Harmonium
Les Cinq Saisons


5.0
classic

Review

by e210013 USER (181 Reviews)
December 20th, 2021 | 47 replies


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the most beautiful albums I heard. The perfection made human.

“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.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (269)
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
Jethro42 (5)
Vous ne savez pas ce que les paroles veulent dire? Peu importe, il suffit de savoir ce que la musiqu...



Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
December 20th 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

After The Book Of Invasions of Horslips, and to close this year, I decided to choose a true prog classic, Si On Avait Besoin D'Une Cinquième Saison of Harmonium.

When I bought my CD copy I think more than ten years ago and after have read great many things about it, I was amazed with it. It's one of the best acoustic prog albums I've ever heard and I really love acoustic works.

It's true that it has already a great review of my friend Jethro, but I needed to do this. Besides, his review was written many time ago and in his mother tongue, French. So, to finally have here on Stutnik a review in English makes all sense to me. I hope you can enjoy it.

Merry Christhmas and a happy new year for all members and users of Sputnik. We'll see us here again in 2022 with some more prog stuff. Cheers.



AnimalsAsSummit
December 20th 2021


5850 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. Amazing album and band

e210013
December 20th 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks Animal. Nice to talk with you, pal.

Jethro42
December 20th 2021


16871 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Huh, I wrote my French review a decade ago, when prog was approached with a big respect on here. I'm glad you did yours. What an album! Full of rich melodies and deep, colorful musical expressions. I pretty much love every tracks. That rhythmic twelve string guitar. These Fiori's vocals evoking a musical instrument. These mellotrons...All the songs evoke each seasons very well. ''Histoires Sans Paroles'' is very hypnotising and makes me shed tears of joy. It makes me relaxing and it's meditative and moving in the same time. It's truly magical and grandiose, I agree with you. What an incredible fifth season.

I really enjoyed your review. It needed an English one lol. It's a shame their career was that short.

''It ended when the members of the band felt they had said all they had to say in the best possible way.''

So true.

normaloctagon
December 20th 2021


8233 Comments


nice. will check

Digging: MF DOOM - Special Herbs 7,8

e210013
December 20th 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm very glad that you liked my review, Jethro. And it's absolutely true. It seems that it was yesterday. But, "le temp passe trop vite, mon ami".

In reality, and as strange as it seems, I only read your review yesterday and I did it in your mother tongue. Fortunately, I have knowledge enough to read and understand relativelly well French, and nothing better than read in the original language. I really liked your review, very informative as I like, and that you have mentioned Trespass and Tony Banks on your review. I completelly agree with you. I always saw Trespass as probably the the most beautiful album of Genesis, not their best, but surely the most simple and naive of all Genesis albums. There's some purity on it that probably never happened in their future works. Besides, I always loved Banks. I always said that Banks and Hackett are my favourite Genesis members. And he is also one my favourite keyboardists too. Of course Les Cinq Saisons is a better album than Trespass is. Still, I can feel the purity and probably the simplicity on both, but not the naivety. In reality, Les Cinq Saisons is more professional and mature than Trespass is.

Thanks my friend. It's really a pity that Harmonium had a so short life.

e210013
December 20th 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah Norma. Do that. I hope you like it too.

Source
December 21st 2021


19373 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

stunning album

Jethro42
December 21st 2021


16871 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Woah e21, you are the man of many talents. I wasn't aware of your French's knowledge. I can hear you about the beauty of Trespass which contains memorable songs full of both purity and naivety. Honestly, if I had to listen to a Genesis album right now, it would probably be Trespass. That's where everything started. It paved the way of the classic line up, so I agree with you. I don't know where you're at with Harmonium's albums, but if you haven't done, check all of their work, especially L'Heptade, another classic of symphonic folk stuff a la Days of the Future passed (The Moody Blues) That's where the following statement comes from;

''Band ended when the members of the band felt they had said all they had to say in the best possible way.''.

Don't forget their live album which covers L'Heptade in a rocking manner. Harmonium the album is folk rock just like Harmonium can do. Cheers.



e210013
December 21st 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah true Source. Thanks, and it was a pleasure to see you again on one of my reviews.

e210013
December 21st 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for the info my friend. I already checked all tose albums some years ago, but I need to do it again to can rate them properly. Form what I remember they're all great, but this one is my favourite.

About my knowledge about French, in my youth I had five years of French in school. So, it isn't so strange. I can read relatively well but I'm not so confortable to hear, write and especially talk because nowadays my only contact is through films or series on TV.

BaselineOOO
December 21st 2021


1222 Comments


Always found this album cringe, even by symphonic prog rock standards. Sounds like The Moody Blues if they tried a little harder.

e210013
December 21st 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

There are some common points, but I think is more folk, less British and more acoustic. I never seen it in that way.

ResidentNihilist
December 21st 2021


2142 Comments


Now it remains to be said who is going to do that fiori-seguin album?

e210013
December 21st 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice thought and nice challenge Resident. Probably me. I have thought about it a lot. I like very much the album. Maybe next year I'll do it. It's in my list. Somehow, it comes to my mind the Nespresso announcement. Addapting it: Who else?

Zig
December 22nd 2021


2367 Comments


this is a fantastic record and review!

boas festas, amigo!

e210013
December 22nd 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Obrigado amigo. O mesmo para ti.

TheIntruder
December 22nd 2021


578 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"this is a fantastic record and review!"

I agree with Zig. Continue your good work pal. Pos.

Merry Christmas too.

e210013
December 22nd 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Indeed. Thanks, dude. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too.

MrSirLordGentleman
December 22nd 2021


14829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Baseline going cringe as always



Great review m8! I prefer l'Heptade over this but it is still a classic and certainly the most striking and unique of the two



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