Wednesday, 16 March 2016

ELIA'S LEBENSGESCHICHTE - update


Band: ALEXANDER WIESER
Title: Elia's Lebensgeschichte
Reason for update: This item is the master CD that led to the release in 2009 of this celebratory album for the 'Langen Nacht der Kirchen' in Austria
Format: Silver CDr with colour cover and typed track listing, annotated by Hugin in blue ink, coming in a slimline case.  
Edition: Presumed to be the only copy

Track Listing (one long track, a concept story in summary):

  • King Ahab honours a god of strangers 0:00 – 01:36 
  • Elia is threatened with a drought 01:36 – 02:36 
  • Elia hides at the river Kerit – Ravens bring bread and meat to him 02:36 – 03:26 
  • The river dried and Elia goes to the widow, she parts the last bread with him – now she has flour and oil forever 03:26 – 04:30 
  • Elia has a contest with the Prophets of Baal and his God wins 04:30 – 06:12 
  • Elia is persecuted and flees from the vengeance of the Queen 06:12 – 06:54 
  • He hides in the desert and faces death death. God gives bread and water to him. 06:45 – 07:48 
  • Elia walks 40 days to the mountain 07:48 – 08:24 
  • At this mountain Elia enters a cave and whispers about his sorrow 08:24 – 09:01 
  • A storm rumbles mountains 09:01 – 09:31 
  • An earthquake crushes rocks 09:31 – 10:19 
  • A fire follows – but still God was not there 10:19 – 10:43 
  • After that comes silence: Elia came out of the cave and God passed by 10:43 – 12:07 
  • Elia comes back annointed a new king and prophet 12:07 – 12:55 
  • Elia transcends and rides a chariot of fire into Heaven 12:55 – 14:31

Here's a blast from the past, a return to the wonderful "Elia's Lebensgeschichte" release that we last had in our sights back in December 2011.

You may recall that the album was released as a single long song, as part of the celebrations for the 'Langen Nacht der Kirchen' (Long Night of the Churches).  This was a joint project of the 14 Christian denominations that were represented in the World Council of Churches in Austria. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the beauty found in religion though arts and music. 

The original review noted that on May 28 2010 more than 720 churches throughout Austria opened their doors, and with over 3,400 different programme points invited people to get acquainted with them, and on 27 May 2011 the process happened all over again.  As far as the InterWeb informs me, the process still continues into 2016.

Hugin created this particular disc back in 2009 with the subject of the piece being the Prophet Elijah, arguably the greatest prophet of the Old Testament next only to Moses. Reducing his 'career' to a short paragraph might seem somewhat churlish, but in brief he sought to abolish idolatry and restore justice during a time when the Hebrew nation was divided. He raised a dead child; he brought fire from heaven, through prayer, three times; he did not die but was carried skyward in a chariot of fire; and, so it is said, will return to prophesy once more before the end of times. Interestingly, the Vangelis "Chariots of Fire" release was also about Elia.

As this was the precursor to the eventual formal release of 30 copies on CD, the music on this master CDr is exactly the same to the finished item: segments in the life of the Prophet himself, all contained within a single piece of music spanning about a quarter of an hour. The style and tone of the song is unmistakably Uruk Hai-ish in places, and in fact Nazgul would go so far as to suggest that there are distinctive samples and elements of existing Uruk Hai songs that get a dusting down and re-airing on this disc. This seems an entirely practical approach, given the likelihood that many of the people hearing this would have been unlikely to be familiar with Alex's other music, and with all the other pressures of life it would be the most natural thing to use what was readily available to evolve something new.

That's what I said at the time, and that's still what I'm saying now!

It's been really interesting to revisit this piece directly after Hollenkreis too, which also comes across as a compendium of previously recorded work re-branded for a particular cause (this is an entirely coincidental event here in the scheduling of Honour and Darkness reviews, by the way!)  To my ears, it is the Elia release that give you a more rounded and satisfying experience, though both releases are well worth your attention.  Albeit this one is infinitely more difficult to find, of course....

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