are as excellent as always. The guitars of Radim Hladik is excellent too. Pavol Hammel adds acoustic guitars and vocals. They are also helped by numerous other musicians.

The result is an album which brings jazz/fusion, symph prog, folk music and pop/rock together on one album. The result is very commercial anno 1975 and very dated anno 2011. But remember this album was made behind the very repressive Iron Curtain for repressed people. People who deserved better than repression. But I am sure this album would had been a big seller here in the West too if it was released here.

This album feels dated today, but it is still a good album. Mostly due to the excellent musicianship of the participating musicians.

3 stars (barely)

Report this review (#529831)
Posted Friday, September 23, 2011 | Review Permalink

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