Album Details

Jan Akkerman
Aranjuez (with Claus Ogerman)


From the liner notes by Willem Duys:

The evening when we played Strauss, Brahms and Wolf was flowing over with finer things. While Claus sat puffing a gigantic cigar, Jan Akkerman stared broodily into the flaming fire - a man who could play the lead in Jesus Christ Superstar if he wasn't so busy playing his thirty-odd guitars and lutes.

Akkerman and Ogerman - not such an unlikely combination. The Dutch virtuoso, world-famous for his work in the pop group Focus, has the timing and the feeling that go so well with Ogerman's harmonic conceptions. He does not dominate this record, nor does Ogerman in fact. Together they have strived for beauty, for a sound that makes other present-day sounds seem "bourgeois", for innovations where innovations were welcome.

Listen for example to Aranjuez. Just abour everybody has used Rodrigo's theme, from Miles Davis to The Swingle Singers to your local bar pianist. But Ogerman's orchestration is little less than a marvel of brooding strings and lamenting woodwinds. Listen to Ravel: even the Swiss clockmaker, as Strawinsky used to call him, would have nodded in approval if he had still lived to hear a master's cover version of a masterpiece. Listen to Villa-Lobos - one must have a truly deep perception of Brazilian idiom to add so much new enchantment to an already peerless jewel.

Ogerman has inspired Akkerman and vice versa. The simplicity of single string guitar against, or rather enveloped in, the complexety of this typical Ogerman orchestra. Not a record for careless swingers. Not a record to play at low level in the wee small hours with burning candles and Chamobille Musigny or Chateau Margaux. Far mor a record to mark the departure for new musical horizons.

To quote Ogerman himself: "I think the album is hair-raisingly beautiful and if I'm honest it's about the most sophisticated project I was ever involved in..."

My goodness, they have gone far - Akkerman and Ogerman. I just hope not far enough not to be heard and understood and appreciated by those with ears to hear and hearts to beat a little faster.

Vinyl LP
Release No.
CBS 81843
Jan Akkerman (guitar)
Claus Ogerman (conductor)
Niels Henning ├śrsted Pedersen (bass)
John J. Vis and Ruud Jacobs
Dick Lewzey
C.T.S. Studios, London
Side 1
Adagio from "Concierto de Aranjuez" (Rodrigo)
Nightwings (Ogerman)
Modinha (preludio) (Villa-Lobos)
Espanoleta (Sanz)

Side 2
Pavane pour une infante defunte (Ravel)
Love remembered (Akkerman)
The seed of God (from "Magdalena") (Villa-Lobos)
Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 (Villa-Lobos)