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Track List: 1. Moselle qui s'affole 4:54 2. Le dit de la charcuterie 0:57 3. Le massacre des innocents 2:05 4. Le choeur des battues 3:06 5. Chanson a boire 1:49 6. Madeleine au puits 3:41 7. Entree des bouffons (inst.) 3:52 8. La passion de Rodemack 4:45 9. Bransle (inst.) 2:02 10. Le dit de l'herberie 2:04 11. Le choeur des bouffons 5:46 12. Guten abend, gute nacht 2:57 13. Entree du Margrave (inst.) 4:40 14. Moselle au bas des vignes 1:20 All tracks: composed, arranged, & produced by Ribac. Line-up: Francois Ribac - - synthesizers, bass, & percussion Eva Schwabe - - lead vocals With: "Minstrels" (choir: 22 singers) Engineered by Ribac at "Dakota" studio, Metz. Mixed by Ribac & M. Altmayer at "BAAL", Mondelange.
Preamble. A few days ago, I received from Francois Ribac both of his remaining CDs. In that way, I think I should unite all of the Francois-related reviews within the framework of a single material, "Overall View" (perhaps, next week - when I write the remaining review). While at the moment, the first three of these reviews can be read only separately - by clicking on the following links: >(1993), >(2000), >(2003). The hero of this review, "La Nef du Roi Moselle", is the second album by Francois Ribac, which was released in 1992.
The Album. To all appearances, "La Nef du Roi Moselle" is the only opera by Francois that features such a large operatic choir: twenty two of the male and female singers. Also, this is Ribac's only opera where there aren't tracks containing any repetitions. Indeed, all the instrumental and vocal arrangements on this album - from the first to the last note of it - are in the state of a constant development. While the overall stylistics of the music on "La Nef du Roi Moselle" is nothing else but a confluence of Classical Music and Opera, the instrumental contents of this album, unlike those of the other ones by Ribac, represent for the most part a chamber Classical Music. Apart from the solos and passages of synthesizer, solos of bass, and the parts of percussion instruments, all of which are soft and are present by no means on all of the tracks here, there aren't any other Rock instruments on the album. The most part of the instrumental palette of "La Nef du Roi Moselle" was 'painted' with solos and passages of varied string and chamber instruments (such as violins, flutes, oboe, bassoon, etc), performed on an excellent string ensemble and the like synthesizers, and those of piano. What's interesting is that overall, synthetic instruments sound here even more realistic than on the following opera of Francois, "Marguerite Ida & Helena Annabel" (1993). Also, there are only the operatic vocals of either a dramatic or romantic nature on all eleven of the songs on this album, without exception. Though the instrumental arrangements on the album can, at the same time, be of a different character (tense, for instance). The large mixed choir, mentioned above, performed eight song, while Eva Schwabe alone performed on three. These are Madeleine au puits, La passion de Rodemack, and Guten abend, gute nacht (6, 8, & 10). Each of the three instrumental pieces on the album: Entree des bouffons, Bransle, and Entree du Margrave (7, 9, & 13), is about a 'pure' Classical Music. By the way, a choir appears only closer to the end of Le choeur des bouffons (11), while for the most part, this track consists of instrumental arrangements that, in addition, are much in the vein of those on the said instrumental pieces. Finally, a few compositions on the album have a distinctive medieval feel to them.
Summary. "La Nef du Roi Moselle" is rich in everything that is typical for a truly outstanding, highly original, both complex and beautiful Classical Academic Music, though here, all of this sounds 'side by side' with everything that is typical for a truly wonderful Opera. I only regret that such unique gems of progressive music as this album went unnoticed and, sometimes, almost advisedly underrated. While in my view, all of the early works by Francois Ribac are much more than merely worthy to be reissued, especially since one of them was released only on LP (I'll review it next week).
VM: February 20, 2003
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