Composer Gennady Ilyin, a graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, founded the Russian prog rock formation Little Tragedies in 1994. Between 1995 and 2000 Little Tragedies was a trio with Gennady Ilyin on keyboards, Yuri Skripkin on drums and Oleg Babynin on bass guitar. What a wonderful genuine Russian names! After a visit to Paris, keyboard wizard Gennady got inspired by the impressive Parisian architecture and cultural heritage. Afterwards he started to work on a Paris-tribute with Little Tragedies. He recorded that album in September 1997 in Moscow and now the French prog rock label Musea released it on CD.
On the website of Little Tragedies, you can read that the music for The Paris Symphony was inspired by the visit to Paris and by attending the Easter-service at the Notre Dame de Paris. The climax of this almost 45-minutes work is the three-part opus Napoleon that, in a way, is the nucleus of the symphony. It determines the structure and intonation of House Of Invalids, Notre-Dame de Paris, Luxemburg Garden, Montmartre and Triumphal Arch. The major themes of The Paris Symphony are based on the tunes of the catholic Easter worship service in the Notre Dame Cathedral. Little Tragedies performed The Paris Symphony a few times in schools of music and in the concert halls of Kursk, the city were the band was born.
The album contains nine tracks between two and eleven minutes with a total time of about 56 minutes. The band delivers mainly bombastic atmospheres, filled with dazzling and spectacular synthesizer flights and Emersonian Hammond organ runs, supported by a tight and energetic rhythm-section. Only the short composition Moonlight People contains a mellow and dreamy atmosphere with orchestral keyboards, but finally this track also culminates in bombastic sounds with sensational keyboards. In general, the music of Little Tragedies is a winner for the fans of ELP, Trace and Gerard. I am blown away by the majestic church organ in Notre Dame De Paris and Montmartre and by the exciting duels between Hammond organ and synthesizer in Romantic Waltz and Relayer. This really is virtuosic keyboard driven prog rock!
***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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