Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ton Scherpenzeel - 1978 - Le Carnaval Des Animaux

Ton Scherpenzeel
Le Carnaval Des Animaux

01. Introduction - Marche Royale Du Lion - De Leeuw - Introduction - March Of The Lion 3:47
02. Fossiles - Fossielen - Fossils 2:07
03. Aquarium - Vissen - Aquarium 3:20
04. L'Eléphant - De Olifant - The Elephant 1:35
05. Le Cygne - De Zwaan - The Swan 3:44
06. Hémiones - Muildieren - Mules 3:00
07. Poules Et Coq - Kippen En Haan - Chickens And Cock 2:55
08. Volière - Vogels - A Viary 2:25
09. Le Coucou Au Fond Du Bois - De Koekoek - The Cuckoo 2:38
10. Tortues - Schildpadden - Tortoises 3:57
11. Personnages à Longues Oreilles - Ezels - Donkeys 1:18
12. Le Carnaval Des Animaux - Finale 3:07

Theo DeJong Bass
Addy DeWilde Harmonica
Hans Hollestelle Guitar
Irene Linders Vocals
Ellen Neefjes Vocals
Frans Peters Harmonica
Ton Scherpenzeel Bass, Keyboards
Claus VanMechelen Saxophone
Max Werner Percussion, Drums

A founding member of Kayak, Dutch keyboardist Ton Scherpenzeel was born in 1952 in Hilversum and received piano and contrabass lessons at the Music School of his homecity, where he met drummer Pim Koopman.They formed together High Tide Formation, which meant to be the seed of Kayak.In April 1978 Scherpenzeel recorded his first solo album at Frans Peters Studio in Hilversum, based on French composer's Camille Saint-Saens ''Le carnaval des animaux''.He was backed up by Kayak's Theo de Jong on bass and Max Werner on drums, featuring also ex-Ekseption and Spin Hans Hollestelle on guitar.Two female singers, Eddy de Wilde and Frans Peters himself on harmonicas and saxophonist Clous van Mechelen completed the line-up.The album was released on Ariola both in Holland and Germany.
Classical adaptions were not very usual at the time and Scherpenzeel's choice was a complete risk.He did it very well though, keeping Saint-Saens' delicate atmosphere throughout an album, where guitars and bass played basic roles and having a serene, beautiful atmosphere.The Dutch keyboardist played all kind of analog instruments in the album, maybe the only one missing is the Mellotron, and this is a significant reason the album sounds so rich and grandiose, featuring nice synth moves, symphonic harsichord and organ parts and mellow piano interludes.He gives space for some guitar work to Hans Hollestelle, most parts of which have a sensitive CAMEL-esque atmosphere.Overall this is a pretty THE ENID-like effort, there are long, Classical-drenched themes as expected with an orchestral mood, but the constant presence of the rhythm section and the electric guitar mark this one as a Symphonic Rock album.The adaption is thus pretty great, full of romantic movements, ethereal atmospheres and more dramatic textures.I am not impressed though by the most humourous-sounding passages of the album, those which feature some playful saxes and naughty keyboard exercises, as part of the consistency is somewhat lost.

Anyway, this is 100% Classical-oriented Progressive Rock, a very good idea by Kayak's keyboardist, which is filled with Scherpenzeel's mono- and dual keyboard showerings.Great find for all the fans of the style and certainly recommended.

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