Saturday, October 30, 2010

April Orchestra Volume 28

[from wikipedia] Jirí Stivín (born 23 November 1942 in Prague) is a Czech flute player and composer. He graduated from the Film Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU). He also studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music as well as at the Prague Academy of Music (AMU). Some of his compositions are featured in this album by April Orchestra. This seems to have been an easy-listening type orch. that published all kinds of dross over the years. Surprisingly there is no wikipedia entry for it, and only a brief one for Mr. Stivin. Note that the April O. Volume featured on Stivin's website, oddly enough, is not the same as this one. However, as pure music, this record has provided me personally with no end of enjoyment, listening to it again today I can go without hitting the fast forward button excessively, which is saying a lot after spending the last 10 years (with 4 year break) listening to an average of 5 albums per day, cumulatively, about 10,000. (Could it really be that few??) The fact that this otherwise ordinary orchestra could produce something so advanced in 1978 is a testament again to the progressive nature of the times.

We start with the Stivin Sanguine humour composition (which is taken from his zodiac album, a progressive masterpiece). It has a string quartet opening that shows his academic training, leading to an odd piano-comped flute ditty. The second track starts with a blues intro but swiftly leads into some insane horn chords and then an ingenious chromatic riff, basically big band meets king crimson perhaps. Next track uses wah wah trumpet on top of C minor, relatively throwaway, as is the next song. Many would love these 'funk breaks' I think but for non-prog reasons. On track 5 we get some twilight zone dissonances and then some early seventies style riffs. Track 7, Festival, has some Charlie Mingus touches. The next one "More Klidu" again feels like it belongs to an earlier epoch, with the breathless Nouvelle Vague female vocals singing on top of a very soft electric piano obbligato, the melody seconded by a bassoon (?) of all things. Very interesting arrangement. What a shame this track was not developed further into a pop song. Cholerici is again a Stivin composition from Zodiac, some really interesting violin sweeps in the string quartet appear with some clarinet (?) melodies and dissonant chords off the harpsichord. This is the kind of track that kills me because it's not performed in lieu of Brahms (or more appropriately Bartok) at the local symphony or chamber orchestra. Mr. Stivin obviously spent quite some time writing this piece and what credit does he get for it in the annals of music? Just some silly paragraphs on a blog in the virtual blogosphere.
More funky tracks ensue, another wordless female track in "sen o zemi" this time with some really interesting orchestral strings accompaniment-- reminds me a lot of Joachim Kuhn in the cinemascope period, or Abraxis (Belgian) with the really colourful mixture of orchestra, piano, and vocals in an accessible (easy-listening-style) format. The last track sounds like a jazz q song, probably someone annoying can correct me here. They again use the minor second for that devilish sound that prog (and fusion, Urbaniak and Mahavishnu) loves so much, how many songs do you hear start with an electric guitar doing the minor second arpeggio on a minor chord? Always we sit back and pray that it doesn't turn into a song with E minor then F major over and over again, that gets so boring when there's only 2 chords in the entire song. At least 2 chords is better than german trance stuff where typically we never get past the E. At least try a different key, guys, maybe B minor, for a change.

I wish there was more information to be found on this whole album other than my own solipsistic interpretation of it through little earbuds but of course to me that doesn't matter at all, the only thing that matters to me is that this music be heard by more people, the maximum in fact.

I hope earlier comments about my children were not misunderstood, I truly love them of course and was only joking about them being terrifyingly abnormal. Since then I must say I have had quite a reaction on my 'mommy blog' (which is my dayjob now, I quit my other dayjob setting licencing standards for dogs, I get a lot of money now from the mommy blog, not as much as Julie and Julia mind you, but that's because my name isn't as catchy, and maybe because I'm not actually a mother) from my prime advertisers (pampers, wetwipes and First Response pregtest kit) threatening to hold off all ads until I recant and swear in a lie detector coupled with a chocolate MRI that I truly do love them. Looks like my long-sought after hollywood movie deal which was supposed to star Julia Roberts as the mom, Jamie Lee Curtis as the dad, and the Jon and Kate sextuplets as my 2 kids (they were to alternate in different scenes) is going to fall through as a result, leading to millions of dollars in losses for myself and my wonderful money manager, Bernie Madoff. Nora Ephron was supposed to pen the screenplay, on a paper napkin. And for director we had of course Ron Howard from Happy Days, along with Emmanuel Lewis as the older boy with a cameo from Pierce Brosnan as the king of England. I want to add that I am getting tired of all these other mommy blogs, do people really have nothing better to do than talk about their crazy kids all day long while seeing them all day, do they have to bore other people about them too? I swear when my wife returns to earth I will withdraw from all my advertising contracts, even the one I just inked with wonderbra. I just wish she would get back from her spacewalk so I could phone her on her cellphone I'm sick and tired of the older guy knocking over the baby. Finally, I would like to sincerely apologize to Pampers and Wetwipes for any malicious emails they received from angry readers, to Firstresponse for any women unwilling to get pregnant as a result of my comments leading to loss of sales, and to my kids' mother (for my help in producing these guys).

Domáci votna mezi telem a dusi...
Den Svatebni...


Tristan Stefan said...

litlgrey said...

Hi. This has been offered before.

If nothing else, they can fill in the missing cover scan.

Tristan Stefan said...

right I'll make sure to ask you first before posting something that has been posted already, litlgrey

Anonymous said...

Welly-well, to shed some light on this "mystery" record, the tracklist actually looks as follows:

01 - Jiří Stivín & Gabriel Jonáš - Sangvinici
02 - Václav Týfa & Konstelace - Loutna česká (Předmluva)
03 - Václav Týfa & Konstelace - Loutna česká (Svatební prstýnek)
04 - Václav Týfa & Konstelace - Loutna česká (Panenská láska)
05 - Václav Týfa & Konstelace - Loutna česká (Domácí vojna mezi tělem a duší)
06 - Václav Týfa & Konstelace - Loutna česká (Den svatební)
07 - Gustav Brom Orchestra - Festival
08 - Mahagon - Moře klidu
09 - Jiří Stivín & Gabriel Jonáš - Cholerici
10 - Mahagon - Člověk kybernet
11 - Mahagon - Sen o zemi
12 - Mahagon - Oči nevidomých zrcadel

It's a compilation of previously released tracks, probably licensed pretty cheap from Supraphon back then. (The Czechoslovak communist authorities were happy about any hard currency sources at that time, and they were getting the cash by any means, even by shameless sellout of their best jazz artists…)

Tracks 1 and 9 are from "Zvěrokruh/Zodiac" (Supraphon 1152015), tracks 2 to 6 is the "Loutna česká" suite from "Václav Týfa & Konstelace Josefa Vobruby" (Supraphon 1131599), track 7 is from "Polymelomodus" (Supraphon 1152143), tracks 8 and 10 to 12 are from "Mahagon" (Supraphon 1152145).

All other facts and credits can be looked up on the respective records.
Hope that helps.

Tristan Stefan said...

Well I give up, I'm not sharing anymore openly, thanks to you litlgrey. There's no way I'm letting you get anymore rarities from me.

Anonymous said...

If you are reffering to the tracklist I've sent few hours ago: I'm not "litlgrey".
It seems to me though, that you were misinterpreting litlgrey's previous comment anyway. He was only trying to be helpful, just like me.
But if you can't even deal with well ment and polite comments, then you may have a problem indeed, and thus you may better want to stay off "Teh Evil Interwebs" in order to avoid it altogether…

(You do not need to publish this comment either. Cheers…)

isabelbc said...

Very good album, Tristan!
thank you! :o)

Tristan Stefan said...

1st, these nasty ad hoc and ad hominem comments are so typical of what to expect online, I'm not the first to make the observation of lack of civility made possible via anonymity
2nd, I will continue sharing albums obviously but with those with sufficient social skills to express gratitude, in an attempt at avoiding the leeches that so populate 'Teh Evil Interwebs' [Sic]
3rd, use of the term 'welly-well' says everything about who you are as a person
4th you can answer as rudely (for the de rigueur 'final word') as you'd like since I won't comment again here

Anonymous said...

litlgrey is on tons of blogs bitchin' about every little detail possible... GTFO

Capt. Willard said...

Hi Proggers,

Excuse the comment clutter...
Wanted to let you know that we were zapped by The Man, but were back with a new home. If you could update/include us in your links, it would be greatly appreciated.


All the best,

forma said...

Hello guys, I am realy trying to find April Orchestra no.1 somewhere. Can anybody help me with it?..

isabelbc said...

hi forma,

find only here >

blunderspublik said...

Wow, I love the production AND song-writing on this album. Thank you for making this available!

Arbacia said...

Hi, the link is dead. Can you upload it again please?

isabelbc said...

new link

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