HERR – The Winter of Constantinople

The Dutch project HERR already made a good impression with the solid neo-classical sounds of ‘Es regnet das Leben heraus’, released last year by a small Belgian label. It was followed by the ‘The Winter of Constantinople’, released in a very small cd-r edition by Cynfeirdd. The UK label Cold Spring noticed the potential of this work and has announced a re-release coming later this year. On that same label also a new work based on Vondel’s classic play “Lucifer” will appear.

Back to ‘The Winter of Constantinople’, thematically inspired by the history of this ancient city, which fits the general interest of HERR in myth, ancient cultures and the value of our cultural heritiage. ‘The Fall of Constantinople’ directly starts monumental with a male choir, followed by deep horns and melodic strings, which build up a powerful orchestral piece. This first track is the absolute highlight of the rather varied album. The spoken/sung texts (‘Enemy at the gates!’), delivered by Troy Southgate in a commanding manner, are really an important addition to the sound of HERR, which give the music just that special extra what it lacked in the past. ‘Hopes die in winter’ is a long piece with starts as a soundscape to accompany spoken word. Halfway it turns into a solemn classical hymn, which makes me think of some Dernière Volonté work. ‘Hagia Sophia’ takes you to eastern spheres. The Arabic singing is soon chased away by the sound of an air-raid siren. What follows is another worthwhile neo-classical composition.

The rest of the album shows a nice variation in styles and moods, from the heavy and bombastic ‘Tanz Constantinople!’ to the solemn and melancholic ‘A requiem for the city of God’ or the nostalgic melancholy of the martial ‘A new Rome’. With “The Winter of Constantinople” HERR has clearly moved a big step forward to create a very worthwhile album that deserves to be spread in wider circles.

artist: HERR
label: Cynfeirdd