Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei - CD Reviews

The Sounding Board

Lots of Texture...
Influenced by Lizst and Mozart, Agnus Dei mixes classical soundscapes into ambient textures and adds a unique ingredient of readable, esoteric poetry. Composer Gerald Krampl offers his contemplative intermixture of electric keyboards, acoustic piano and percussive sonics. The accompanying booklet of his late wife, Hilde Krampl’s poetry adds interest and impact to the music.

Gerald Krampl’s music has changed since his debut in the early seventies and eighties. He is the founder of two influential progressive/art rocks bands, Indigo and Kyrie Eleison. His adoption of New Age philosophies, the study of runes, meditation and a master degree in Reiki has made him change from progressive rock ensemble music to the atmospheric works he offers on his fifth release, Gaia.

The opening track Goddess of the Earth is an energetic piece that does homage to the earthly divinity Gaia. Strong piano movements, ethereal background vocals and percussion provide the sound and tempo for a dance. Around the midnight fire, in the secret caverns perhaps. Or in the meadow in springtime. The poem Goddess of the Earth carries a simple plea, “I want to serve you with all my strength.”

In Song of Hope, the music rolls around with twinkling adagios, giving it a sense of movement, a bit of timelessness. The Arthurian poetry suggests that in times of trouble, there is hope to be found. The message of optimism is even more important in our time.

The short song, The World is Round is a bit brooding, but a pleasing tune nonetheless. Many may not hear it at first, but there is an almost baroque undertone to this piece. I like it as it is a bit more down to earth than countless ambient melodies I have heard. The song is dedicated to our favorite planet and the future of our world. Hilde Krampl’s accompanying poem says, “If we don’t change, a lot will happen, we will lose the earth, and never see it again.”

The cut, Children of the Stars has a ring of familiarity to it. It is one of those songs that get in your head and begs to be remembered. Like a theme for a television show or documentary, but without being ostentatious. The piano playing is bright and cheerful like a blue-skied day, the sun in your eyes and that walk in the park you promised the kids. Day turns to night and there they are, your Children of the Stars shining down on you.

Appropriately titled, In the End finishes the line up of music on Gaia . The song is rather mellow and has a strong underlying texture of classical influence that melts Old World tone to New Age vibrations. It is a song of goodbyes and sadness, but it still maintains energy. There are other songs on the album that have good, earthy soundscapes to them such as The Oak Tree and Bird of the Wood. All contributing to the main theme of Gaia the mother of life, the mother of the planet.

Agnus Dei has several other albums out such as Lemuria, that presents a Sci-fi story about a crystal world, and Merlyn that delves into the world of magic and honor. The album about angels, Angelos is New Age prayer music. We are saddened by the loss of poetess Hilde Krampl, but her spirit lives on in her poetry books. Gerald Krampl will hopefully set more of her ideas into the music that uplifts the spirit and warms the heart.

-R J Lannan

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“Lemuria” is one of two albums released back-to-back by Austrian duo, Agnus Dei. Like “Merlyn”, “Lemuria” is a package of original music composed and played by Gerald Krampl and a booklet of poetry written by the late Hilde Krampl, Gerald’s wife, who sadly died of cancer shortly after the albums were released. The poems are to be read while listening to the music, and tell the legend of the crystal world, the threats to its existence, and the plan to save it peacefully. I enjoyed “Merlyn” a lot, but I like “Lemuria” much better. The music seems more evocative and substantial. I also felt that “Merlyn” would be improved with a grand piano and real strings, but the keyboard instrumentation on “Lemuria” suits the music perfectly. Gerald Krampl was the founder of and keyboardist for two progressive rock bands in the 70’s and 80’s, and the influences are heard but updated into more of a neo-classical/new age sound. “Lemuria” works really well as a concept album, and most of the music is soothing and relaxing. “Longing” opens the collection with a wistful, dreamy mood conveyed with piano and synth woodwinds - a very beautiful piece. “The Cave In the Magic Forest” is a lighter but still bittersweet piece - just a little mysterious. “Guardian of the Crystal” is more stately and reverent, and has more of a symphonic sweep. “Somewhere Is Hope” hints strongly of Erik Satie, and is very dark and somber. My favorite track, “In The Dome of Light,” is much more upbeat and describes the joyous victory celebration while the heroes produce a dome of light and love over the city to protect it forever. Very enjoyable!

“Merlyn” is a very interesting concept album combining the music of Viennese keyboardist Gerald Krampl and his late wife, Hilde’s, poetry. The music is classically-influenced new age piano and keyboards, and follows the tale of Merlyn, the magician’s return. The combination of music and poetry makes a very nice package. The poems are written in German and English in the accompanying booklet. A lot of the music has a big symphonic sound, and is orchestrated with the use of keyboards. Other pieces are more intimate. Classically-trained as a child, Gerald Krampl founded two symphonic rock bands (Kyrie Eleison and Indigo) in the 70’s and 80’s , and parts of the album remind me a bit of some of the symphonic work done by The Moody Blues and Deep Purple in the early ‘70s. Most of the music is calming and melodic, although there are a couple of songs that are more rhythmic and upbeat. “Doubts Vanish In the Wind” hints strongly of Erik Satie in its minimalism and somber simplicity - a very nice piece. I also really like “Giza”, a bittersweet piece with electronic vocals and a haunting quality. My favorite track is “The Meeting of the Old Masters”, a rhythmic work driven by piano, bass, and synth strings. My other favorite is “Merlyn’s Awakening,” a joyous piece that really sparkles. I would love to hear this music with a good grand piano and real strings, as the electronic instruments are always less expressive than their acoustic counterparts, but that isn’t a major detraction on this CD.

-Kathy Parsons

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Music Dish

Though completely instrumental, this cd is based on a wealth of poetry that is included (in 2 languages) in the fat little cd booklet. Hilde is to thank for these. Gerald handles the soft compositions that are mostly acoustic piano, augmented by some synth (strings, pan flutes and otherwise) effects.

Let's have a gander at the opening title track 'Lemuria' and keep in mind these words were translated from the German (I think):

Lemuria, city of my longing
When will you return
Lemuria, city of my love
You are my luck
I know you are there
Not far away
Only a moment
A beat of the wing away
I am drawn to you
My longing is great
I want to return to you
You are my home.

Like any good concept album, you need a good concept to wrap your music around. And the words provide this. True, as with modern art, if you memorize the title and look at the picture long enough, you'll start to understand. But what's wrong with that? The music here isn't trying to fool anyone, it's simply going after what all new age wants - to make you feel, and to make you feel better.

-Ben Ohmart (Assistant Editor)

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Last September, I reviewed two CDs by Gerald and Hilde Krampl of Austria, titles Lemuria and Merlyn. Sadly, before poet Hilde Krampl could see the success of those albums, she contracted cancer and crossed over. Now, despite his sadness at losing his mate and partner, Gerald Krampl has released a new CD, Agnus Dei - Angelos.

The new release, like the others, includes a booklet of Hilde's poems, “Angelprayers,” with each poem addressed to one of ten angels. Hilde's poems and Gerald's music are full of upbeat, positive energy. The music is instrumental, primarily piano with electronic augmentation, and it's a bit more percussive than the previous CDs. Gerald has his own style, different than the usual New Age instrumentalist, and I like the energy of it. It's a fitting tribute to his beloved Hilde.

-Kathryn Sargent

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Innerchange Magazine

Even though there is the quality of romantic drama in this music, it's also humorous and playful. If you enjoy classically orientated New Age music, these are for your collection.

-Lee Stone

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Ragazzi Magazin

Die kompositorischen Ideen sind ausgefeilt, die Themen interessant und nachvollziehbar. Alltagsstress und Hektik werden abgebaut und innere Entspannung breitet sich aus. Wer die Musik so versteht wird mit Angelos gut asukommen.

-Volkmar Mantei

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