Review: V.A. - Eichendorff Liedersammlung


Nov 11 2006, 19h00

from Evening of Light webzine:

The German poet Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff was a typical Romantic: his poetry is dominated by images of nature and nature-mysticism, and feelings of yearning and melancholy. On this release from Prophecy Productions, a number of artists, mostly from the neofolk scene, make an attempt to set Eichendorff's poetry to music. Some of the names on this release, such as Forseti, Orplid, or Sonne Hagal, should ring familiar to anyone with more than a passing interest in this type of music, whereas others, such as Edaphon or Grünland, are virtually unknown.

The overall mood on this album is melancholic: the music is melodic, often fairly minimal, and rarely more complex than needed. Beyond this - surprisingly for a compilation release - there is a good sense of continuity on this album; the songs all fit together nicely. This does not mean, however, that all the songs sound alike: you can find several typical acoustic-guitar based neofolk tracks here, a few piano-based songs (Orplid's "Abendlich rauscht schon der Wald", and Elisabeth Christiane Schönfeld's "In der Fremde I", based upon a composition by Schumann), a quick venture into ambient realms by Barditus, as well as some use of electric guitars in a few tracks, like Orplid's "Dort in moosumrankten Klüften", which is almost reminiscent of a band like My Bloody Valentine.

Personal favourites include Sonnentau's "Wünschelrute", which reminds me of the later work by Empyrium, and Grünland's "In der Fremde II". In the latter song, a beautiful Hungarian folk song is included to a great effect, truly evoking a feeling of being in an unknown, foreign, place. Not all of the songs are as convincing as these, however. Edaphon's "Der Abend" seems to experimental for an album like this, and some other tracks, such as Karl Stülpner's "Zorn", although far from disturbing, simply fail to make a lasting impression. Another point of criticism concerns the packaging: although nicely presented in a digipak with a booklet with beautiful, and fitting, nature photography, the lyrics of the songs are presented in an order which seems to bear no relationship whatsoever to the actual order of the songs on the cd. I simply cannot think of any reason other than mere sloppiness, why this is the case.

But most importantly for an album like this: the mood is right. On the whole, the songs convey a sense of yearning, and seem, like the poetry of Eichendorff, strongly inspired by nature. Aside from a few points of criticism, this is an album definitely worth having, especially so for people interested in the dark nature-based folk of artists such as Forseti, Orplid, or the later material by Empyrium.



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