Harmonium‘s timeless sound is coming back — and heading to the symphony.
The legendary Quebec group’s entire catalogue — their self-titled 1974 debut album, the 1975 followup Si On Avait Besoin D’Une Cinquième Saison and 1976’s L’Heptade — have all been revisited and orchestrated by arranger and conductor Simon Leclerc, backed by 68 musicians of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. The result is Histoires Sans Paroles: Harmonium Symphonique co-produced by Serge Fiori and Leclerc, under the artistic direction of Nicolas Lemieux and GSI Musique.
The first project from Harmonium since the release of L’Heptade 44 years ago, the symphonic performance of Histoires Sans Paroles, totalling more than 140 minutes, is more than simple orchestral interpretations. It’s a reworking of the songs revealing the compositions in a whole new light. The exquisite flavor, the subtlety and the multiple layers offered by this instrumental work, invite each listener to imagine their own new stories of what for many had become part of the soundtrack of their life.
Harmonium are one of the most influential bands in Quebec music history and their success reached across North America as the sound of progressive rock came to characterize the 1970s music scene. The success of their three albums and the single Pour Un Instant resulted in an invitation to Los Angeles, where the National Film Board of Canada filmed Harmonium en Californie. In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked Si On Avait Besoin D’Une Cinquième Saison at No. 36 of the Best 50 Progressive Rock Albums and declared it the Best Progressive Folk Album. In 2007, all three of Harmonium’s albums were included in Bob Mersereau’s book The Top 100 Canadian Albums. The influence they had on the sound of Quebec music was immense and still resonates.
Histoires Sans Paroles will be available on Dec. 3, exclusively at www.harmoniumsymphonic.com in CD, vinyl and digital formats. Pre-orders of Histoires sans paroles can now be placed at the site, where fans can also hear the first excerpt of the song Harmonium.