Guildenstern — Guildenstern
(Garden of Delights CD 164, 1979/2011, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-03-12
The story of this band begins in May 1976 when bassist and guitarist Michael Lippert and drummer Claus Lange, together with keyboard player Gerd Schmelzer and guitarist Reinhard Olschanski, all veterans of various bands in the Rüsselscheim area, would form a new group specifically to work on a rock opera based on Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, the band taking the name Guildenstern and the rock opera was named Life’s a Stage, sort of a spoof on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The band performed the piece at many shows and got plenty of favorable press, but their dream of releasing an LP of the material never came to be. Over time, keyboardist Bernd Scholl would replace Schmelzer, second guitarist Michael Kuplien would join, and dedicated lead singer Gerd Holfelder would join and later leave, and in the early months of 1980 Guildenstern finally called it a day. Of the recordings at hand, the first eight cuts were recorded in the band’s rehearsal room over a two year period (1978-79) featuring different line-ups, and the final three cuts were taken from one of the band’s most successful concerts in September 1979. The listener needs to keep in mind that these are rehearsal and live recordings that were never made with the intention of being released; Garden of Delights has done a superb job making them as listenable as possible, so Guildenstern can finally be heard by all. So what did they sound like? This is keyboard-oriented progressive rock with some folk-rock and jazz elements thrown into the mix; one can draw some parallels with the Eloy of the Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes era, early Genesis, and perhaps Neuschwanstein or Camel. One can only imagine how great this band would have sounded if their material had been properly produced and released in its day. But it is what it is, and we’re fortunate to even have this archival document. Keyboard player Bernd Scholl would go on to release a dozen albums of electronic and ambient music beginning in 1982 until the present day. Most of the other members have remained musically active through the years as well.
Related artist(s): Guildenstern
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more