CD: Cold Spring Records CSR56CD [2005]

The Fall Of Constantinople
Hopes Die In Winter
Hagia Sophia
Tanz Konstantinopel
A New Rome
Fruehling Erwachen

Epic was the first word that came into my head whilst listening to "The Winter of Constantinople" for the first time. Epic indeed. A glorious grandiose mixture of military / neo folk and classical music all rolled tightly into one complete whole. Uplifting yet morose. Stirring anthems and solemn passages recounting the turbulent events surrounding the 1453 siege of Constantinople which marked the end of the Byzantine Empire and brought the dawn of the Ottoman reign. 150,000 Turks besieged the city from 5th April to 29th May when the city finally fell. Death, defiance and despair the poetic inspirations behind this sumptuous recording by H.E.R.R, which was first released on the Cynfeirdd label, here expanded, enhanced, changed and re-recorded in parts. The final full visionary piece at last complete.

I was first acquainted with the music of H.E.R.R through their contributions to the "Carpe Noctem Festival 1" and "Hopes die in Winter" releases, where they easily outshone all the other participants. Michiel Spapé and his band of merry cohorts blowing everyone away both lyrically and musically. "The Winter of Constantinople" reinforces their growing stature. Taking in elegant string arrangements, pounding martial drums, disconsolate piano pieces, stimulating vibrant orchestrations and Eastern tinged samples the music, powerfully yet slowly, building allowing the vocalists to fully employ their distinctive emotive ranges to fullest effect. Gravitas and Emotion. That is the key to "The Winter of Constantinople". Highly charged passion brought out and given life by the music and English lyrics. Only the hardest of hearts would fail to dissolve in awe at the delivery of the inspirational all-embracing beautiful music. Epic in every sense of the word.

This care and attention to detail, the search for near impossible perfection, is further evident with the lavish accompanying 6 panel booklet with its pictures of various stoic sculptures and full lyrics complimenting the music. "The Winter of Constantinople" is a breathtaking endeavour. A history lesson put to glorious uplifting music which I doubt will ever be bettered. Michiel and friends have earned their plaudits. I for one can only reinforce my belief that "The Winter of Constantinople" is a release that no self respecting music lover should be without.


[H.E.R.R.] / [Cold Spring]

Direct Link: http://www.auralpressure.com/review/h/herr_constantinople.html

Other Reviews:

V/A: [Hopes Die In Winter]

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