Aviva - Peer Gynt In Favour

(CD 2010, 43:34, Musea FGBG 4855)

The tracks:
  1- Peer Gyntís Morning(5:38)
  2- Ingrid(3:49)
  3- Mountain King And His Daughter(4:49)
  4- Solveig(4:03)
  5- Long Arabian Way(5:08)
  6- Anitra(5:02)
  7- Ese(7:47)
  8- Skaldís Hymn(1:54)
  9- In Favour(5:17)

Aviva Website        Musea Records

In the past, musicians like Keith Emerson transcribed many classical pieces into very tasteful arrangements for rock music. Many solo albums of Emerson and the albums of The Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer contain his enjoyable and wonderful keyboard playing inspired by classical composers. However, Keith Emerson was not the only rock musician who released music based on the great composers of the classical genre. The Netherlands got the late, but famous Rick van der Linden and nowadays in Russia multi-instrumentalist Dimitry A. Loukianenko does exactly the same. Letís have a quick look at his background.

Loukianenko started his career in the hard rock band Dorian Gray that recorded an album on which he plays keyboards. In 2007, he made his first steps into the world of progressive rock music by releasing the album Rokus Tonalis under the name of Aviva. While listening to his style of playing on this album, Keith Emerson and Japanese band Gerard must have been big influences. One year later, Aviva Omnibus recorded the album Nutcracker In Fury (see review). This album, and especially the track Heavy March, had a link with the two-act ballet Nutcracker Suite, a classical piece written by the Russian composer Pyotr IlyichTchaikovsky.
Now two years later, Dimitry again found some inspiration in music written by a classical composer. This time Peer Gynt the composition for a theatre play by Henrik Ibsen became the frame for a new piece of music. This piece, written by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, probably got famous by our readers because Rick Wakeman used a part of Mountain King And His Daughter at the finale of the Journey To The Centre Of The Earth-album. The same piece is the most recognizable part on the new Aviva-album. Especially on the aforementioned track and Ese you can hear this tune. Itís not exactly the same kind of music, but some traces are audible in the melody. However, when you listen to the entire album youíll find out that Loukianenko produces a very experimental sound on his instruments. He plays all the instruments himself this time, but unfortunately he didnít use a real drummer. Thatís probably the main reason why the rhythms sound way too mechanical, but he must have chosen to let it sound this way. On his previous releases you could enjoy his wonderful playing on the organ and synthesizers, but this time there was no passage at all on Peer Gynt In Favour that reminded me of that great sound. We just hear very weird sounds in particular performed on the piano and synthesizers. Some of the synthesizer sounds reminded me of the way Wendy/Walter Carlos played the music of J.S. Bach on Moog-synthesizers on the album Switched-On Bach (1968).

I think the experimental music on this release will not appeal to lovers of keyboard-oriented progressive rock music. When you listen to Peer Gynt In Favour you get the idea that Loukianenko tried to compose a classical composition himself, but with many avant-garde influences. Maybe some lovers of modern classical music might enjoy this album, but I didnít. Therefore, I have to warn everyone who liked Avivaís previous releases to listen to this album first before buying it. Sure, you hear a very talented musician, but I would rather see him use his musical talents in a different way.

** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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