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Topic: The Story of Hergest Ridge, My Interpretation< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
nightspore Offline




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Posted: Mar. 23 2018, 23:55

The more I listen to certain of Mike's albums, such as Ommadawn and Return to Ommadawn, the more they seem to me to tell a story. I've just listened to Part 1 of Hergest Ridge, and the contours of a narrative were suggested to me by the music and its changes. Here they are:

1. The beginning - a very delicate melody, with delicate instrumentation, suggesting that something is being crafted.
2. The trumpets - suggesting triumph, that something HAS been crafted.
3. A discordant section, suggesting a crisis.
4. A guitar solo, suggesting dejection at what has happened. This segues into a section with a kind of dialogue with an oboe (which means "high boy".)
5. A short, machine-like probing section.
6. A "for whom the bell tolls" section, suggesting some kind of ominous consequences for what has happened.
7. A fast, rhythmic section suggesting fleeing.
8. Coming to a halt - introspection.
9. A kind of cosmic choral section, which intones the sounds of "ha", suggesting laughter. This is in dialogue with Mike's guitar; but while Mike's guitar line is complex, suggesting lots of different thoughts and ideas, the cosmic response never really changes.
10. More ominous tolling bells.
11. The opening melody returns, perhaps saying "I'll be back!"
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larstangmark Offline




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Posted: Mar. 27 2018, 05:05

Very much the way I have interpreted this piece.
To me, it’s like a battle followed by sorrow and mourning, ending with a celebration of what is left to enjoy in life.

I’m not big on music theory, but isn’t it crafted like a classic symphony with the various movements?


--------------
"There are twelve people in the world, the rest are paste"
Mark E Smith
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: Mar. 27 2018, 07:21

Quote
I’m not big on music theory, but isn’t it crafted like a classic symphony with the various movements?


Thankfully without the sonata form that always seem to constrain even Beethoven!

Part 2 can be looked at the same way, I think, with the early casual saunter suddenly leading to that prolonged and angry attack that has to be more than a mere thunderstorm...
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: April 26 2020, 19:42

Something that I didn't notice when I was doing my initial analysis of the 'story' of Hergest Ridge... the long exaltant trumpet quasi-solo is followed by an equally long but rather downcast oboe quasi-solo. The trumpet has regal associations and 'oboe' means 'high boy'... perhaps the story concerns regal aspirations that are somehow set back in the realisation of the prince....
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shenry Offline




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Posted: April 27 2020, 09:48

Funnily enough, I don't really get any strong story associations from Hergest Ridge in particular, or Ommadawn for that reason. Tubular Bells and Amarok, in contrast, give me vivid narrative pictures in my mind as they play.
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: April 27 2020, 19:23

I think Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn and the Tubular Bells albums are all telling the same story, but with different emphases on subject matter. Hergest Ridge is about the creation of a precious object somehow associated with a great being, while Ommadawn is about the world where it all took place and a possible return to it. Tubular Bells is about the trial of the antagonists: each instrument represents a different entity for whom the ultimate bell will toll.

I think Amarok presents a different story: a triumph of chaos and Lord Shiva (to whom of course Mike writes a hymn on QE 2 over the forces of preservation and Lord Vishnu - a KO blow to Rama, as it were - and one of the meanings packed into the word Amarok is that it is KO Rama backwards. (On the other hand, as "KO Rama" is presented backwards perhaps the message is the triumph of order over chaos - the more chaotic parts of the album are in the early stages of the album, after all.) But I think the theme is definitely order versus chaos, Vishnu versus Shiva.
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bluemlein Offline




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Posted: June 07 2020, 17:20

a correction: oboe also known as haut bois

which is french for high (haughty) wood. bois may be more than one boi to some internet-loving girls but are not high unless theyve stoned themselves.
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: June 07 2020, 22:05

There are "two reeds" here  :laugh: And quite a few bois like other bois too. And of course, the earlier English spelling was "hautboy", even if, yes, boy meant a wood  :O  :laugh:
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