****** Sensationell, für mich ist "Hergest Ridge" nach "Tubular Bells" sein bestes Werk, finde ich stärker als "Ommadawn" oder "Incantations", wenn die Werke auch so unterschiedlich sind, dass man sie nicht vergleiche sollte.
Es gibt kaum etwas, dass mich so fasziniert wie der zweite Part von Hergest Ridge und der erste ist schon stark. Aber Part 2 setzt dem Ganzen die Krone auf. Unglaublich abwechslungsreich und spannend. Das erfordert Aufmerksamkeit.
Mike played acoustic, Spanish and electric guitars, grand piano, Farfisa, Lowrey and Gemini organs, mandolin, glockenspiel, sleigh bells, timpani, nutcracker, gong.
Choir and Strings arranged and conducted by David Bedford.
Aufbau aus meiner laienhaften Sicht:
bis 3:30 unglaubliche Harmonien, eine Melodie wie sie so schön in keinem anderen der langen Stücke von ihm zu hören ist; bis 5:00 Pastoraler Gesang/Chöre (Clodagh Simonds, Sally Oldfield); bis 6:00 verschiedenste Instrumente sind zu vernehmen bis 8:30 es setzt ein ganz ruhiger Klangteppich ein, die Dramatik steigert sich aber wieder langsam (die Ruhe vor dem Sturm?); bis 9:30 Synthies, Orgeln, Gitarrenklänge bis 15:37 der "Thunderstorm" bricht los. Aus verschiedenen Quellen wird von 60 bis 90 Tonspuren gesprochen, haupsächlich Gitarren. Einige sagen hektisch und chaotisch, ich finde das relativ strukturiert bei 15:37 bricht der "Thunderstorm" schlagartig ab und es erklingen wieder wunderschöne Melodien und Gesang, die bereits den Beginn des 2. Parts auszeichnen.
In der ursprünglichen LP-Version erklangen während des "Thunderstorms"-Gesänge. In der CD-Version aus "Boxed" entfallen diese. Die Remaster neueren Datums basieren auf der "Boxed"-Version.
Aus dem Booklet (Ausschnitte):
In the autumn of 1973, Mike Oldfield moved to a remote part of Herefordshire, near the ridge which provides the album with its title and on which he would spend much of his time playing with model gliders. The status of Tubular Bells as Critically Acclaimed Worldwide Chart Topper ensured that the pressures, both spoken and silent, were immense.
Speaking to him shortly after he began work on its successor, it was evident that his enthusiasm was tempered with extreme caution. Had his approach to composition altered as a result of already having accomplished something substantial? "No, its practically The same except that now I reject many things I would've used before. I'm more conscious of what's worth recording now and I'm trying to make the material much more related. At the same time, I'm attempting to make music that I'd really like to listen to. When I sift through other people's music, there are always bits and pieces that I like and I want to make a whole record like that. I go downstairs and play piano for an hour or two and nothing happens for weeks, nothing worth building on. Then something does, and I needn't have an instrument at hand. Taking walks, for instance, which I do quite a lot, I suddenly discovered I'd invented a walking tune and I've been humming it to myself for the last few walks." He was, in urban terms, taking an idea for a drive around the block before deciding what to do with it. He was on his guard, wary and watchful.
A more restrained, introverted and overtly pastoral composition than Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge was recorded in the same setting, the Manor, but in a different climate.
Although removing Tubular Bells from its place at the top of the Album charts, Hergest Ridge failed to convince the critics who, in some cases, may have felt the compulsion to compensate for the tidal wave of enthusiasm accorded to its predecessor. On a technical level, it was unfortunate that a record of such high dynamic range should have appeared at a time when the oil crisis ensured that the best quality vinyl was difficult to obtain. As an Album of reflective and melodic mood, nothing could have been more devastating to its intentions than the audio fry-up which was predominant on the early pressings.
Hergest Ridge, by anyone else's standards, was a sizeable commercial success, not to mention an instant gold record, but Oldfield retreated again, dispirited.
Two years later, he has reconsidered and re-mixed it at the 24-track studio in his new home in Gloucestershire.