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FLAIRCK

Prog Folk • Netherlands


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Flairck picture
Flairck biography
Founded in The Netherlands in 1978 - Still active as of 2019

FLAIRCK are a Dutch ensemble formed by Erik Visser, an Indonesian-born acoustic instrumentalist with classical training and a strong interest in many forms of world music. The band released their first studio album 'Variaties Op Een Dame' (Variations on a Lady) in 1978, and has issued more than two dozen studio, live and compilation releases since then.

The band incorporates a number of world influences in their work, which has been described as chamber music but which actually features many styles including classical, folk, jazz and blues, as well as Eastern European and Celtic traditional music. The band primarily performs original compositions, and has worked with a number of renowned world music artists including Georges Moustaki, Nelleke Burg and Dimitri van Toren. The group has also recorded and performed with numerous symphony orchestras and has contributed scores for film, stage and ballet.

Visser and the other band members have a strong interest in obscure and exotic acoustic instruments, and have amassed a collection of more than 150 wind, string and percussion instruments, many of which are used in their studio recordings and live performances.

The band celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2002 with the release of a multi-disciplined DVD dedicated to the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. The video features original scores by the band as well acrobatics, detailed views of Bosch's work and interviews of various band members. Visser took advantage of a hiatus by the band in 2003 to release a solo work entitled 'One Man Parade'.

FLAIRCK are a classic example of a progressive musical collective with wide-ranging influences and a constantly evolving sound. They are a logical and welcome addition to the ProgArchives.

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FLAIRCK discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FLAIRCK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.94 | 52 ratings
Variaties Op Een Dame
1978
4.01 | 43 ratings
Gevecht Met De Engel [Aka: The Lady's Back]
1980
3.48 | 30 ratings
Circus
1981
2.80 | 11 ratings
Moustaki & Flairck
1982
3.23 | 17 ratings
Bal Masqu
1984
3.02 | 16 ratings
Sleight Of Hand
1986
3.33 | 6 ratings
Flairck 10 [Aka: The Emigrant]
1988
4.00 | 14 ratings
De Optocht
1992
3.00 | 13 ratings
Kamers / Chambers
1994
2.95 | 10 ratings
De Gouden Eeuw
1996
1.29 | 5 ratings
Cuerpos Tocados - Music For The Body
1998
4.28 | 30 ratings
Symphony For The Old World
2000
4.00 | 12 ratings
Back Alive
2020

FLAIRCK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.06 | 15 ratings
Live in Amsterdam
1980
2.12 | 8 ratings
Flairck & Orkest
1982
3.92 | 4 ratings
Encore
1985
3.91 | 6 ratings
Alive
1990
3.25 | 7 ratings
En Vivo en Chile
1995

FLAIRCK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FLAIRCK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 6 ratings
Twee en twintig oeuvre cd box
2007

FLAIRCK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

FLAIRCK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Back Alive by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 12 ratings

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Back Alive
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by thedunno

4 stars Flairck is back with a completely new line-up. For many years Flairck practically was Erik Visser who was the only remaining member of the original line-up and wrote the vast majority of the material. A few years ago Erik Visser called it a day but Pablo Ortiz wanted to continue, with the approval of Erik Visser. He called in the help of Joris Vanvinckenroye (Aranis) and together they started building a new Flairck and also started writing new material.

The lineup now is: Pablo Ortiz (guitars and composition) Joris Vanvinckenroye (double bass and composition) Jeroen Goossens (flutes and other woodwinds) Anouk Sanczuk (violin and viola) Zhazira Ukeyeva (violin)

The new material is fresh and energetic. The sound is still pretty familiar 'Flairck' but perhaps a bit more emphasis is on the compositions then on the virtuosity of the members. Highlights for me are "Nepata Cataria', with some superb bassoon (!) by Jeroen Goossens, and 'The stoned wedding'. Also the joyful tune 'Peters Weekend' composed by original member Peter Weekers should not remain unmentioned.

The result is a very enjoyable album that prog-folk fans should certainly give a try. 4 out of 5 stars easily!

 Gevecht Met De Engel [Aka: The Lady's Back] by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.01 | 43 ratings

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Gevecht Met De Engel [Aka: The Lady's Back]
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by Kelder

3 stars Flairdz

"Battle With The Angel" is the second album by Dutch group Flairck. This is one of those records that you can find in EVERY recordshop in Holland for less than 3 euro. I bought this together with their first record after seeing its inclusion here on the Prog Archives.

Just like the award-winning first record, this album features great instrumental songs with a variety of acoustic instruments. The musicians are all professionals, the sound quality and dynamics are superb, the coverart is beautiful. So what's not to like? Well, that being the lack of interesting music. Especially after hearing the first album. While I LOVE the first record, this album seems kinda dull and pretty annoying to me.

The album starts with Oost-West Express. A really nice song with great flute melody. It reminds me a lot of Voorspel in Sofia (Foreplay In Sofia) from the first record. Next comes De Vlinder which is based on a Irish tune. Played really well and the sitar creates a peacefull atmosphere. After those two great songs you get a totally forgetable small piece followed by De Stoomwals. Stoomwals is not bad at all. It shows another ability of the musicians to spread a flute melody over an array of flutes. Unfortunately, this song is also quite forgetable and the ending makes it EXTREMELY annoying. De Stoomwals is one of those songs that draws you in and makes you at ease but then suddenly wakes you from your sleep just to show how pretentious the album is. I get it, it's called Stoomwals (so you hear STEAM)...

The other half of the record consist of the title track Battle with the Angel. For me this is really a song that doesn't go anywhere. Just bits of some good ideas intertwined with filler. I played this side 5 times over just because I really wanted to like it. But I don't.

Last: the logo really bothers me! The first record had a good logo that you could read: Flairk. On this album the logo looks forced symmetrical and it totally unreadable. Who writes a ''k'' like ''dz''... Also the ''F'' could be seen as an ''H'' os even ''Sh''. Actually for a really long time it thought this band was called Flairdz. I would see this album a LOT in Dutch recordstores and I always called them Flairdz.

Conclusion: The album starts with 2 great songs: Oost-West Express and De Vlinder. Next are just some forgettable or annoying songs. If you just got interested in this band you should start with their first album: "Variaties op een Dame" and I suggest to stay there! Their first album was something new and exciting and really well crafted. This album is just a continuing of that style but more watered down. And the band is called Flairck, not Flairdz.

 Variaties Op Een Dame by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.94 | 52 ratings

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Variaties Op Een Dame
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars The brilliant and startling debut from this collective of young Dutch virtuosi inspired by classical and folk traditions far and wide.

1. "Aoife" (6:28) opens with a soft, laid back, beautiful weave between two string instruments (the Visser brothers' guitars). After a few rounds, in the third minute, the viola and panpipes join in. There is a slight shift in melody with a key shift at the 3:53 mark, the instrumental composition staying the same but everyone moving up the scales a bit to higher pitches. At 5:05 we drop back into the mid-range--though, again, there is a slight shift of melody and pacing. Beautiful song. What an opener! (13.5/15)

2. "Voorspel in Sofia" (7:06) opens with first one guitar, and then another, picking and strumming at a fast speed (they're in a hurry!) before panpipes enter and present the fast melody. At 1:15 the violin enters and there is a shift in structure and form though the pacing is still very fast and relentless. At 2:20 another shift in rhythmic structure ushers in a section in which panpipes and violin trade soli for a minute until bird-chirping from each instrument distracts us from a major slowdown from the guitars beneath. This new slow section doesn't change much in terms of structure or melody as violin and panpipes continue alternating their exposition and play with the pre-existing melody. At 5:45 Erik switches over to his mandola as Hans takes up the acoustic bass as the music speeds back up to the original pacing and as the panpipes and violin continue vying for the lead. (13.5/15)

3. "April 3rd" (5:39) sitar and mandola open this with a slow, spacious structure in which to present a variation on the main melodic theme of the Adagio from Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. Before the end of the first minute the sitar's lead switches the melody to something else--original or not, perhaps Celtic (more in the vein of Alan Stivell's work), it is familiar. In the fourth minute the sitar leaves and a flute takes its place. The sitar returns and kind of weaves its lower-range melody into the mix though the flute retains the lead. Nice song. (9/10)

4. "Oneven Wals (7:17) guitar and violin open this song with soft, delicate note interplay before being joined by flute (multiple?) and violin (multiple?). The weave is very soothing and flowing until the end of the third minute when a bridge signals the tempo change that happens at the 3:00 mark. A quickened pace yet retaining the smooth, aquatic flow of the music opens The fast, almost frenzied pace of the two lead instruments--the flute and violin--in the seventh minute is This may be the song that displays these musicians' virtuosity the best. I would also not be surprised to learn that this song was developed and recorded later than the previous three as it's engineering and compositional sophistication seems greater, deeper. (14/15)

5. "Variaties op een Dame (21:25) opening with four instrumentalists entering into a relaxed conversation using a melody familiar to me from Celtic music (or Pucchini opera). Eventually, in the third minute, yielding the center of attention to allow each of the others to have turns "speaking." The pastoral pacing is like a relaxed stroll on the grounds of a country estate or a pleasant tea on the veranda under the afternoon June sun. At 4:40 the music switches gears though the "Ode to Joy"-like melodic theme dominates the violin's play as the piccolo plays his own separate melody and guitar and double bass accompany. In the seventh minute a kind of Vivaldi lull falls upon the quintet as the violin falls into the telling of a particularly heart-wrenching story (using a melodic theme that is familiar to me from Alan Stivell's "Ys" from Renaissance of the Celtic Harp) This long unaccompanied violin solo again moves into Vivaldi territory with several familiar melodic themes being employed--including some more of Rodrigo. This continues to the 10:40 mark when everybody jumps back into a frenzy of activity, fast but not unnerving or chaotic, rather contrived work activity. At 12:30 we have evolved into a dance-like jig with multiple sections repeating over and over with collective weaves and solo sections, but all flowing seemlessly at the same pace. At 13:20 this stops and shifts into a more Iberian theme and style with some nice dual-instrument (piccolo and violin) presentation of the melody while the acoustic guitars strum along in a Spanish fashion. Another abrupt end at 15:14 opens the door for a more minimalists section in which a single bass guitar arpeggio and transverse flute plays a soft, distant, multi-octave melody. Guitars join in softly and the flute solo moves front and center to become more jazz-like until everything scales back again in the eighteenth minute to allow bass arpeggio be the lone supporter for a very active, breathy, vocal-accompanied/augmented flute solo. A very cool section! At the 19:00 mark everything cuts out once more, leaving space in which a viola enters to lay down a slow, plaintive melody. Violin is eventually joined by as the music starts to slowly construct a kind of Romani song, with instruments and pacing coming together slowly and then picking up faster and faster until the panpipes, violin and guitars are brought to a crescendo to close. Wow! What a trip! What masterful performances of a truly amazing composition! I can find neither fault or detriment to either the music or the level of engagement proffered by this song. This is about as close to perfection as music can get. (39/40)

6. "Dubbelspel (1:22) a fast run through a kind of lullaby or nursery song using a folk-bluegrass style. (4.25/5)

Total Time: 49:17

Five stars; a masterpiece of progressive folk music and a shining example of what virtuosic instrumentalists can create with traditional instruments and melodies.

 Gevecht Met De Engel [Aka: The Lady's Back] by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.01 | 43 ratings

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Gevecht Met De Engel [Aka: The Lady's Back]
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars This album notes the welcome of violin virtuoso Sylvia Houtzager as well as the disposal of any drumming. As usual, there are no vocals, but this is an absolutely brilliant display of tightly woven acoustic folk music of the ancient Celtic acoustic kind. As many many other reviewers have said before me, though this is all acoustic instrumentation, the music of Flairck feels and sounds like the most centered progressive rock music one can find. Full of a broad spectrum of sound dynamics, melodies, frequent variations in time and key signatures, and musicians who are definitely virtuosi of their instruments, this stuff rocks, it impresses, it melts your heart.

1. "Oost-west Express" (East-West Express) (4:49) opens with some fast finger-picking on steel-string guitar, joined by second guitar in the second round, panpipes in the third, violin in the fourth and the quartet builds, congeals, detonates, reels, keens, kneels, serenades, danses, and finally spins wildly out of control. Cool song with very diverse and yet very old-feeling folk roots. (9/10)

2. "De Vlinder" (The Butterfly) (7:25) opens with solo flute trilling and flitting before guitar and sitar join in and take over with a melody that is borrowed from a very famous Celtic folk song. At the two minute mark Uillean pipes take over and strings shift beautifully, effortlessly, to support/accompaniment. Then, at the three minute mark, the tempo suddenly shifts with the sudden and forceful arrival of the violin, speeding her way through an amped up variation on the same Celtic melody. Flute takes over with fast-strumming of 12-string for a bit before pipes and violin duet the melody lead with the same 12-string accompaniment. At 5:20 things slow down as the melody transposes into a different key and temporary minor version before returning to the with three different instruments maintaining their own version of the lead melody in speed-dial. Wow! The final 30 seconds of slow- down are almost necessary for cool down. (15/15)

3. "Voor Antoinette" (For Antoinette) (2:08) nice acoustic guitar duet with a lullaby feel. (4.5/5)

4. "De Stoomwals" (Steam Engine Waltz) (8:29) panpipes based, this one represents very simple traditional folk melodies that could come from the Andes, the Pyrenees, the Caucasus, or the Balkans. The guitars, harp and violins accompany throughout but rarely take the lead away from the panpipes. I don't know why some versions of this song lack the calliope- (and steam engine-)like multi-panpipes intro and outro. (17/20)

5. "Gevecht Met De Engel Deel I" (8:25) opens with a flourish of multiple instruments bursting into a very Spanish sounding theme before breaking down after half a minute into a less cohesive, almost classical-sounding loose weave of the individual instruments. Spanish guitar moves into the fore solo, before flutes, violin and guitars come together for another, different frenzy flourish. At 2:00 things slow down into a delicate weave of gently picked arpeggio (sounding very GENESIS-like) setting the scene for a slow, plaintive flute solo. Spanish guitar and other guitar do some very interesting, technically challenging things in support, before the ensemble again rests for a slower Spanish guitar solo. Flute and violin join back in at the 3:40 mark, each carrying its own melody while gently- picked guitars support. At 4:32 a bass guitar enters and the rhythm guitars begin to strum more forcefully while violin and flute continue to play their separate-yet-interlaced (one mirroring the other) solos. After the six minute mark, the group amps up again--especially the strumming guitars--while flute and violin march on steadfastly. Guitars and bass settle back into the fold to support the powerful melody before a kind of Chinese weave of all the instruments (again, sounding very GENESIS-like) forms to play out to the end. Wow! It doesn't get much prettier or impressive than this! (19/20)

6. "Gevecht Met De Engel Deel II" (8:35) pastoral nylon string guitar opens this one before 12-string joins in and then harp. Gorgeous! After 90 seconds of this the classical guitar takes a more aggressive, Andalusian approach to the lead while 12-string and harp continue their beautiful support. At the end of the third minute all instruments drop away except for the classical guitar--doing the solo. In the fifth minute multiple bowed strings join in before classical guitar shifts its tone and force into a very Rodrigo-like (and then Mike Oldfield "Incantations 1") section. At the six minute mark flute enters with another very familiar Celtic melody while violin supports as guitars fall into accompanying roles. Classical guitar steps in to triplicate the lead instruments. What wonderful arrangements this quartet creates! Amazing! (20/20)

7. "Gevecht Met De Engel Deel III" (5:28) a kind of weave of several famous classical and folk styles and melodies-- from Beethoven to Romani to Rimsky-Korsakov to Ravel or Bizet. (9.5/10)

Total time: 44:03

Amazing compositions performed by top-notch virtuosi musicians. The only tiny complaint I have is concerning the borrowing of famous melody lines and playing styles from other European folk and classical traditions (even though they do it so amazingly well).

Five stars; a masterpiece of symphonic Progressive Folk music.

 Variaties Op Een Dame by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.94 | 52 ratings

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Variaties Op Een Dame
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Well, I have never heard of this dutch quartet until my good friend Erik Neuteboom told me about them.Variates Op Een Dame is their first album, released in 1978. It really surprised me a lot, since the music here is totally acoustic and does not even have drums. So it is not rock. In fact, it is hard to label their sound because Flairck is simply too different, even if their influences are easy to tell: folk, classical, jazz, eastern and world music in general, among others. All wrapped up by their sheer musicianship and excellent songwriting abilities. The instrumentation is quite simple: acoustic guitars, violin, flutes and acoustic bass guitar. Some odd instruments like sitar and pan flute are also included, although the booklet does not say exactly who played what.

Although there is no rock, the songs are quite energetic most of the time, showing off both their great technic and fine craftsmanship in penning good tunes. Sometimes they take their virtuosity a little too far, as most 70´s acts did, but that´s forgivable. After all, it was hip then and those moments don´t last too long. And their sound is definitely progressive: just listen to the many variations and mood swings of the title track with its 21:25 running time. Not too many groups can hold anyone´s attention for that long in a purely instrumental basis, with such few instruments and no electronic effects at all. Besides the tunes are quite complex and surely takes time to fully enjoy the music here, but you´ll be reward if you do listen carefully. There are no lows and all the tracks are very strong. I really liked the even flow of the songs, making it a very nice listen all the way through. All is helped by the brilliant recording, that balanced the instruments well and clear. The cover is also great.

Conclusion: quite a debut! it´s hard to believe they started in a year when prog music in general were in such low moment. If you like something original and acoustic, or good music in general, this is a CD you can not miss. I´m looking forward to hear their next works. Recommended!

 Circus by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.48 | 30 ratings

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Circus
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 1980 Flairck released their classic live album ''Live in Amsterdam'', a show that meant to be among the last contributions of Peter Weekers to the band.When he left, his place was taken by Annet Visser, while the new line-up became complete with the addition of Ted de Jong, the man could play various percussions, the xylophone, the sitar, the vibraphone and several other traditional instruments.The new formation of Flairck returned in 1981 with the album ''Circus''.

You should forget about the deep dives of the band into Chamber Folk and Classical Music, because this third album sounds more like World Music mixed with Ethno Prog, borrowing elements from nearly every possible corner of this mighty planet.Four lengthy tracks, all of them clock at over 10 minutes, exhibiting a wide range of acoustic instruments and several traditional musical styles as well as the standard interplays heard in Flairck's musicianship.At this point they sound like a less-focused MANEIGE, they shared the same taste for an affair between Folk Music and Fusion, creating emphatic instrumental interactions with lack of a vocal content and producing rich, all-acoustic soundscapes.On the other hand the material here contains so many national sounds and sights, that becomes a bit directionless at moments, while the music becomes hard to follow due to a very academic approach.These lovely symphonic interludes have been significantly reduced and instead you get a multi-ethnic proposal, which has its own charm, but leaves much to be desired.Echoes of Eastern, Andean, Balkan, Mediterrenean, Country and Spanish Music can be heard at specific moments during this Folk/Fusion orgasm of different colors, but I guess I am among the few people considering that this ends up to be rather messy.The performances are trully virtuosic and flawless, no doubt about it, and Flairck had to be one hell of an all-acoustic mini orchestra back at the time, but ''Circus'' fails to deliver the great feelings of the previous albums.

So, some strange situation here.I think the instrumental execution belongs among the very best ever to be displayed by the Hollanders.I just believe the result is rather chaotic, unfocused and ultra-professional for casual listeners.At least the title of the album was really succesful and the cover art is among the best you can find around.Recommended for lovers of Ethnic Music and Acoustic Prog...2.5 stars.

 Gevecht Met De Engel [Aka: The Lady's Back] by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.01 | 43 ratings

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Gevecht Met De Engel [Aka: The Lady's Back]
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The first album of Flairck was unique in its own way and quite succesful, receiveing three music awards, among them an Edison one.For their second work the Visser brothers recruited new female violininst Sylvia Houtzager, while they also changed the recording home, heading for the Dureco Studio in Weesp.The second album carried the title ''Gevecht met de engel'' (''Battle with the angel''), although its English version was named ''The lady's back''.Both versions were released in 1980 on Polydor.

Another impressive amalgam of Folk and Chamber Music, resulting a charming acoustic Fusion album, was the proposal of the band, although this time the symphonic references are more pronounced, making Flairck something of a European equivalent to MANEIGE, despite the different traditional references.Flairck sound more romantic and sensitive, performing four mini-suites on the opening side and a 22-min/three-part epic composition on the flipside.The album is a storm of flute/violin interplays with references to Classical and Medieval periods, characterized by nice breaks from dramatic segments to soft soundscapes and sweet melodies.The long title-track sounds like a Classical suite performed on acoustic guitars, flute and violin with absence of drums and focusing on stretched individual executions, sometimes lasting a bit too long.However the instrumental depth and superb, melancholic atmosphere are definitely surprising.The opening side actually sounds more progressive, as most of the pieces contain extended instrumental interactions and plenty of shifting climates with some fantastic executions, while the epic piece is more romantic in nature with a more mellow mood.

This acoustic ensemble was pretty original and ''Gevecht met de engel'' is a beautiful work of Folk/Fusion with dramatic instrumental textures and attractive interplays.Strongly recommended, even if you are not a fan of totally acoustic music...3.5 stars.

 Variaties Op Een Dame by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.94 | 52 ratings

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Variaties Op Een Dame
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Acoustic ensemble from Ulvenhout, Holland, performing around guitarist Erik Vesser.The first rehearsals of the band took part in 1976 with Peter Weekers on wind instruments, Erik's brother Hans on bass and female violin player Judy Schomper.Two years of preparation followed before the band signs a deal with Polydor and releases the debut ''Variaties op een Dame'' in 1978.

Flairck were like no other band regarding Holland, they were a band with an all acoustic but very rich sound, somewhat divided between Classical Chamber Music and Folk.The first side of the original LP contains rather laid-back musicianship with many folk references, the guitar playing of Erik Visser remains in the background with no particular surprises and the majority of the instrumental arrangements is led by the talent of Weekers and its dominant work on flutes, pipes and whistles.On ''Oneven wals'' though things become more serious.Plenty of great interplays and beautiful harmonies on an uptempo acoustic piece full of lovely soundscapes and balanced work on bass, flutes, violins and acoustic guitars, sounds a delicate piece stepping both into symphonic and folk territories.Of course the album is mostly known for its almost sidelong eponymous suite, clocking at 21 min. long, and offering all the basic tunes met in the first side.From melancholic passages with crying violins and depressive flutes to energetic Chamber Music with Classical references and some nice, fiery battles between the musicians.A great track, however the middle-based violin solo prevents from being rather great.

The album received some high praise back in the days, winning several awards as a very innovative release.And actually it is, with its deep energy hidden behind the acoustic instrumentation making it almost a must-have for fans of challenging acoustic experiences.But even a more rock-friendly prog fan will met some desired interplays in here.Recommended.

 En Vivo en Chile by FLAIRCK album cover Live, 1995
3.25 | 7 ratings

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En Vivo en Chile
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars The so far last (final ?) live album from these Dutch masters of symphonic prog/folk rock.

And a different kettle than their other live albums. This one is much more laid back and somber than the other live albums. The instrumentation is down to the bare basics and the dynamics is on a different level again. Even a great song like Variations on A Lady has lost a lot of it's life.

That is my problem here. Flairck is fantastic and can blow any band - Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Dream Theater, Rush, Metallica & Co - cleanly of the stage with their vitality and musicality. And those who doubts me (or laughs out loud/requires medical attention due to strained tummy muscles) ; check out the other live albums. But they left the pulse and vitality at home. What's left is a band working on 2/3 of their capacity and perhaps creating a new musical expression by that. But I want the good old Flairck back from the other live albums. Maybe that is not possible. But this live album is not Flairck at their best, I am afraid. It is still a good live album though and is recommended. All Flairck albums is recommended, in my humble views. Flairck is a truly fantastic band, in my anything but humble opinion.

3 stars

 Symphony For The Old World by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.28 | 30 ratings

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Symphony For The Old World
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by toroddfuglesteg

5 stars Flairck exits (??) with their most ambitious project ever.

A double live album full of folk music is not what should entice a symph head like myself. But this album, although live, has a lot in common with the double concept albums from the symph prog scene. Like for example Genesis album Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. Then you have a look at the tracklisting here and you think that does not make sense whatsoever. Well, you are wrong.

Symphony For The Old World consist of made up folk music symphonies from east, west, north and south. That and a finale and an encore. I believe all of this is new music too, played live. All symphonies are on average 25 minutes long. And it is easy to detect which symphony you are listening to. The starting symphony The West, all twenty-four minutes of it contains a lot of bluegrass, country and jazz in addition to South American folk music. That off course refers to the Americas, north and south. The twenty-seven minutes long The East symphony have a lot of gypsy, Eastern Europe and further afield folk music. That is the Disc 1.

Disc 2 starts with the twenty-three minutes The North with a good nod to the Swedish folk music scene, Icelandic psalms and in particular; the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. The best symphony on Symphony For The Old World, in my view. But you would not excect anything else from a Scandinavian, would you ? The longest symphony here, clocking in at over thirty minutes, is The South which contains Spanish flamenco and a lot of other influences I am not able to detect due to a large hole in my knowledge base. The five minutes each Finale and Encore ties up the loose ends.

Symphony For The Old World is by all means a symphonic prog album, containing folk music. Period. The musicianship is excellent and Flairck has exceeded themselves here by a solid margin. The quality of the symphonies are excellent and the concept is easy to follow. If this indeed is the final Flairck album, they have given us something the coming generations of music lovers will cherish as the masterpiece it is. And that from one of the best bands this scene has ever witnessed. I cannot recommend this masterpiece highly enough to anyone interested in excellent progressive music. Hence my verdict.

5 stars

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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