LE ROI EST MORT VIVE LE ROI
“Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!” (“The King is dead, long live the King!”) was a proclamation made following the accession of a new monarch in France during the period 1461 to 1824. The seemingly contradictory phrase was used to simultaneously announce the death of the previous monarch and assure the public of continuity by saluting the new monarch. Why did Cretu use this expression in the title of the third album? The accession of a new monarch is always associated with changes; therefore the aforementioned proclamation is a symbol of continuity but at the same time also the changes which are yet to come. After listening to Enigma’s third album it becomes evident that its title matches the content. Cretu’s new creation is a little bit different to the previous albums; giving it this very title indicates the opening of a new chapter in Enigma’s story. The old king is dead… so long live the new one.
The quotes on the inside of the cover:
There are not many quotes here requiring special attention or insightful analysis. On the inside of the cover, fragments of lyrics from songs on this album can be found, alongside the record company details. It is, however, worth noting that not all the lyrics are quoted exactly as they appear in songs. Take for example the line “Most of the energy we spend is like a footprint on moving sands” – it is not featured in any of the pieces in this exact form. It seems to be connected to “The Roundabout”, but it is hard to tell for sure what its origin and purpose is.
The pictures on the inside of the cover:
All images on the inside of the cover are taken from old French postcards. A skilful eye will be able to tell that one of the postcards was addressed to a certain Germanie Brand. Sadly, no mentions of such a person can be found in any of the available sources, therefore all we can do is respect her wish to remain anonymous. The postmark on the stamp shows the date AU 21 08, which, I believe, should be interpreted as the 21st August 1908…
The title “ENIGMA 3” can be seen on the front cover. However, at a closer look a sequence of digits can be spotted: 2, 3, and 4, with 2 transforming into 3. A similar layout was used in the film “Alien3”, with number 3 placed a bit higher than the main text. The cover of the album shows three alien figures (the number 3 again), which are also featured in the music video to “Beyond The Invisible”. The aliens have taken on human form, with clothing made out of various machines. This was how people imagined extraterrestrials in the 60s. The author of the cover and other illustrations associated with the third album is Volker Sträter.
The pictures above portray the “aliens” – humans with machine elements incorporated into their bodies (something that looks like an engine component, a spur gear, and another device which is difficult to identify).
Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!
The album “Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!” begins with the title track. In the background of this song we can hear the following words: “X RAY Delta 1, This is Mission Control. Roger you are one niner-three zero”. This is a quote from Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey” from 1968. In the sample used by Cretu, Mission Control is contacting the Discovery and giving Dr David Bowman permission to replace the (supposedly) faulty AE-35. “2001: A Space Odyssey” is a masterpiece in its genre; it goes beyond the usual framework of science fiction films, leaning more towards the one of a psychological treatise. It was partially inspired by Arthur C. Clark’s short story “The Sentinel”. The original, three-hour-long version of the film is split into three interconnected parts. Part one presents the story of a group of man-apes who discover a featureless black monolith, supposedly a sign from some kind of a remote civilisation, which encourages them to progress with technological development. That same block also appears in part two of the film, set in the year 2001. Although so many years have passed, people still cannot figure out its purpose. The film won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects – actually, these do not cease to amaze the audience with their precision and originality up to this day.
Morphing Thru Time
The song “Morphing Thru Time” begins with the words: “Earth. A biosphere. A complex, subtly balanced life support system”. This phrase was taken from Dreadzone’s “The Lost Tribe”, a song from the album “Biological Radio”(1997). Dreadzone is a British electronic group whose music is an eclectic fusion of dub, hip hop and house.
In “Morphing Thru Time” we can also hear elements of a Gregorian chant. Here, Michael Cretu used samples of “Passer Invenit” – the eleventh track on the album “IN PARADISUM (Gregoriani Cantus – Contemplation and beauty)” (1996) by Pierre Kaelin from Freiburg.
The fragment of “Passer Invenit” used by Cretu originates in The Book of Psalms. The original version of the psalm is presented below, along with its translation:
Passer invenit sibi domum,
et turtur nidum,
ubi reponat pullos suos:
alta ria tua Domine virtutum,
Rex meus, et Deus meus!
Beati qui habitant in domo tua,
in saeculum saeculi laudabunt te.
The sparrow has found herself a home,
and the turtle dove a nest where she may keep her young:
at thine altars, Lord of hosts, my King and my God;
blessed are they that dwell in thy house,
they shall praise thee for ever and ever.
The secrets of a Gregorian chant
The first Christian songs of praise were brought to life alongside the first Christian rituals. As all the apostles were brought up in Jewish communities, the Christian songs of praise did not differ much from the Jewish ones. Both were monophonic, purely vocal, and enriched with a significant amount of melismas (singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession). Moreover, most early Christian songs used melodies of synagogue songs. When new communities were formed, in the very beginning the songs were passed from one community to another. As the time went by, more people were becoming Christian and the melodies started to change. The same lyrics would often be applied to several different melodies. The reason for this was simple: the musical notation used at the time left a lot of room for personal interpretation, as the stave notation had yet to be developed. When Emperor Constantine I issued the Edict of Milan in 313 AD giving the Christians freedom of religion, no one tried to use even the smallest fragments of old songs anymore. Lyrics were changed too. Known writers of that period included Ephrem the Syrian (also called the Marian Doctor due to his compositions dedicated to the Virgin Mary), Saint Ambrose and many others. But everything has an end. When Theodosius the Great made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire, church services were incorporated into public rituals. When visitors from other cities were present at such rituals, they either sang off tune or did not sing at all.
Pope Leo I acknowledged this problem and started his work towards the normalisation of Christian music. One of his successors, Pope Gelasius I, realised that such normalisation is impossible, as there were more differences than similarities between individual hymns. Therefore, he began working towards development of a completely new set of hymns. The greatest progress in development of liturgical music was made during the papacy of Pope Gregory I (died in 604). It was him who the Gregorian chant was named after.
Gregorian chant had all the aforementioned characteristics of a Christian hymn (monophonic, purely vocal, with a significant amount of melismas), but it also had its own additional features. Its lyrics could not be written in any other language than Latin, only men were allowed to sing it (many biblical texts were interpreted this way, e.g. 1 Corinthians 14:33-35), and it was performed a capella (for a long time organ was banned by the Church, considered a barbaric instrument). Its melody was always based on church modes. These modes originated in early Greek tonoi (Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian, etc.) Only the dignified and majestic tonoi were incorporated into church modes, as, according to the Church, some keys could awaken sinful thoughts and feelings. The forbidden list included keys such as E-flat major, C minor or D minor – Beethoven’s favourites (using modern nomenclature). The Church maintained this stance throughout the whole Middle Ages, Renaissance and part of Baroque.
Most ordinary parts of liturgy were sung: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei. Later on, they were also joined by readings, psalms and responses (such as The lord be with you – And also with you). The earliest notated sources of Gregorian chant used symbols called neumes, derived from cheironomic hand-gestures, to indicate tone-movements and relative duration within each syllable. Later on, Gregorian chants were usually written in square notation on a four-line staff with a clef, where small groups of ascending notes on a syllable were shown as stacked squares, read from bottom to top, while descending notes were written with diamonds read from left to right. This system is still used in modern chantbooks.
However, the Gregorian chant did not manage to avoid changes and “improvements” either. Such innovations included tropes, which was a new text sung to the same melodic phrases in a melismatic chant. For example Kyrie eleison was turned into Kyrie – adiutorium nostrum in Nomine Domini – eleison (Lord – Our help is in the name of the Lord – have mercy). As the time went by, tropes found their way into national languages. Rhyme tropes even started to emerge, which was not compliant with the spirit of Latin meter. It is not hard to imagine how much tropes upset the rhythmic and melodic balance of a Gregorian chant – the final product was something that had very little to do with the original. In 16th century, The Council of Trent addressed the issue of tropes, the number of which had escalated to a few thousand by then. The reform banned the use of nearly all the tropes, leaving only 5 of them.
New choirs were formed, specialised in Gregorian chants. As the time went by, these choirs adapted the chants to be sung in harmony. That was how polyphony (the opposite of monophony) was created. A lot of composers, especially 20th century musicians, were inspired by Gregorian chants when composing. Remnants of the chants are present in melodies of many psalms and hymns, such as Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium (often sung in English as the hymn Of the Glorious Body Telling, to the same tune as the Latin). Despite the general opinion, the melody associated with “O salutaris Hostia” (Latin, “O Saving Victim”) is not based on a Gregorian chant, but the medieval hymn “Gaude Mater Polonia” which is undoubtedly similar to a Gregorian chant.
Pierre Kaelin - a biographical overview
Pierre Kaelin was born on 12th May 1913. He learnt about Gregorian chants when he was a child. His teacher was Louis Ruffieux. Pierre had three brothers, all of whom became monks. He joined a theological seminary in 1933. After graduation he went on to continue his education in César Franck in Paris. He graduated in 1947 and soon after published his first album. In 1949, Kaelin started teching in “l’Ecole Normale”, a school in Freiburg. Among his students were Charly Torche and André Ducret. Kaelin retired in 1995, with the title of a professor of the Freiburg Academy. He died that same year. He will be remembered by many as a man of exceptional charisma and extraordinary talent.
Beyond the Invisible
In the exceptional song “Beyond The Invisible”, Cretu used samples of a Latvian chant “Sajaja Brammani” from the album “LETTONIE Musiques des rites solaires” (1989). The lyrics to “Sajaja Brammani” are taken from a Latvian folk chant. Its chorus was written by Valdis Muktupavels. A fragment of the chant, along with the translation, can be found below:
Sajaja brammani totari ta, raitata raitata, radu ridu raitata, rota
The brave and wise men came together on horse
Approximately halfway through “Beyond The Invisible” the music calms down and we can hear phrases of a Gregorian chant. These samples were taken from Pierre Kaelin’s album “IN PARADISUM (Gregoriani Cantus – Contemplation and beauty)” (1996). It was the second time Cretu sampled Kaelin’s work – this time it was the chant “Rorate Caeli”. Its lyrics are a passage from the Book of Isaiah (64, 8-10). A fragment of the hymn, along with the translation, is presented below:
Ne irascaris Domine
ne ultra memineris iniquitatis:
ecce civitas Sancti facta est deserta,
Sion deserta facta est,
Ierusalem desolata est
domus sanctificationis tuae et gloriae tuae
Do not be angry Lord,
or remember iniquity forever:
behold the Holy City is a desert:
Sion is mad a desert:
Jerusalem is desolate:
the house of your holiness and glory
Ne irascaris domine, ne ultra memineris iniquitatis
When Isaiah was saying these words, the Chosen People’s political situation was very difficult – they were completely dependent on Babylon, where a significant proportion of Israelites were deported. Even though we are all physically free now, often we still have to experience the worst kind of enslavement – the enslavement by evil, which Christianity identifies as sin. That makes it crystal clear why the hymn begins with the words “Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, neither remember iniquity forever”. These words come from the observation that our actions not only influence our own lives, but also the lives of everyone around us.
Ecce civitas Sancti facta est deserta, Sion deserta facta est, Jerusalem desolata est
Here, the consequences of Israelites’ sins were the neglected Holy Temple, the deserted city of Jerusalem and the exile of the nation. The tragedy presented here is not only a part of a lament, but also a subtle suggestion to God that he should take action and rebuilt his one and only Holy Temple where His nation had worshipped him for ages.
In “Why!…” Cretu used samples from Pierre Kaelin’s album “IN PARADISUM” again. This time he sampled the hymn “Exsurge Quare obdormis domine”. Its lyrics are taken from the Book of Psalms (44, 24-27). A fragment of the chant, along with the translation, is presented below:
Exsurge, quare obdormis Domine?
Exsurge, et ne repellas in finem
Quare faciem tuam avertis,
oblivisceris tribulationem nostram?
Adhaesit in terra venter noster.
Exsurge, Domine, adiuva nos,
et libera nos
Arise, why dost Thou sleep, O Lord?
Arise, and cast us not off to the end.
Why dost Thou avert Thy face,
forgetting our tribulations?
Adhered to the earth are our bellies.
Arise, O Lord, help us,
and liberate us
The most characteristic features of “Why!…” might be its rhythm and the distinct sound of drums… which bears an uncanny resemblance to the song “Loser” from Beck’s album “Mellow Gold” (1994). However, rumour has it that Beck’s piece was inspired by a song “I Walk on Guilded Splinters” in the first place. The song can be found on Dr. John’s album “Gris, gris” (1968).
Beck’s biography is similar to the ones of thousands of other American teenagers. He was born in 1970 in Los Angeles, but grew up in Kansas. He came from a family of artists: his grandfather Al Hansen was associated with the famous artistic movement Fluxus, whereas his mother, Bibbe Hansen, was an actress, who at the age of 13 became Andy Warhol’s youngest starlet. As a teenager, Beck listened to a variety of music genres – a bit of punk rock, a bit of hip hop, but mostly traditional American folk. The love for the last was engrafted in him by his aunt, who introduced him to the music of artists such as Leadbelly or Woody Guthrie. Aged 17, Beck set off on a journey and settled in New York Lower East Side. He hung out with punks, listened to folk and blues, and got a taste of what shapes the outlook on life of every guy with guitar: alcohol, homelessness and hopelessness.
In 1990, tired of the monotonous part-time jobs and completely broke, he moved out to Los Angeles. It was a little bit easier there to earn money by singing and playing acoustic guitar on the streets. After some time he managed to record a few singles, all for small, independent record labels. The most famous one of them had the meaningful title “MTV Makes Me Want To Smoke Crack”.
Ironically, it was MTV that changed Beck’s fate as if by a wave of a magic wand. First, Karl Stephenson helped him record his first tape, which featured his great hit “Loser”. The song was previously published as a single by a small label Bong Load Records and was played in university radio stations across the USA. That was how headhunters from Geffen Records came across Beck. They quickly convinced him to sign a contract with them. The rest of Beck’s story reads like a Cinderella fairytale… “Loser” became a megahit. The single was shortly followed by the official debut studio album “Mellow Gold”, which became an unexpected commercial success – it sold over a million of copies and went platinum. The world was still singing along to the catchy tunes of “Loser”, when two more of Beck’s albums were released. A famous independent label K Records published his previous folk compositions under the title “One Foot in The Grave”, whereas one of the first US punk rock fanzines, “Flipside” published his rock music.
Generally, Hansen’s success should not really surprise anyone. The pieces featured on “Mellow Gold” were a mix of folk, hip hop and rock elements, a novelty timed perfectly after the collapse of the grunge revolution. Beck became the main star of festivals (with the famous Lollapalooza top of the list) and turned out to be a golden goose, even though that was not his intention at all. His next album “Odelay” sold over 2 million copies and was his greatest commercial success up to date. The album was nominated for a few Grammy Awards and won the award for Best Alternative Music Album in 1997.
The artist was back on the first pages of glossy magazines in 1998 thanks to his album “Mutations”. In this album, Beck returned to acoustic folk and blues. The singles from this album, such as “Nobody’s Fault But My Own” or “Bottle Of Blues” did not repeat the success of “Loser” or “Devil’s Haircut”. Many fans were surprised with this sudden turn towards less commercially attractive music. Those who had been disappointed with that album were definitely appeased a year later when “Midnite Vultures” was released. The new album devilishly mixed all the possible aesthetics yet again and captivated the listener with the abundance of new ideas.
The Child in Us
In “The Child In Us” we can hear a beautiful Indian invocatory chant entitled “dhyaana-shloka”, which is a part of another chant, “lakshmi ashhTottara shatanaama stotraH”. These samples were taken from the album “HEART OF ASIA”, which is a compilation of the most beautiful ethnic chants from around the world. A few verses of this chant are presented below:
prasanna vadanaam saubhaagyadaam bhaagyadaam
hastaabhyaam abhayapradaam manikanai
who is of smiling face, bestower of all fortunes,
whose hands are ready to rescue anyone from fear,
who is adorned by various ornaments with precious stones
This is the description of God. There is a place of balance between the opposites and that is the place of calm and fearlessness, the fountain-head of life.The one with the calm and blissful face is the giver of good luck and (bad) luck. The one whose raised palm instills faith and courage in us, is embellished in various pieces of precious stones
It is worth adding that many other musicians frequently used similar Indian chants in their songs, for example Delerium in his album “Karma”, Amethystium in “Shibumi”, Tangerine Dream in “At Darwin’s Motel”, Terry Oldfield in “Moonlight on a Lotus”, or Graeme Revell in “Bells, Books, and Candles” (from the soundtrack to “The Craft”).
When composing “The Child In Us”, Michael Cretu once again used Pierre Kaelin’s album “IN PARADISUM” (1996). Here we can hear samples of the chant “Puer Natus Est”. Its lyrics are taken from Old Testament, mainly the Book of Isaiah (9, 5). “Puer natus est” is the Introit for the third Mass of Christmas Day. The lyrics to the last part of this hymn are taken from the Book of Psalms (98, 1). The full lyrics to “Puer natus est”, along with the translation, are presented below:
Puer natus est nobis
Et filius datus est nobis
Cuius imperium super humerum eius
Et vocabitur nomen eius
Magni consilii Angelus
Cantate Domino canticum novum
Quia mirabilia fecit
A boy is born to us,
And a son is given to us,
upon whose shoulders authority rests,
and His name will be called
“The Angel of Great Counsel”.
Sing to the Lord a new song,
because he has done the miraculous.
After the second stanza of the aforementioned Indian chant in “The Child In Us”, we can hear a fragment of a Mongolian chant ”Ar khuvcheen unaga”. This sample was taken from an album with Mongolian music entitled “MONGOLIE Musique Vocale et Instrumentale”.
T.N.T. For The Brain
Part of the song “T.N.T. For The Brain”, especially its beginning, was copied from the piece “Martian’s Song” from Jeff Wayne’s album “War of the Worlds” (1978).
Over a century ago, in 1898, a British novelist Herbert George Wells wrote the book “The War Of The Worlds”. Written by a visionary and pioneer of science fiction literature, Wells’ book described the Martian attack on Earth quite vividly and realistically. Thirty years later, one day before Halloween, i.e. on 30th October 1938, a New York radio station CBS broadcasted an audition based on this book. Its interpretation of the novel was quite interesting and original though: the radio play was in the form of a live coverage of the extraterrestrial invasion on planet Earth, as if the events were happening right then and there. The program was so realistic that it caused a collective panic attack among the listeners. It is not that difficult to visualize nowadays: back then, radio was considered a novel and reliable communication medium, whereas Mars was just a red spot in the sky and nothing more – no one could know for sure who or what lived there. Finally, in 1978, the CD “Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds” was released.
It needs to be stressed right from the start that the album in question is startlingly original, quite extraordinary and absolutely unprecedented. Jeff Wayne is a journalist by profession, but his greatest passion is composing and producing music. He has created something which could be best described as a musical: the double album is a musical interpretation of Wells’ story featuring narratives, songs, and instrumental pieces, which all fit together very well. The music, although arranged perfectly and performed flawlessly, is primarily just a background for the main storyline, harmonizing the dynamics of the events. The things worth noting in this production are the compatibility of music with recitation and the way that songs join individual parts of the musical together – all of it gives the impression of listening to one, long piece of music. Recording and producing the musical must have been quite a significant challenge – it is impressive to this day. The project was packed with big names: the journalist (the narrator) was portrayed by Richard Burton, the artillerist – by David Essex, Beth – by Julie Covington and Beth’s husband Parson Nathaniel – by Philip Lynot (Thin Lizzy). Other stars, such as Justin Hayward, Jo Partridge, Chris Thompson, and Jeff Wayne, also took part in the recording sessions. The album sold a few million of copies around the world. It also maintained its spot on the UK list of bestselling albums for the whole 6 years! The two singles from this album – “Forever Autumn” and “The Eve Of The War” with its characteristic and widely known motive – became great hits. Covington and Lynot’s duet from “The Spirit Of Man” is also quite remarkable.
On 8th July 2005, the European premiere of Steven Spielberg’s film “War Of The Worlds” took place. The film is a spectacular show, even though it is only a loose adaptation of H. G. Wells’ classic novel. Steven Spielberg definitely has better films to his name, but this one defends itself with its suggestive vibe and the way it visibly reflects the fears of the modern world. Disguising it as a yet another story about aliens, Spielberg actually hid a significantly deeper message here. As it is always the case with Spielberg’s films, the narration is flawless. The alien invasion is described perfectly. Luckily, the director does not tell the audience straight away what they should be scared of. Combination of a great show with a deeper meaning is also a given when it comes to Spielberg’s films – because the aliens were actually just an excuse used by the director to tell the story about the dangers of the modern world. There is a scene in the film in which the camera focuses on a wall with photos of missing people affixed to it. That was not a coincidence – this shot clearly refers to the images from the World Trade Center tragedy.
Almost Full Moon
A skillful ear will be able to notice that some parts of Enigma’s song “Almost Full Moon” (precisely the female voice in the background) were probably sampled from the well-known hit “Macarena” by Los Del Rio!
In “Almost Full Moon” we can hear relaxing music, twirling of quiet tones. Vangelis’ song “Pinta, nina, Santa Maria (Into Eternity)” – the last track on the album “1492: Conquest of Paradise” – has quite a similar vibe. “1492: Conquest of Paradise” is the soundtrack from the European super-production starring Gerard Depardieu as the main character. The film was released to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage and the discovery of America. The soundtrack was Vangelis’ first album featuring new material since the release of “The City” in 1990. This album is yet another proof of Vangelis’ exceptional skills when it comes to composing music that perfectly complements the picture and becomes an integral part of the film. By combining choral music with modern instrumental interludes, the artist somehow managed to convincingly recreate the spirit of the 15th century.
In “The Roundabout” Cretu sings a line which seems to be written in a foreign, incomprehensible language: “Ha-yay, ha-yay, ha-yee-a-ya”. In reality, this language is Indian sanscrit of unknown origin. We can also hear similar lines in “Inception” from Chorus Of Tribes’ album “Myth” or in the soundtrack to “The Celestine Prophecy”, as well as many other songs.
Prism of Life
“Prism Of Life” is the second-to-last track on Enigma’s third album. It features a Gregorian chant, precisely the hymn “Sanctus XVIII” – which also happens to be the 31st track of Pierre Kaelin’s album “In Paradisum”. This hymn forms part of the Ordinary and is sung (or said) as the final words of the Preface (portion of the Eucharistic Prayer that immediately precedes the Canon or central portion of the Eucharist).
The full lyrics to this Gregorian chant are presented below:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,Dominus Deus Sabaoth:
Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria maiestatis tuae,
Hosanna in excelsis
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Holy, holy, holy, Lorde God of Hostes:
heaven (& earth) are full of thy glory:
Hosanna, in the highest.
Blessed is he that commeth in the name of the Lorde:
Hosanna, in the highest.
Odyssey Of The Mind
The final track of the CD is constructed in an unusual way: it starts with the title track, “Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!”, played backwards and later smoothly goes back to normal as we hear the final words “There is no teacher who can teach anything new; He can just help us to remember; The things we always knew”. The song finishes with sounds of the Morse code, similar to those heard in the first track of the album. Cretu, asked multiple times about the meaning of this message, replied that there is in fact no specific, comprehensible explanation behind it.
Adrian Rode (author)
Marcin Papke (translation, images and review)