V/A – Eichendorff

This compilation in honour of the German poet Eichendorff is initiated by Uwe Nolte’s publishing company Noltex. Therefore it is not surprising that his group Orplid is present with two songs, as well as related acts like Sonnentau and Barditus. Furthermore there are some other well-known neofolk acts present, like Forseti, Sonne Hagal and Waldteufel. But there also participate some new names for me, like Grünland, Edaphon and Karl Stülpner.

Joseph von Eichendorff (1788 – 1857) is one of the great representatives of the German Romantic movement. Inspired by the likes of Goethe and Novalis, he wrote novels and most of all poetry in which man and nature are closely releated. Some recurring themes are the beauty of nature, nostalgia and desire, transitoriness, night and dream, religious reflections. His lucid, melancholic lyrics were put to music by composers like Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schumann. Eichendorff’s work is also very suited to be used by the new generation of German neofolk groups, who often deal with similar subject matter.

The deep-yellow digipack is decently designed with forests, as you would expect. Furthermore there is a nice booklet with a short biography of Eichendorff, the lyrics which have been used for this album and some photos of the participating artists. This compilation is without doubt recommended to all lovers of romantic neofolk sounds. Traditional music with acoustic instruments, tranquil, melancholic sounds, alternating male and female vocals and the nicely flowing poetry of Eichendorff.
My favourite songs of this album are “Im Abendrot” by Forseti, with subtle accordion and sensitive vocals, Orplid’s moving piano ballad ‘Abendlich rauscht schon der wald’, the intimate ‘Mondnacht’ with a pleasant violin melody and nice vocals by Ulrike Hirsch and the catchy ‘Durch!’ by Waldteufel, who seem to save their best songs for compilations. But in general there are no weak spots on “Eichendorff”, all neofolk acts perform as could be expected and sound surprisingly homogeneous. The most deviating songs are ‘In der Fremde I’ by classical singer Elisabeth Christiane Schönfeld and the closing soundscape by Edaphon.

artist: V/A
label: Noltex
details: 13 tracks, 52 min., 2005 [noltex 004]