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Versailles Don Giovanni  album cover
3.63 | 31 ratings | 5 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hybridite (11:46)
2. Erre au fil des Ères (9:56)
3. Don Giovanni (15:30)
4. Subtiles Délicatesses (2:19)
5. Memoires D'Hécatombes (13:41)
6. Drama (3:21)

Total Time: 56:33

Line-up / Musicians

- Guillaume de la Piliere / vocals, guitar, flute
- Benoit de Gency / drums, chorus
- Olivier de Gency / bass, chorus
- Alain de Lille / keyboards, chorus

Releases information

CD Musea-FGBG 4056.AR-Fra-1992

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VERSAILLES Don Giovanni ratings distribution

(31 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

VERSAILLES Don Giovanni reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars If all compositions were on the level of the epic titletrack (almost 16 minutes) this album would have gained more attention: great, typical French vocals, an intro with twanging electric guitar and strings, a splendid build up, some great interludes (featuring flute and piano) and a breathtaking finale delivering magnificent eruptions with Mellotron and piano. These moments can compete with the best from ELP, Genesis and King Crimson (like the titletrack from Museo Rosenbach their masterpiece Zarathustra)! The other compositions are OK (with echo's from Pink Floyd and Genesis) but they lack the tension and dynamics from the titletrack. Nonetheless this is a good and very moving album with a lush organ sound and great guitarwork. Erik Neuteboom
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Don Giovanni" is Versailles' sophomore album, a musical work that reveals a more matured and bolder band than the one that recorded the debut album, which was only interesting. Now, with the more adventurous "Don Giovanni", the foursome manage to become real studious pupils of the 'Mona Lisa prog school'. This band is really into recovering the pure heritage of French passionate symphonic prog, a trend that was initiated by Ange and then perfected by Mona Lisa, while Atoll and Arachnoid gave it their own touch in their respective heydays. With the aforementioned acts we have described the main influences that Versailles gets the inspiration from: even the use of keyboards by Alain de Lille rescues the vintage magic of Hammond organ, Mini-Moog and the Solina string ensemble for good effect and in a featured manner. But it is guitarist/vocalist/flautist Guillaume de la Pilière, who takes center stage perpetually with both his technical instrumental skills and his typically French-styled singing. You can hear him get romantic, whine, recite, ironize, feel afraid, even emulate the castrato timber. in a heavily pronounced Dechamps-meets-Le Guennec way, only with a higher timber. The 11 minute opener 'Hybridite' is an exciting tour-de-force of successive melodies and motifs fluidly intertwined to provide effective ambiences and moods (some stronger, others softer) for the lyrics' storyline. The final "homme / homme / animal ou homme" litany delivered in a bombastic spirit is simply awesome, right until the closing explosion. 'Erre au Fil des Ères' kicks off in a gentler mood, albeit bearing a subtle somber underline. The solemn verses and choruses are quite catchy, and the brief piano-flute interlude is beautiful, albeit too short; the ethereal synthesizer solo in the middle is too short, too. Right after this solo a build-up gets in, taking to another flute moment, this time more playful and longer, which now gives the listener the chance for a proper enjoyment. The track doesn't feel as cohesive as the previous one, despite the good promise shown by the initial sung section and the conviction used by the musicians at performing the varied finale. Things get more majestic and consistent with the 15 ½ minute long title track, another tour-de-force that equals the grandeur of the title track. 'Don Giovanni' puts more emphasis on extroverted dynamics and also enhances the contrasts between the energetic sections and the soft ones. Arguably, here and in 'Memoirs d'Hecatombes' are the best performances by the rhythm section. Also, special mentions go to the tense guitar leads and the well-constructed piano interlude, sober yet revealing a clear sense of romanticism. 'Subtiles Delicatesses' is a half-Baroque half-punk interlude, a funny brief diversion between the title track and yet another long song, 'Memoires d'Hecatombes'. This one kicks off with a very robust vibe, which will remain consistent throughout the varied motifs. 'Memoires' pretty much follows in the footsteps of the title track, although I don't feel the cohesion working as well, but it's very good all the same. The album is closed down by the evocative exercise in synth orchestrations 'Drama', providing a farewell of mysterious turmoil for the album (somewhat similar to Pulsar's "Halloween"). "Don Giovanni" is the perfect item for those who wish that the good old sound of Ange, Atoll and Mona Lisa would have never died.
Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars French bands do not seem to interest a lot of people on this site. The language barrier ? Maybe. But it is a pity to be reluctant to listen to some bands just because of the language. Credit must be given to "Versailles". To start a band in the early nineties and producing this great symphonic prog is not the easy thing to do.

Very little exposure, some recognition of course (but almost only in France) the band will release four albums and then call it quit. Most of the members will re-form the legendary "Mona Lisa", but this is another story.

Most of the songs are rather extended (except two). This is typical symph prog form the seventies (but I think that some of us might like this period...). Omnipresent keyboards, very nice flute passages, melodies, and again melodies...

Lot of people compare the vocals to the ones of Christian Descamps; and it is true that in some songs he sounds almost like him. Like during "Subtiles Délicatesses". When you listen to it, you might think that it is just a nice little song; not important. If you understand the lyrics, it is one of the most outrageous and almost pornographic that I have ever heard (it reminds me when I was a student and we used to sing lots of these type of songs. Belgian student parties - guindailles - are quite famous for this).

I guess that this song has hardly make any radio appearence. Rather vulgar but so funny, so irreverent. Just great. But mostly for the lyrics. With "Drama", there won't be any language barrier since it is an instrumental. Fully symphonic and delicate. So, even the short breaks are much more than fillers.

"Mémoires D'Hécatombes" is harder. More guitar-oriented. But at the same time, it will feature an opera section which will add a lot of drama. A bizarre piece of music. Scary and different. The keys here even sound like the Manzarek ones (yes, from "The Doors").

All these good tracks... And I haven't told you anything from the epic of this album. "Don Giovanni". A great mix of "Versailles" skills : good vocals, nice flute, performant keyboards (almost classical, ELP-ish), not too complex music yet personal, indecent lyrics "La Femelle Ecartelée, de tous les côtés..." : "The quartered female, from all sides...". Lots of sexual connotations of course. This is the most intricate song of the whole. Crimsonesque at times.

Versailles'music is pleasant, complex enough but far from being a mental masturbation exercise. Of course, some musical passages will remind the early Genesis. But only remind. I really like "this "Don Giovanni". Four stars.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Versailles is one of the most intristing french progressive rock I've ever heared so far. With only 4 albums released, they manage to create or re create some fantastic prog like it was made in old school, specially Mona Lisa comes in mind or Ange similarities. Their second album from 1992 named Don Giovani issued at Musea records is a fantastic journey both musicaly and lyrical. The music is very demanding, with lots of keyboards, guitars , drums all over the place, keep all the ingredints under symphonic prog flag. Lenghty pieces, 4 out of 6 are over 10 min, excelent musicinship and above all a doze of theatrical aproch like french masters Ange or Mona Lisa done decades ago. Very nice and intelligent are constructed the arrangements, from nice flute and keyboards passages to more uptempo moments, Versailles done a great job here, better then their first album. Lyricaly speaking this is a real sexual orientated album, very well written album, I needed time to understand what is going one here, because is not an easy album to listen and understands only after couple of listnings. In the end a true jam of an album, quite unnoticed world wide, they are among the best in their field. Very strong and album and my fav from all 4 Versailles releases. First track, Hybridite is a killer pieces, where all the musicians truly shine, like on the rest of course. Recommended band for all those who want to discover intellingent symphonic prog.4 stars easy.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Shortly after the release of ''La cathedrale du temps'' Patrice Le Roy parted ways with Versailles and he was replaced by Olivier de Gency (propably the brother of drummer Benoit de Gency).This line-up change was not enough to hold down the band from producing a second album, just one year after their debut.Musically more of a team work with lyrics again entirely written by singer/guitarist Guillaume de la Pilière, ''Don Giovanni'' was released in 1992.

Here Versailles abandon the short music forms of the debut for extended, long compositions with plenty of variations.Four out of the six tracks are 10 minutes or longer with evident 70's influences and a slighter turn towards a more Neo Prog sound with powerful guitars and heavy use of synthesizers.Still the Classical influences prevail and the resemblance to classic French acts like ANGE or MONA LISA leads Versailles' music for yet another album.They do combine with comfort the muddy Mellotron and Hammond organ washes with the delicacy of piano interludes and the edge of digital synthesizers to offer multilple, different textures that can get too dramatic and theatrical at times.Of course not all things stand on the right side in ''Don Giovanni''.The lack of original ideas is slightly disturbing, while the long pieces do suffer from inconsistency, containing both excellent and mediocre moments.Still there is some great balance between the vocal and the instrumental passages, the later include some bombastic moves with dual keyboard deliveries and even some very impressive guitar work.On ''Erre au fil des eres'' they come up with their best performance by far, a fantastic piece of atmospheric Symphonic Rock with strong ANGE inspirations in the keyboard themes but also some nice fresh ideas in the long instrumental runs.

Very talented group.The short time between the first and second work seems to have affect the result, which could have been even better in my opinion.No question though, this is a pretty great addition for all fans of Neo/Symphonic Prog with bright vintage colors.Recommened.

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