This is not the next studio album with new compositions, but another live effort of the so talented and most underrated band in the world, After Crying from Hungary. As faithful progVisions reader you maybe can remember my review of the previous work of After Crying, the double live CD "Struggle for life". I gave it five stars and expect you all have that brilliant album in your CD collection now. Or at least the single CD version called "Struggle for life - Essential". For me it was the album of the year, but I was not allowed to put it in my progVisions top 10 list of that year because it was not a studio album. The new live album is on the market for a while now but because of my web design work for progVisions I didn't had time for reviews. But After Crying releases are meaningful and deserve a review, so here it is. This new album has the title "Bootleg Symphony" but it is a real After Crying release on the Hungarian Periferic label.
The CD is a recording of the bands second concert (the first one was in Caracas, Venezuela) with the participation of a symphony orchestra. This symphonic concert was held at the Liszt Fernc Academy of Music on the 2nd October 2000 in Budapest. Besides the Orchestra of 34 people, which are playing the violin, viola, violoncello, contrabass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, horn, trombone and timpani, the following people were performing that night in Budapest:
Egervári Gábor - lyrics, narration, live sound. Görgényi Tamás - artistic director, lyrics. Lengyel Zoltán - Steinway Grand Piano, Korg Trinity ProX, background vocal. Légrádi Gábor - lead vocal. Madai Zsolt - Roland V'drum, Sabian cymbals, snare drum, vibraphone, timpani. Pejtsik Péter - cello, bass, compositions. Torma Ferenc - guitar, synthesizer, compositions. Winkler Balázs - trumpet, synthesizer, piano, compositions
Conductor: Pejtsik Péter, Winkler Balázs
Andrejszki Judit - lead vocal. Fogolyán Kristóf - flute. Makovecz Pál - trombone. Szabó Mónika - flute. Borsódy László - trumpet. Horváth Vilmos - bassoon. Reé György - clarinet. Winkler Zsófia - viola.
Like a real symphony the CD exists out of four parts, which have each a length between 10 and 16 minutes.
The first suite is also build out of four pieces. First piece is the symphonic version of "Viaduct" (6:00) together with the symphonic version of "Struggle for life" (9:53). The second one is "Struggle for life I - With a pure heart" (5:23), third the symphonic version of "Enigma" (1:15) and the forth is "Struggle for life II - Waiting for better days" (3:15). The symphonic arrangements and orchestration are done by Pejtsik Péter and Winkler Balázs. They made a very good job of it. "Viaduct" starts with a slow pace and has a dark atmosphere. "Struggle for life I" is that piece with the narration of that beautiful poem in it. The symphonic arrangements are great and you don't have the idea that you are listening to another version of an already existing composition. This is beautiful contemporary and classical music. "Enigma" is a piece of pure beauty with the voice of Judit Andrejszki. In "Struggle for life II" you can hear some King Crimson excerpts ("Great Deceiver").
The second suite exists out of "Suburban night" (3:19), "Cool night" (3:48), "Night-red" (3:24) and "Cool night - reprise" (2:17). "Suburban night" is the slow and beautiful trumpet solo of Balázs Winkler. In "Cool night" vocals are only accompanied with a Steinway piano. "Night-red" is the only new composition on this album. This small piece has all kind of classical themes in it, and even has a Crimson like guitar part. It is based on themes by Vedres Csaba, the ex After Crying pianist. It seamless melts into the vocals of "Cool night - reprise". I only can say, beautiful.
The third suite has also four pieces. The symphonic version of "Arrival of Manticore" (2:28), "Aqua" (2:01), "Intermezzo" (2:39) and "Burlesque" (3:04). "Arrival of Manticore" is like the scherzo of a real symphony. It is a small masterpiece. After Crying is feeling (playing) like "a fish in water" (Dutch - and spanish- expression). "Burlesque" always reminds me of Chaplin.
The forth and last suite is of course the finale of the symphony. The first part is "Finale -excerpt from Big evil fun fair final" (4:26) we know of the studio album "6". The piece is very suitable as opener of the Finale. The last long track is called "Shinin'" (11:37) and this composition is from Vedres and Pejtsik. Vedres work has had always a very high classical atmosphere and is of high quality. It is a good thing that After Crying has not forgotten Vedres now that they had the opportunity to perform with an orchestra.
As long as I followed After Crying, I was wondering how After Crying would sound with an orchestra. Well After Crying is just sounding as After Crying. This recording shows how many classical influences the band always had and what a high level of quality their compositions have. Their music fits the orchestra perfectly. "Bootleg symphony" is a must for the big After Crying fans. It makes the picture complete. If you don't know After Crying yet and are not into pure classical music, I would recommend the earlier mentioned "Struggle for life" album to you.