Harmonium – Si On Avait Besoin D’une Cinquieme Saison (1975/1991)

Harmonium - Si On Avait Besoin D'une Cinquieme Saison
Artist:
Artist: Harmonium
Album: Si On Avait Besoin D’une Cinquieme Saison
Genre: Prog Folk
Label: Polydor
Year Of Release: 1975/1991
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)

Tracklist:
1. Vert (5:35)
2. Dixie (3:26)
3. Depuis L’Automne (10:28)
4. En Pleine Face (4:51)
5. Histoires Sans Paroles (17:12)

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Personnel:
– Serge Fiori / 6- & 12-string acoustic guitars, concert flute, mandolin, zither harp, bass drum, cymbal, spoons, vocals
– Michel Normandeau / acoustic guitar, accordion, dulcimer, vocals
– Serge Locat / piano & electric piano, Mellotron, synthesizer
– Pierre Daigneault / concert & piccolo flutes, soprano saxophone, clarinet & bass clarinet, recorder
– Louis Valois / bass, electric piano, vocals

With:
– Marie Bernard / ondes Martenot (3,4)
– Judi Richards / vocalisations (5)
– Fred Torak / co-arranger

“Si On Avait Besoin D’Une Cinquieme Saison”, also known as “Les Cinq Saisons”, is the second studio album from Harmonium and was released in 1975. The line up of the album is Serge Fiori, Michel Normandeau, Pierre Daigneault, Louis Valois, Serge Locat and Judy Richard.

Harmonium was one of the best Canadian prog bands in the Province of Quebec. Harmonium’s career was short, five years. It ended when the members of the band felt they had said all they had to say in the best possible way. Consequently, the three studio albums plus one live album that they left to posterity can all be considered important artistic statements. The band’s impact on Quebec rock and culture in general has been tremendous, even in these days.

“Si On Avait Besoin D’Une Cinquieme Saison” marks a change in the direction of the musical style of Harmonium. This new second studio album is less focused on folk, like their eponymous debut studio album “Harmonium”, to a more symphonic progressive rock style. It’s a conceptual album around a seasonal concept. The first four songs are about the four traditional four seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, but it has also a fifth song that represents an imaginary fifth season. As was usual, in those times on the Canadian bands from Quebec, the lyrics are all in French.

On their second album, Harmonium had expanded from a trio to a five-piece as they were joined by the keyboardist Serge Locat and Pierre Daigneault who handled various wind instruments, including flute, clarinet and saxophone. This time there were actually no drums around at all, but you won’t probably give it a thought at all when you’re listening to the rich and progressive sound of this album that has a concept based around the different seasons of the year. And, as we know, an Italian used the same concept exactly two hundred and fifty years earlier. Of course I’m talking about of the famous “The Four Seasons” of Antonio Vivaldi, the great Italian composer of the Baroque classic period. However, Harmonium added their twist by including a mysterious fifth season. This imaginary season was represented by the fantastic 17-minute “Histories Sans Paroles”. This complex and mostly instrumental masterpiece shows compositional talent and abilities from Fiori that put him in the same class as Richard Harvey from Gryphon. And although Gryphon and Harmonium doesn’t sound much like each other, the comparison is still justified by the fact that both bands evolved from folk to their own kind of complex progressive rock that still maintained the folk roots within their sound.

“Vert” corresponds to the first season, Spring. It opens the album magnificently. It begins with a nice flute melody, providing the tunes for this beautiful, calm and melodic song. It has beautiful vocal harmonies. It’s very accessible but has some complexity. The song is emotional, deepest and intense. “Dixie” corresponds to the second season, Summer. It’s the most simple and melodic song of all. It’s a rhythmic song, very stirring and has great solos, especially clarinet and piano. It’s an incredible song. “Depuis L’Automne” corresponds to the third season, Autumn. It starts slowly and grows gradually. In the end, it reaches an intense climax. The vocal harmonies are amazing contributing to a perfect song. It’s important to note the use of Mellotron. It’s wonderful for tron maniacs like me. “En Plein Face” corresponds to the fourth season, Winter. It has the spirit of this season. It’s a melancholic and sad song but it’s also very beautiful. It brings us some mixed feelings. It brings tears to my eyes. The accordion on the end of the song reminds me the typical sound of the French and Argentinian music. “Histoires Sans Paroles” corresponds to the fifth season. It’s the magnum opus here. It’s so fantastic and perfect that is difficult to express my feelings. It’s magic and the performances here are great, like Mellotron, flute, guitars and the vocal harmonies are perfect too. The music is so celestial that, if there is a God, He must be here on this song. It’s a perfect song to close this incredible, beautiful and amazing work.

Conclusion: “Si On Avait Besoin D’Une Cinquieme Saison” is the kind of progressive album, obscure and missed by most of the people and only known by experts like us. It’s one of those pearls like “Hybris” and “Epilog” of Anglagard, “Depois Do Fim” of Bacamarte, “Unfolded Like Staircase” of Discipline and “Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas” of Quarteto 1111, only to mention a few of them, that deserve to be discovered. “Si On Avait Besoin D’Une Cinquieme Saison” is, without any doubt a great album, an absolute masterpiece and it’s also, in my opinion, one of the best albums released in the 70’s. It’s almost an acoustic album, musically very beautiful, that sounds different and it’s, in a certain way, a special and unique album in the progressive music scene of that time. If you like the sound of the acoustic albums mixed with some electric parts, especially Mellotron, and you are searching for something that sounds beautiful and different, you shouldn’t miss it for any reason. If the perfection and the beauty exist, they’re here.
Review by e210013

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