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IN THE GARDEN OF PHARAO / AGUIRRE
2LP 1983 Celestial Harmonies CEL 008/009, USA
* On Spalax 14219 CD the tracks are:
Taking its name from the title of the Quiche Mayan Indians' bible, Popol Vuh has shown a strong interest in Mayan lore and the devotional aspects of music. Praised as one of Germany's premier progressive bands in the 70s and early 80s, Popol Vuh was founded in 1969 by keyboardist Florian Fricke. Although the band has employed acoustic instruments from a variety of Western and ethnic sources, it created quite a stir as one of the first ensembles to use the Moog synthesizer in the early 70s. Over the course of nearly 20 albums, Popol Vuh has obtained a reputation for producing beautiful, hypnotic sound tapestries, and influenced several generations of electronic and contemplative artists. Popol Vuh also gained considerable attention for its scores to films by the celebrated German director Werner Herzog, including Nosferatu.
Popol Vuh's classic recordings, IN THE GARDENS OF PHARAO and AGUIRRE, are combined in this breathtakingly dramatic release. Recorded in Bavaria's Baumberg Cathedral, IN THE GARDENS OF PHARAO is a remarkable illustration of the many moods that the synthesizer and piano are able to express. The soundtrack for the Werner Herzog film, AGUIRRE, is equally delightful with original compositions by Popol Vuh's leader, Florian Fricke. These compositions are recognized as standards of the new age genre. Also included is Spirit of Peace, a performance of solo piano music by Florian Fricke. Originally recorded in 1980, Fricke's performance is moving, and reveals the artistic direction this talented musician would be taking in subsequent releases.The label, email@example.com , May 13, 1999
(also on www.blacksun.com)
This reissue includes the complete contents of two Popol Vuh classics, 1971's In den Gärten Pharaos and 1974's Aguirre. In den Gärten Pharaos ("In the Gardens of Pharao") was the first true work of "sacred music" by Florian Fricke. Consisting of two extended works (the second of which was recorded live), his mixture of electronics and church organ with assorted winds and percussives conjures up visions of deep, mystical emotion, marking the dawn of new age music, and still today is a wonder to behold. Though Aguirre jettisoned the electronics in favor of piano and electric guitar, its six lengthy pieces are nevertheless quite atmospheric and meditative.Archie Patterson, All-Music Guide
This pioneering Krautrock release occupies the territory between soft-focus ambient music and Tangerine Dream-derived electronic experimentation. IN DER GARTEN PHAROS contains two extended instrumental pieces that mix the pastoral sounds of the natural world with unearthly synth tones. Florian Fricke is the band's center, and his keyboard work provides the bulk of the instrumental colors. He's surrounded throughout by atmospheric percussion and additional electronics that enhance the summer-vacation-on-the-astral-plane feel. Eventually, the new-agey aspect of the band's sound would take over and the group would venture into Windham Hill territory, but on this 1972 release the band is in its prime, striking just the right balance between the electronic adventurousness of the "cosmic rock" set and the gentle ambience that set Popol Vuh apart from so many of its harder-edged contemporaries.NAPRA Trade Journal, Spring, 1996
A double-CD remix of two early albums, highlighted by the (vinyl side-long) introspective piano piece "Spirit of Peace".Borders.com Rough Guide Review
Killer value for Popol Vuh fans
This CD was one of the first Popol Vuh albums to be released from LP to CD, and as such it represents a real value for Popol Vuh fans. It contains the bulk of two releases: the soundtrack to Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes; and the odd two-disk LP In den gartens Pharao. You get 64:40 of killer Popol Vuh on this CD! The trade-off, on the other hand, is that it may duplicate material on other Popol Vuh CDs that you already have. This is a pretty consistent feature with Popol Vuh and may not be a real drawback for those of us who have to have everything, I mean everything, that Popol Vuh ever recorded.
Details: The first track is Aguirre, which reproduces the track Aguirre I on the soundtrack album. The second track, In the gardens of Pharao, is also on the CD release of Affenstunde. According to the (excellent) liner notes for Affenstunde, In den garten Pharaos was Popol Vuh's second album; the benefit that this CD has over Affenstunde is that it also contains -- track 3 -- the "B" side of the album originally released as In den garten Pharaos, a piece called Vuh.
Vuh is kind of an unusual piece for Popol Vuh: rather than focusing on electronic keyboards and synthesized or organic (!) vocals in the manner of many Popol Vuh pieces the feature instrument is an organ (and a beautifully voiced organ it is). This is a long (19:51) piece that, while the scoring is different, does what the best of Popol Vuh always does: opens the door through the wall of mortality into the pathway of the infinite. This is meditation music par excellence. It's always been a wonder to me that "new age" music hasn't made a bigger name out of Popol Vuh than it has: since Popol Vuh has been "out there" since the beginning.
The final tracks of the album are Spirit of Peace 1, 2, and three, familiar from the Aguirre soundtrack. So: In this CD you get all of In den garten Pharaos and most of the Aguirre soundtrack. If you want more of the floating-down-the-river-going-insane music of Aguirre you can get it in the Aguirre soundtrack, which has in addition several pieces (Morgengruss II, Agnus Dei, and Vergegenwaertitung) which are not here; but you get a healthy chunk of the Aguirre soundtrack.Susan R. Matthews from Seattle, Washington , September 16, 1998
(...) The recently departed Florian Fricke of Popol Vuh is sometimes called the Father of New Age. Most of his work of the last 20 years of his life found its way into the new age bins, and his primary label in his later years was the imprint Celestial Harmonies, home to artists like Kitaro and Steve Roach. A wonderful study of the contrasting music of Popol Vuh can be found on the Celestial Harmonies compilation In the Gardens of Pharao. The CD contains some gorgeous cues from Popol Vuh's score for Werner Herzog's 1975 film Aguirre, The Wrath of God, "In The Gardens of Pharao" and "Vuh" (two side-length pieces that originally made up the album In den Gärten Pharaos, from '71) and the 21-minute solo piano meditation "Spirit of Peace" (from '82.)
"In the Gardens of Pharao" would blend nicely in a set of early-90s ambient house, with its nature sounds, tribal percussion and melodic piano accents. "Vuh," on the other hand, is a raging mass of dark baroque energy, as Fricke works a pipe organ, shattering percussion and a choir to invoke a deep and profound sense of dread. The instantly inviting "Aguirre" is shimmering drone music composed on seriously tweaked analog keyboards. And then, "Spirit of Peace" finds an older Fricke patiently dissecting a simple, straightforward piano melody in the mode of Eric Satie. Over the eleven years covered by this compilation, we see Fricke transforming an anxious, doom-laden spirituality into something resigned and quiet. Somewhere in this progression, his Kosmische Musik turned new age. (...)excerpts from "Soothing Sounds for Hipsters" by Mark Richardson
Imagine the Messiah sitting at the piano, with his face contorted by the intense concentration on an imaginary piece of music that will uplift mankind from its material existence and propel it into a spiritual and mystical state of mind.
Well,..now keep the picture same. BTW it's in black and white with a tint of yellow, the kind you dig up from grandma's albums. Change the name of the person from Messiah to Florian Fricke. You are now looking at the back of the Popol Vuh's compilation CD called "In the Gardens of Pharaoh/Aguirre". The front has a nice mysterious photo of similar nature. It is a distant shot of the Messiah in his long robes and with outstretched arms, standing below some huge stone structure reminiscent of the Temple of Ra. He stands there lost in a space-time warp. Suddenly you feel that you are involved in a temporal short circuit. You are witnessing an event that happened sometime, somewhere; but it was so long ago that even history does not remember it.
The photography is by Edward Steichen and Bettina Fricke (related to Florian I guess ?). It sets the mood, just right. Popol Vuh, BTW, is the name of the Mayan Book of the Dead.
It is a digitally remastered compilation of previously released/unreleased works. It is on Celestial Harmonies label (CD CEL 008/9). It was originally released as two LP set. I wonder if the 64:40 min CD has fewer tracks than the double LP. I paid about $15.00.02.1990, Deeptendu on rec.music.newage