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Novalis - Konzerte CD (album) cover

KONZERTE

Novalis

Symphonic Prog


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erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is a very good live concert from one of the most original Krautrock bands. It captures Novalis at their creative peak. The long compositons contain many wonderful changing climates, from mellow, classical and folky to up-tempo rock and bombastic symphonic. The keyboard sound is magnificent, especially if you like the vintage keyboards, to me they always sound so warm and distinctive. The vocals are in the German language, for me as a Dutchman (we are neighbours) good to understand and I like the poetical undertone that is emphasized in German. I hope that this gem wil be released on CD very soon, WUNDERBAR!!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#39312)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
Progbear
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Few albums unveil a new member with a live recording, but that's precisely what Novalis did with their first (of two) 1977 releases. KONZERTE is a live document that also serves as a prémiere for the band's new frontman, Austrian singer Fred Mühlböck. Mühlböck is probably the first real singer the band ever had. Prior to his membership, the vocals were understated in a Camel sense, there just to have someone singing. But Mühlböck actually has something of a vocal presence: he's dramatic without falling into the trap of having fits of spastic, tasteless "hard rock" histrionics like so many others. He also plays guitar, so earlier pieces like "Wer Schmetterlinge lachen hört" can be interpreted in fullest glory. Also, he's a flute player, adding additional texture to an already full and rich sound.

That this album is not on CD is really something of a crime, as it contains what surely are the definitive versions of "Sommerabend" and "Wunderschätze". Mühlböck adds a good deal of life to the earlier songs as well, making this a great starter album for established fans and newcomers alike.

Don't get too excited by the concept of a live version of "Dronsz", though. It's basically pre-recorded walk-on music.

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Send comments to Progbear (BETA) | Report this review (#42627)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have to give this a straight fiver because not only is it the first Novalis album I bought, but because it deserves it!

First of all, a clarification to Progbear's review above: The "walk-on" music is "Bolero," and this *is* a live version of "Dronz." It is played with a different feel to the studio version, sounding more like the live version they were doing back as far back as late 1973 when Jurgen Wenzel was still with the group.

The first side of the Lp is fantastic, but it's side two that really shines. The version of "Wunderschätze" is so good that it might melt your turntable! Lush and symphonic are words rarely more applicable than here. The same goes for "Sommerabend," which has such elegance that you can practically smell the grass of an outdoor concert appearance by the group on a "summer evening," as they closed their set with this masterpiece of German symph.

This album is *really long*! The sides are over 30 minutes! I can only hope that Universal has these tapes in their Brain vault and that a CD will be issued one day. As live albums go... it's a gem!

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Send comments to Jeff Carney (BETA) | Report this review (#88201)
Posted Friday, August 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I really couldn't have reviewed another band than ''Novalis'' tonight. The presence of Febus is so intense even if I know by now that I won't read any more new great reviews nor posts on the forum from this important collab. I dedicate this review to him of course. He was the one with whom I shared many mails and interests (aside music of course). We were really close in many aspects of our lives. It is a though job to write about a band whom he was praising so much. But here we go...

It is a bit of a shame that this first live album from ''Novalis'' doesn't hold any track of their debut album. Especially their fantastic ''Banished Bridge'' epic, which is my all time fave form this German band. Of course, by then, there was another vocalist who used to sing in English (which was a good idea IMHHO).

This live set is actually almost an integral play back of their second and third album. The sound is rawer here than on the studio counterparts. It is particularly true during the guitar part of ''Es Färbte Sich Die Wiese Grün''.

My preferred tracks in here is the beautiful ''Impressionen''. The fact that it is an instrumental is probably not alien to this feeling. But left alone this fact, the musical moments are so poignant, melodic and passionate that it is pure pleasure to listen to such a piece of music.

This being said, the according studio albums belonged to the band's best repertoire. Still, I would have liked to get the great ''Aufbruch'' in here (from ''Sommerabend''). Anyway, this live set is very good and should please any ''Novalis'' fan but also any symphonic music lover. The bombastic closing part of ''Wunderschätze'' is a wonderful aspect of this characteristic.

The pièce de résistance is the epic ''Sommerabend''. The wonderful and spacey intro is another great moment of this live album which is actually a very good collection of their early work (bearing in mind the remark for ''Banished Bridge''). Recommended.

Four stars.

I closed my review for ''Sommerabend'' with these words: ''I dedicate this review to my friend Febus: hold on my friend. There is light after the tunnel''. I knew about his health situation and I wrote it on November 29th. Antoine passed away three days later...

Unfortunately for Antoine, the light was turned off but he will always be a light for me. Repose en paix mon ami.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#192653)
Posted Thursday, December 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Novalis - Konzerte (1977)

After I got enthousiastic listening to the second album of this German sympho band, I bought this live record. On side one Novalis plays about 70% of the Novalis album, on side two Novalis plays 70% of the Sommerabend follow-up album. The tracks selected for the liverecord are very nice, maybe some material from their debut could have been included for a complete look into their discography.

The recording is reasonable. The vocals are worse then in the studio, but the keys are almost as good, though some keysounds are a bit different. The problem with the recording is the many low volume parts of the record that aren't represented very well here. Sometimes I've got the feeling things go wrong during the concert, but overall it's acceptable. A thing that is apparent here is that the band has found nice ways to use the material from the Novalis album, not always playing the song the same as on the album.

The compostional style of Novalis is between symphonic prog and symphonic rock. It never get's very intelligent, but it stay's atmospheric throug the whole record. On side one the tempo goes up a few times, but on side two we get a slow pulse for almost half an hour. Nothing of this material can be seen as very progressive, it's more of a way to recycle ideas and making something new with it. This accompanied by the lack of uptempo or sophisticated songwriting makes this album not very essential. It's just sympho, nothing more.

Conclusion. Symphoproggers might want to try this, others might skip on this one. I myself like to put it on during dinner or other peacefull moments of the day and it's perfectly suitable for that. So, it's good, but not essential. Three stars.

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#248256)
Posted Thursday, November 05, 2009 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Novalis were a excellent German symphonic prog outfit often bracketed under the 'krautrock' banner yet in truth much closer to the likes of Yes and Genesis in both sound and style. Starting out during the early-seventies as a psychedelic rock group who sang in English, Novalis would take the brave and rather unusual step of singing entirely in German from their second release onwards, thus limiting their commercial appeal to that of their homeland and a few surrounding countries. They would produce a handful of attractive, keyboard-drenched albums during this time, including their classic self-titled release and it's ethereal follow-up 'Sommeraband', before gradually pursuing a slightly more commercial sound as the decade wore on. However, for the 1977 show from which this superb double live-album is culled, the group went for a full-blown symphonic rock approach characterised by slick, snazzy synthesizers and richly-textured keyboards that showed Novalis really could rock it up with the best of them. The undoubted highlight of the set is the main track from 'Sommeraband', played in all it's glorious four-part beauty, capping off a remarkable performance from a group performing at the peak of their powers. The sound is full and crisp, and the CD digipak reissue features an extra fifteen-minutes worth of material that includes the anthemic synth-rocker 'Astralis' from the group's underrated 'Brandung' album, a worthy addition indeed, capping off what is essentially the definitive Novalis release. Impressive.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#661617)
Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Hamburg's Romantic Rock ensemble may have been settling into bad habits in the recording booth, but on stage the band was still capable of putting on a rousing show in 1977. Unlike their current studio album "Brandung" (not yet released when these gigs were taped), the emphasis in concert was on the instrumental performances, with a setlist devoted to earlier, stronger material from their self-titled 1975 album and its splendid 1976 companion "Sommerabend". New singer Fred Mühlböck would soon usurp the songwriting duties and steer his comrades into shallower waters, but he sounds completely at ease in the band's more symphonic back catalogue (he may have simply been trying too hard on his upcoming studio debut with the group).

The music itself on the live disc is more or less conventional Prog Rock, a description sadly becoming less of an oxymoron in 1977. But don't dismiss the album too quickly. Yes, it represented a waning style of music captured at that awkward moment just past its cultural expiration date, complete with obligatory classical walk-on music (Ravel's "Bolero") and, outside of the brief instrumental "Dronz", no song shorter than nine minutes. But thankfully the rumors of Prog's death-by-misadventure hadn't reached suburban Hamburg yet, and even with its flat, detached production the album crackles with energy and enthusiasm.

Judging by the sound of the crowd (large and ecstatic), the band was nearing the apex of their popularity here, before starting to buckle under the pressures of commercial success. Be prepared, however, to accept a little mustiness when opening this bluntly-titled musical time capsule. But as anyone who has ever haunted a used-book cellar or old vinyl emporium can tell you, the dusty whiff of yesterday's faded treasure is not an unpleasant experience.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#1264755)
Posted Saturday, August 30, 2014 | Review Permalink

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