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Anyone's Daughter - Piktors Verwandlungen CD (album) cover

PIKTORS VERWANDLUNGEN

Anyone's Daughter

 

Symphonic Prog

3.24 | 81 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars I have no trouble with albums sung in a native tongue unfamiliar to me, but when the lyrics are primarily spoken and the product of a master like Herman Hesse, I can't even taste the essence never mind comprehend the storyline. Without this knowledge to glue together seemingly disparate and incomplete ideas, I feel decidedly unqualified to provide a fair review, which explains why it's far and away the last ANYONE's DAUGHTER "classic" to bring my pen to paper. But I suppose with that full disclosure out of the way, I will proceed as best I can to review this live album of original music.

Just to summarize based on rudimentary research, "Piktors Verwandlungen" is a fairy tale/love story written in 1922 and inspired by Hesse's future wife. It is about changes in life perhaps mirrored by those in nature, no doubt filtered through the author's lifelong fascination with fantasy. The album consists of mostly short and mostly symphonic instrumentals alternating with calmly narrated passages with appropriately sedate accompaniment. One of the appealing aspects of the music is that all instruments are equal participants. Guitars like those found in the "Adonis Suite" and the group's namesake track alternate with electronic keyboards reminiscent of the group's "Sundance of the Haute Provence". Several succinct melodic themes repeat, while some seem incomplete, even more angular than one would expect from the group, but after several listens the flow and transitions become more apparent.

It's an album that must be heard in its entirety even if some tracks are less appealing, but at 37 minutes this is no great hardship. Several longer tracks glisten with the slightly jazzy side of the group's palette, without ever getting lost in themselves. The last few show a greater progression and climactic buildup, particularly the transition between "Dritter Teil der Erzńhlung" and "Sehnsucht". In the finale, Harald Bareth actually sings in German for the first time on any group disc, and this exercise provides the template for the next couple of albums.

While "Piktors" is yet another strong product from ANYONE's DAUGHTER, a bold step that some might find it their best, I can't put it in quite the same category as their studio work as the material is not as satisfying to me as a standalone piece. That is as much a flaw in my own experience as in the recording, but this album did provide impetus for a group metamorphosis lasting a couple more albums, and is a picture of a growing, healthy talent on the German symphonic scene of 1981.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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