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Wurtemberg (France) - 1980 / 2002 - "Rock Fantasia Opus 9"
(37 min, Musea)

1. Rock-opus 7 5:39
2. Sous-Titre 2:10
3. Berceuse Gratinee 2:24
4. Prefixe et Danse 3:32
5. Allemandes 2:21
6. Concerto Pour un Minot 5:37
7. Invitation 3:04
8. Rock-opus 1 7:13
9. Cantate 147 3:54
10. Extrait 1:51

All compositions by Alain Carbonaire, except
9: by J. S. Bach & 10: by L. V. Beethoven.


Alain Carbonaire - organs & piano;
acoustic guitar, lyre; bass-tenor psaltery
Bernard Maitre - synthesizers; dulcimer; xylophone
Gilles Michault-Bonnet - flute & saxophone
Michel Richard - electric guitar; soprano psaltery
Alain Demeusy - bass (of Iris)
Jean-Pierre Garbin - drums (ex-Ange)
Jean-Marie Hausser - drums 

Produced by Wurtemberg.
Recorded & mixed by Gerard Pillant
at "ETA" studio, Paris.

Prologue. The debut Wurtemberg album, "Rock Fantasia Opus 9", was released on LP in 1980. However, it was never released on CD until now. The band's second album, entitled "Rock Fantasia Opus 10", was recorded in 1986, but it was never released in any form. This obscure album will for the first time see the light of day on the forthcoming CD by Musea Records. By the way, three instruments, manufactured by Alain Carbonaire, are represented on the CD booklet's cover. From left to right, these are a giant dulcimer, a giant lyre, and a giant psaltery. The latter is an ancient stringed instrument with a very unique sound. Finally, Wurtembergs were dukes who came to France from the Germanic Holy Roman Empire in the XV century.

The Album. Stylistically, seven out of the ten tracks that are presented on this album are of a unified stylistic concept, though the album's opening track and both the renditions of the works of Bach and Beethoven (and both of them are the album's closing tracks) must be described separately. Both Cantate & Extrait (9 &10) are, of course, about a pure Classical Music. Performed by Alain Carbonaire himself, these pieces are filled with lushly orchestrated arrangements from the first to the last note. While listening to them, I had the impression that I am hearing a real string orchestra. In addition, one of the old instruments, constructed by Alain, is heard in the beginning of Cantate, while Extrait contains also the parts of orchestral drum. Rock-opus 7 (1) features the complete set of instruments that were used on this album and, in that way, has a very rich sound. The contents of the first track on "Rock Fantasia" can be defined as Classical Music performed with Rock and medieval instruments. There are too few repetitions on Rock-opus 7, as well as on all the other pieces of a classical character. Diverse, masterful, and always contrasting interplay between continuously changeable passages of piano and synthesizer and solos of flute, sax, bass guitar, lyre, dulcimer, and xylophone, often accompanied by truly unique sounds of psaltery, are the main performing features of Rock-opus 7. Despite the absence of drums, it is simply impossible not to notice there the regular use of complex odd measures and, all the more, kaleidoscopic changes of tempo, tone, and mood. All four of the remaining representatives of the album's predominant stylistics, Sous-Titre, Berceuse Gratinee, Allemandes, & Invitation (2, 3, 5, & 7), are certainly about Classical Music as well, which, however, sounds like it was composed and performed in the Middle Ages. Apart from the solos of flute and passages of classical guitar, the parts of lyre, psaltery, and dulcimer are heard throughout each of these tracks. Three of them entirely consist of acoustic structures. Only Allemandes features, in addition, a short episode where the solos of flute interplay with those of bass and passages of synthesizer. Though, overall, this piece has probably the most distinct medieval feel to it. These four are probably the most original and unique pieces of Classical Music that I've heard from Rock musicians. Concerto Pour un Minot and Rock-opus 1 (6 & 8) were performed without ancient instruments. For both of them is typical the alternation of hard-edged arrangements of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock and those that are about Classical Music. The fast and virtuosi solos of organ, piano, and bass guitar are the hallmarks of the Art-Rock constituents of both of the said compositions, though, of course, the parts of guitar, synthesizers, and drums, all of which are excellent, are featured there as well. The arrangements that are in the vein of Classical Music consist mostly of varied interplay between solos of flute and xylophone and passages of piano and string ensemble. Finally, Prefixe et Danse (4) is a Classic Symphonic Art-Rock piece, which was performed with Rock and semi-Rock instruments, such as a piano and flute, almost exclusively. There is also the presence of the lyre and Church Organ, but they appear on it only once. It also needs to be said that only a few compositions on the album are either of light or dramatic character, while most of them bring to the listener different moods - or, to be more precise, a mixed mood.

Summary. Wurtemberg's "Rock Fantasia Opus 9" is by all means a brilliant album. Furthermore, IMHO, it's a real classic for the future. It's absolutely on par with Gryphon's "Red Queen" (though, of course, compositionally, etc, etc, both of these masterpieces can hardly be compared to each other). I really wonder why, unlike many of the merely good albums (like those by Isopoda, for instance), such a gem was not released on CD until now. Let's look forward for the release of the second album by the band.

VM. September 10, 2002

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