Tag Archive: Orchestral


Schizophrenic Melodies

post # 7

Echternach – La Procession Dansante – 196X

This is an interesting record.  Echternach is a tiny town in a tiny country; Luxembourg.  This recording features music being made by the entire town.  Every year, for well over six hundred years, this whole town has gotten together on a certain holy day to dance around and sing this song, which honors the town’s patron, Saint Willy.  It is thought that the tradition may be related to masochistic marches of the flagellants.

I am posting this record cheifly because of the awesome sound collage of field recordings of the festival day that fills the A side.  The recording starts out with the ringing bells of the Basilica (big church), and quickly fades into a cavalcade of passing singers, who’s voices echo and fade in and out as they sing the same song at different times.  Then we hear a few different passing marching bands, each who play for a few seconds and then fade out.  Then we hear the bells again, and the track is over.  All of the musicians are playing loose variations on the same musical theme, the Dance of Echternach.   This track is trying to simulate the sound of the entire day, with all of the passing bands and singers, while compressing it into 4 minutes.  The result is awesomely, yet unintentionally, psychedelic.

The B-side is a nice recording of a full orchestra playing the same song.  It’s nice, but it has not the crass impact of the other versions.  This record is a really nice package, with liner notes in four languages and even musical annotations!  Apparently, this festival still happens today, and you can easily find videos of it on the web.  Some of them sound almost exactly like this record, which I am guessing was recorded in the early sixties.  The town itself is beautiful, I’d like to take my family to see this some day!



Schizophrenic Melodies post #2

A Night on Bare Mountain and Other Russian Selections – Leopold Stokowski and his Orchestra – 2xEP 1954

Alright, alright. I’ll spare you the long winded musings and reminiscing about how awesome this music is, at least for now anyway.  Just know this: contained upon the brittle plastic disks within this yellowed sleeve is nearly half an hour of some of the best, and most awesomelly intense, symphonic music I have ever heard.  I’m sure you all know ‘A Night On Bare Mountain’ from the film Fantasia.  You know, the seen where Satan summons forth all of the demons, ghosts and witches to frolic in the flames of hell?  Yeah, that was pretty much the coolest thing I had ever seen, accompanied by the coolest music I had ever heard, when I was a little kid.  So naturally I was stok(owski)ed when I found this sweet little double seven inch set for 95 cents. 

Ok, I lied, I’m going to ramble on for a while.  So all you kids that love the Metallicas music better start clicking on this link and listening intently, because this shit, originally composed in 1867 by a psychotic drunk named Modest Moussorgsky, is heavy, fast, frightening and fucking metal.  It even has blast beats, for christ’s sake!  Never mind the fact that those whiny little hipster panty wastes ruined ‘ol Modest’s name.  This music will far outlive their annoying crap. 

This version was ‘orchestrated’ by Leopold Stokowski and is apparently the same score used in the movie.  The excerpt from the liner notes below is him describing the composition in his own words:

So, there you have it.  You’re welcome.

But wait!  That’s not all – there’s two other really awesome songs on this record!  The ‘Russian Easter Overture, Opus 36’ is really good, exciting, haunting, ecstatic and frenetic music.  Check the super creepy vocal part in the middle, and the great french horn parts.  But the best part of this song are the fast parts they are intensely beautiful!  This song was written by some guy named Rimsky-Korsakov, who was apparently Moussorgsky’s friend, so much so that he helped finish ‘A Night On Bare Mountain’ after Modest died. 

The last song is another great tune called the ‘Russian Sailors Dance’.  It starts out a little drunkenly, then gets a bit regal, then gets more and more excited, and before you know it the orchestra starts playing as fast as they can and it is flippin’ radical.  Really awesome song. Really awesome record!

Download a .zip archive with 320Kbps Mp3 files and complete high quality cover scans below!