Translated by Horia Diaconescu
Back in the 70’s the Romanian media often used the term “rock opera” in order to describe the outputs of several Romanian bands such as Rosu Si Negru, Metronom, Olympic 64 or Unit Progresiv TM & Rosu Si Negru Supergrup ( n.a. - ??!). Puterea muzicii is one of the albums advertised as such a creation. I, personally, do not identify the undoubtely more complex structure of these materials with that particular genre. The opera (including the rock based one) requires a libretto, different characters (and not just a vocal as a story-teller) and its meant to be played on stage. A relatively unitary thematic, strong connections between songs (even through intermediary passages) or including certain coregraphic moments (for the show) etc. aren’t enough in order to speak about an “opera”, regardless which were the original intentions of the composer. I also have to recall that bands such as Yes, Genesis or Pink Floyd and many others (where we can encounter several of the above mentioned elements) have strong reserves in presenting their albums as “rock operas”. We stand, however, on the territory of progressive music.
Without minimising the activity of the mentioned bands, I consider that Romanian music did not produce any rock opera, the closest things to such an approach being Zalmoxe by Sfinx and to a lesser degree Cantofabule by Phoenix. We could also add the folk-rock work Dupa melci by Nicu Alifantis.
Puterea muzicii is an interesting album, where the instrumental score is considerably more valuable than the vocal one (and I do not mean the vocals lack value). The musical team that participated on this LP consists of appreciated musicians (recommended also by their previous musical moments): Harry Coradini – vocal; Liviu Tudan – bass, piano, voice; Ladislau Herdina – guitar, voice; Florin Ochescu – guitar; Ion Cristian – percussion, voice. Lyrics, authored by Daniela Crasnaru, are rather a pretext in order to bring forth the compositions of Liviu Tudan (1, 3, 4, 6) and Ladislau Herdina (2, 5, 7), where solos have their own important roles.
The seven songs on the album "Oameni Si Fapte"(1), "Legamant"(2), "Optiune Pentru Pace"(3), "Puterea Muzicii"(4), "Sete De Padure"(5), "Pas Candid Catre Realitate"(6), "Gand Curat"(7), unitary in their complexity are connected in three major moments: I - (1), (2) – 11’31", II - (3), (4) – 6’44", III - (5), (6), (7) – 14’25".
The musical themes are often surprising, they bring something from the “air” of foreign rock music. However, in the attempt to unite them through a common idea, there have been introduced intermediary passages that could only be described as “correct”. Vocal and instrumental moments are treated as autonomous components (because their primary function is to “transport” the lyrical message = communication). The conclusion is that, at least on the album, the attempt to present a material with important conceptual ambitions annihilates some of the artists’ potential. They passed by a more consistent success, making nothing more than an interesting LP. What can be heard in the end on this album is more valuable than in many other groups’ case, but if we attempt to compare the material with the great prog-rock music of the world, we have to admit that a debate would end even before it started.
The existence of Progresiv TM in the Romanian musical “landscape” is a positive one, and the albums they released prove it fully. In years of cultural isolation the local public had the chance to be in contact with the non-commercial music of the time thus we should only analyse that period relating it to that context.
Song translations:Oameni Si Fapte – Humans and their deeds
Legamant – Oath
Optiune pentru pace – Opting for peace
Puterea muzicii – Power of music
Sete de padure – Thirst for woods
Pas candid catre realitate – A candid step towards reality
Gand curat – Pure reflection
17 Octombrie 2003
Silviu Nastase (snastase @mail.com)
(no english translation for this opinion)