Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mike Oldfield's Ommadawn

After Tubular Bells and Hergest Ridge third incarnation of Oldfield’s musical idea became Ommadawn – and this trilogy seems to be complete cycle. In September 1974 first succesful Oldfield’s composition was recorded in David Bedford’s orchestration. Mike Oldfield played guitars, but this version was convincing only for greatest fans. Bedford’s rearrangement makes guitar parts mainstream of musical narration and strengthen them in orchestral section. But rules of arranging for symphonic orchestra forced him to make this in academic manner. And this was the same as loosing most of the power of Oldfield’s ideas. Next year, on August, 28th Virgin Records had published The Orchestral Tubular Bells. Few days after premiere it was clear this record definitely was not able to reach the popularity levels of Oldfield’s prior recordings. In next few weeks Mike Oldfield in his home in Hergest Ridge recorded his third two-part composition Ommadawn. Released month later on October 21st this became third commercial success, reaching 4th UK Album Chart position.

Mike Oldfield - Ommadawn (1975)

In this recording for the third time Mike Oldfield did something phenomenal. Repeating uncomplicated melodic phrases in the minimalist way and using simple polyphonic effect to build structures where interfering tension between themes is able to focus the attention of listener. This gave this work a great narrative potential. Maybe it was not very inventing from the historian point of view, but it gave a chance for those who was not ready to decide. Especially this has happened in the crucial moment of collision between radical counter-culture and pop-cultural disco fashion trends.
Trying to resist against pop-music, producers decide to publish on 7" single final part of Ommadawn called The Horse Song and previously unreleased Oldfield's recording of In dulci jubilo. In later reeditions of Ommadawn LP these comes out interchaengably or In dulci jubilo was added as a bonus track.


zuravik said...

Thanks to your posts I got back to some Oldfield's records that my father played to me when I was a teenager. Thanks for this. May I suggest some Warren Zevon story? :-)

Krzysztof Szatrawski said...

Thank you! Warren Zevon is on my list. Well... among many others. But some day his day will come!

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