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Anyone's Daughter - Piktors Verwandlungen CD (album) cover


Anyone's Daughter

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars This was ANYONE'S DAUGHTER's 3rd album and represented for them their largest single accomplishment at that point in time with this 40 mins epic track based on a concept fairy tale by Herman Hesse. On "Piktors...", ANYONE DAUGHTER recorded for the first time vocals in native German (as they would with the 2 subsequent albums "In Blau" and "Nerve Sterne") with most of the words actually being spoken (obviously citing and quoting Hesse's thoughts and words) with all narration put to music. The end product is quite symphonic and quite beautiful throughout with my only wish that I could speak German and catch more of what Bareth and Co. are referring to (maybe someone out there can translate the lyrics for me ?). The album is full of some lovely sonic imagery and some very captivating symphonic progressive rock. This is an album that although I have owned for a long time was personally overshadowed (I will admit) by "Adonis" and their first album (which I love to pieces) and I now consider in the same light as those other albums.
Report this review (#828)
Posted Sunday, August 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Quite beautiful album, although the long spoken passages in german will surely be much more appealing to the ones that understand that language. This work was based on Hermman Hesse´s book of the same name and I can only imagine those spoken words are quotes from the same. It´s quite different from their most famous CD Adonis and I have to agree that they seem more confortable with their native language and it fits well with their style of music. It is only a pity that it is such a short LP (37 minutes) and there is not much instrumental passages in a way of solos and virtuosity, bar two tracks, Der Baum and Der Doppelstern (very good ones!). Most of the music serves as a background music for the vocals and/or the spoken texts. It was a very odd record for 1981 indeed! Still, a quite pleasant one for the proghead. 3,5 stars.
Report this review (#210812)
Posted Thursday, April 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Took me longer to get into than their first two, (which I greatly enjoy) but once I got into it, I liked it almost as much as "Adonis" and more than "Anyone's Daughter". Some very beautiful compelling music here. The tracks bind together similarly to the tracks on Camel's "The Snow Goose", with tracks flowing into each other to varying degrees but only highly minimal recurrent themes (are there any?). The album is structured slightly differently than the latter, as there are a few tracks with basic focus given to (German) spoken word lyrics-- I'd imagine recitations of Herman Hesse--, which are less musically involved (though the level does vary) and generally atmospheric. The music here is more progressive than on "Anyone's Daughter", almost as though the band had gone back to 1979 and taken a different course in following "Adonis". Aside from the spoken word vocals in 4 songs, the rest is entirely instrumental. Great album recommended highly, especially to fans of bands like Genesis, Asia Minor, Eloy, Camel etc..

Best track: Sehnsucht

4.25 stars

Report this review (#214715)
Posted Sunday, May 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars I have no trouble with albums sung in a native tongue unfamiliar to me, but when the lyrics are primarily spoken and the product of a master like Herman Hesse, I can't even taste the essence never mind comprehend the storyline. Without this knowledge to glue together seemingly disparate and incomplete ideas, I feel decidedly unqualified to provide a fair review, which explains why it's far and away the last ANYONE's DAUGHTER "classic" to bring my pen to paper. But I suppose with that full disclosure out of the way, I will proceed as best I can to review this live album of original music.

Just to summarize based on rudimentary research, "Piktors Verwandlungen" is a fairy tale/love story written in 1922 and inspired by Hesse's future wife. It is about changes in life perhaps mirrored by those in nature, no doubt filtered through the author's lifelong fascination with fantasy. The album consists of mostly short and mostly symphonic instrumentals alternating with calmly narrated passages with appropriately sedate accompaniment. One of the appealing aspects of the music is that all instruments are equal participants. Guitars like those found in the "Adonis Suite" and the group's namesake track alternate with electronic keyboards reminiscent of the group's "Sundance of the Haute Provence". Several succinct melodic themes repeat, while some seem incomplete, even more angular than one would expect from the group, but after several listens the flow and transitions become more apparent.

It's an album that must be heard in its entirety even if some tracks are less appealing, but at 37 minutes this is no great hardship. Several longer tracks glisten with the slightly jazzy side of the group's palette, without ever getting lost in themselves. The last few show a greater progression and climactic buildup, particularly the transition between "Dritter Teil der Erzählung" and "Sehnsucht". In the finale, Harald Bareth actually sings in German for the first time on any group disc, and this exercise provides the template for the next couple of albums.

While "Piktors" is yet another strong product from ANYONE's DAUGHTER, a bold step that some might find it their best, I can't put it in quite the same category as their studio work as the material is not as satisfying to me as a standalone piece. That is as much a flaw in my own experience as in the recording, but this album did provide impetus for a group metamorphosis lasting a couple more albums, and is a picture of a growing, healthy talent on the German symphonic scene of 1981.

Report this review (#288922)
Posted Friday, July 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars With their third release ANYONE'S DAUGHTER gets adventerous with a concept album including lots of narration in German.The only actual singing is on the final track. I found this album to be a big letdown after the first two recordings considering that there's about 12 minutes of spoken words in a language I don't understand, leaving only 25 minutes of actual music. I guess if your into concept albums though you might dig this.

"Piktor" opens with drums and other sounds that build. It settles back some with the guitar playing over top. "Erstes Verspiel" is filled with sparse piano then we get German narration on the next track. "Purpur" kicks in right away including some excellent bass and guitar. Great sound here. A bass solo after 2 minutes then it kicks back in. It blends into "Zweites Verspiel" where spacey synths join in. More German narration on the next tune, then we get "Der Baum" where synths, piano and drums build.Guitar around a minute. Keyboards and guitar trade solos. Nice. It then turns mellow before 5 1/2 minutes to the end.

German narration on the next song then "Sehnsucht" arrives where guitar, drums and synths standout. It settles then we get some fat bass with drums 3 minutes in along with some atmospheric guitar. German narration on the next track, then guitar and drums lead on "Pikteria,Viktoria". More German narration then the final track "Der Dopelstern" has vocals for the first time with guitar and drums helping out.

Even if the narration was in English I still would find this distracting having a play by play as it were between tunes.

Report this review (#300828)
Posted Tuesday, September 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The third Album of this german prog band contains the honourable try to set famous poet Hermann Hesse 's fairy tale "Piktors Verwandlungen" into music. The result is a great 37 minute piece of symphonic music with views on Genesis, Camel and Pink Floyd, recorded entirely live with no overdubs, but a nice studio-like sound. The band resisted the temptation to tranform classic literature into song lyrics, and decided to narrate the story, accompanied by keyboards and guitar, between the instumental parts. This may disturb those who don 't speak German, but in my opinion it is, for this specific concept, the best approach. For better understanding how the music goes with the tale, I 'll summarize the story besides reviewing the music.

The work starts with a nice symphonic intro, featuring the main theme and fine synth and guitar parts. Then, in the 1st story-part, the narrator, bass player H. Bareth, tells of Piktor coming to paradise, finding a fantastic colourful world of change and transformation. It 's a place, where trees are man and woman, sun and moon, and a bird changing to a flower before his eyes leaves him overwhelmed. The band takes over with "Purpur", a fast, rocking piece with a good guitar solo, sounding a bit "krautish" (not in a negative sense), before it leads into the main theme again.

In the 2nd story-part Piktor encounters more metamorphosis, watches a flower becoming a butterfly becoming a red crystal, the source of transformation. As the stone starts to disappear, Piktor grabs it. A snake is urging him to quickly make a decision what he wants to be. Piktor chooses a tree.

"Der Baum" is a strong piece with a jazzy groove and several solos from organ, guitar and synth. Nice accents in the middle section. The 3rd story-part: Piktor, being a tree now, feels unhappy because he stands all alone, having lost the gift of transformation. While around him life is blooming and changing, he gets sadder and older. "Sehnsucht" is a slow piece with clean guitar, keyboards, spheric sounds, reminding of Floyd and Camel. Matches the title (Desire) beautifully.

In the 4th and 5th story-part (devided only by a short, spacey instrumental) a young girl appears and, watching her, the Piktor-tree falls in love and remembers being human, full of life. The girl leans to the tree and feels Piktor shivering, when a bird flies by and drops another crystal. By its power, the girl unites with the tree, becoming a bough, bringing new life, growth and change to Piktor. Now together as one, like a double-star, their life in paradise is fulfilled. "Doppelstern", the closing title, has german vocals and lyrics by H. Bareth and tries to be a bombastic finale, but for me is a weaker moment of the work, though played very well.

All in all a very good, unusual prog concept-album, that could stand, IMHO, a bit more composition and less soloing, but as a concert performance it is working really well.

Report this review (#404239)
Posted Sunday, February 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars German symphonic prog is not like English symphonic prog. Every country has their own take on this genre.

This is their third album and to my knowledge; their breakthrough album too. I guess their brilliant cover art work itself would shift a lot of LPs. And those who bought this LP because of the art work would probably not be that disappointed. Very melodic symph prog with German narration. The music has a fusion and krautrock tinge, but it also have a lot of references to Eloy, Agitation Free, Camel and Saga too. And yes, this is a concept album. The story is..... well, I don't know. Neither do I care too.

The sound is mostly based on keyboards and gentle guitar picking. No guitar or keyboard walls in other words. Each track is really understated and given a lot of air.

There is no killer tracks here, but the music really grows on me in leaps and bounds for every listening session. I am really getting into this album now. In other words; this is a very good album well worth checking out.

3.5 stars

Report this review (#562025)
Posted Friday, November 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Showing a greater Genesis influence than previous Anyone's Daughter albums, this should have been a return to the high standards of their debut, Adonis, after the rather middling self- titled album. However, the flow of the album is ruined by the narration, which pops in periodically and severely disrupts the flow of the album. The narration is in German, but like Mellotron Storm I'd find it just as disruptive if it were in English; it's delivered in a calm monotone which is persistent enough to make it impossible to ignore. And unfortunately, because of the way the tracks flow together I've found it impossible to program a playlist which skips the tracks with narration without causing jarring discontinuities in the music. In short, this is an album which had potential but has severe issues with its implementation.
Report this review (#568097)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars Follow-up that still stands still, firmly showing AD's power, even not as strong as the albums before. Sadly, not only that I am quite allergic to German language (never could have get used to it, apologies to my German friends) and when we "remove" (god bless mp3's) such passages, we get 24 minutes, less than 2/3 of original album's length - 24 minutes of music. Of course, I missed some in these 14 minutes, but what can I do. Knowing only English, these spoken passages would be useless to me anyway.

The music (which I have a bad feeling isn't the most important thing here - narrative probably is), is like a gentle breeze - it doesn't offense, it feels fine, but you barely notice it. There are some highlights namely Der Doppelstern, where the likes of Adonis (yes the one and only) glimpses through a haze of averageness and it raises the stakes a bit, but because of the holes (as Warthur said - jams because of skipping tracks), one third of an album wasted and general a bit above average sound of the album I am forced to state the verdict as 3.

Report this review (#604738)
Posted Saturday, January 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Pictor's Metamorphoses is the third album of south german band Anyone's Daughter. It is a concept album of continuous playing time of almost 40 minutes based on a fairy-tale by Herman Hesse.

The album was recorded live on january 18th 1981 during a regular live gig by the band at the town of Heidenheim.

Until then Anyone's Daughter used mainly english song lyrics but with this record they wanted to begin to use their own german language. Having no problem with albums sung in unfamiliar languages I was very interested in listening the new "sound" of the band.

I have to say the music is played excellently as before, and the production quality is very high, sounding as a normal studio recording, with strong rhythm session and warm electric piano, synth and ELOY-like solemn pace.

The difference lies in the continuous alternating of fantastic instrumental efforts and long (slow) recitative parts (in german, as I said before) with light CAMEL-esque background music. It all gives you a sense of continuous interruptions or suspensions that is somehow frustrating.

Still a wonderful and a must have. Not at the very same level of Adonis, though.

Report this review (#644945)
Posted Saturday, March 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Here comes the most interesing part in Anyone's Daughter's history.Since the mid-70's the band developed and performed live a long piece based on Hermann Hesse's short novel ''Piktors Metamorphosis''.Always followed by a great praise by the audience, the band decided to record its final form and release it, but the management of Spiegelei refused to do so, believing that financing such a huge epic track in the 80's would be a total waste of time and economic failure.As a result the band decided to self-finance this work and, even better, they decided to perform it live, so the recations of the audience could be taped.The best place for such a recording to take place was considered the Konzerhaus in the town of Heidenheim, according to Anyone's Daughter its acoustics were simply fantastic.The recording took place eventually on January 18th 1981 and the album was released the same year.

As aforementioned, this was a single concept track, divided in 13 short pieces, where the story is narrated and followed by constant instrumental workouts.From all Anyone's Daughter influences the CAMEL reference is over the top in this album, resembling to works such as ''Moonmadness'' and ''Snowgoose''.The narrations are very nice, linked with the concept and close to the style met in NEUSCHWANSTEIN's ''Alice im Wunderland'', while the instrumental textures are closer than ever to compatriots ROUSSEAU.The music ranges from nice to simply great with mature guitar work by Uwe Karpa and featuring the beautiful and dreamy keyboard parts of Matthias Ulmer.Always in a melodic text, the album shows a slight turn by Anyone's Daughter towards their more traditional symphonic tendencies, highlighted by the spacey synthesizers, the romantic piano lines and the ANDY LATIMER-like impressive guitar work, although a certain Teutonic vibe is evident in the most dramatic parts of the album.Present are also some great Fusion vibes and jazzy touches in both the keyboard and guitar lines, but the band always hides them behind its very grandiose Symphonic Rock.

The track presented here is the final form of ''Piktors verwandlungen'', it is already noted that this piece was a work in progress since Anyone's Daughter early years.An early form of it, clocking at 25 minutes and captured in Harald Bareth's basement in 1977, is presented in the CD reissue of the album by SPV with a sound extremely close to the style of ''Adonis''.Worth investigating.

Definitely one of the longest and finest epic Prog tracks of the 80's.Lacking originality, but this is passionate and mature music, which can be listened with comfort even after so many years.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#1106311)
Posted Saturday, January 4, 2014 | Review Permalink

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