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9 Apr 2017

Vytas Brenner “La Ofrenda De Vytas” 1973 Venezuela Symphonic Prog, Latin Jazz










Vytas Brenner “La Ofrenda De Vytas” 1973 Venezuela Symphonic Prog, Latin Jazz
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Vytas Brenner is one of those rare gems that, despite being one of venezuelan’s first progressive icons, is rarely mentioned even in his own country. He was german but never had any contact with his german roots, so he was just another venezuelan, and maybe one of the unfortunate examples that foreigners appreciate more our culture than natives.
His music is rich with images from venezuelan’s culture, and applying to them the european symphonic progressive layers to develop the fusion. Rich also in instrumentation it is, from the main instruments of venezuelan folk (cuatro, harp, maracas) and incorporating electric guitars, synths, organ and symphonic instruments to complete the pack. His music also adds influences from afro-venezuelan ethnic music and latin american rhythms; examples of these rhythms may be heard in songs like “Morrocoy” and “La Sabana”, with the later having extensive use of atmospherics and percusions, while the former also includes “joropo” rhytms from venezuelan plains, which is also featured in “La Ofrenda de Miguel”, with it’s blues flavoured bridge; “Canto del Pilon” in a more symphonic surrounding and a drum solo spot; and, in a more pure form in “La Tormenta de Barlovento”. “Frailejon” seems to borrow more from western culture. “Tragavenado” and “Araguaney” could be seen as one song, with a certain margaritean feel to them; the latter features the best piano display from Vytas.

Vytas did not only portrayed the venezuelan tradition in the music, but the song titles make references to national symbols from flora, fauna and geography. A well crafted, well produced and well executed album, which, and whilst borrowing from the symphonic movement, sounds nothing like Genesis, Yes or other brittish progressive pillars; it is a pillar on it’s own which, unfortunately, made less influence than it’s contemporaries. It also fails to be pompous or overblown, making it a light listening experience. 4.5 stars, rounded to 5. A masterpiece of Venezuelan Symphonic Folk music…. by Chus ……….
“La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner” is a pioneering album in the prog scene as it was introduced and developed in South America. A few years before the first prog acts from Argentina or Brazil started to record their debut albums, Vytas Brenner conceived and produced a majestic work of prog folk in which the artistic diverse demands of prog rock and the particular colors of Venezuelan folklore (from both the Creole and the jungle areas) were combined in a cohesive amlagam of beauty and mystery. ‘Morrocoy’ kicks off the album with intense tropical percussive vibrations ornamented with playful guitar leads, until a bridge of keyboard layers soft percussion gives way to teh joropo- driven second section, a section in which intensity is fluidly replaced by serenity. The candid colors of joropo remain a constant point of reference for the musical lines and tempo in the next three pieces. 'La Ofrenda de Miguel’ has to be the most beautiful track in the album, leading to a moderate use of intrincacy due to the presence of orchestral interludes and blues-rock bridges led by guitar phrases. The marriage of folk textures and rock washes is just perfect, a real progressive gem. 'Tormenta de Barlovento’ is more focused on acoustic sounds, although the progressive element is still present, only in a more subdued manner. The brief piece 'Frailejón’ closes down the album’s first half, with a light spirited duet of acoustic guitars whose allusions come to fruition with the synthesizer lines and the occasional chorale. 'La Sabana’ comprises the most bizarre side of the album. Starting with a dissonant yet delicate orchestral intro, things soon get stormy with a full range percussive display that sets a sonic portrait of the South American jungle while the extravagant synthesizer washes creates some sort of dark, mysterious mood. The last drum beats and rattle shakes provide an effective climax. The dual sequence of 'Tragavenado’ and 'Araguaney’ digs deep in the jazzier side of the album, in thsi way enhancing the fusionesque trend that up to this moment had remained in a more subtle level. Brenner really shines on piano and clavinet, but guitarist Manavello manages to steal some of the spotlight momentarily with his tasteful guitar leads, adequate for the enhancement of the main motif. Finally, 'Canto del Pilón’ recapitulates the more recurrent aspects of the album’s repertoire on a joropo tempo, including a jazz-oriented drum solo and a most elegant development of the main motif. “La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner” is, first of all, a mesmerizing catalogue of musical beauty: it is also a definite highlight of South American prog rock and art rock, even if it was forged in the early stages of the birth of prog in this area of the world. A genius album, indeed…..by Cesar Inca ….

This is my first Vytas Brenner album and one of my favorites… The lineup for this record consists on a standard rock band (keyboards, guitars, bass and drums), a joropo llanero outfit (harp, cuatro and maracas) and an orchestral percussionist (who also plays some Venezuelan percussions). This unusual lineup contributes to give a very distinctive and unique sound to Vytas’ music which represents a blend of joropo (the modern symphonic style heavily influenced by Aldemaro Romero), jazz, blues and symphonic prog. + The frequent appearance of a violin mellotron gives somewhat of a Moody Blues feeling to some pieces.
In first place I would divide this record into two main parts:

1.-Tracks 1 to 5: dominated by a mix of symphonic prog (40%) and venezuelan folk.(60%)

2.-The last three tracks: absolute and magestic symphonic prog with Wakeman-esque keyboards and Camel like atmospheres with the usual venezuelan touch.

Morrocoy starts with the right foot with a latin percussion demonstration, keyboard layers and an occasional flute. It continues with what will define Vytas’ sound, a display of venezuelan- joropo driven-rhythms and melodies (with a powerful cuatro and a melodic harp accompanied by flute). Lots of virtuosity is shown here

Ofrenda de Miguel continues with the venezuelan theme with the occasional appearance of an electric guitar or a keyboard (mostly violin mellotron). This is basically a beautiful joropo piece (with the addition of the electric guitar substituting the cuatro every now and then)…not much rock going on here but still a great piece of music

Tormenta de Barlovento is a joropo-symphonic piece headed by the sound of the cuatro. Sort of a follow up of Ofrenda de Miguel

Frailejon begins to venture in a more symphonic prog establishment, that will continue throughout the rest of the album.A highlight of the track is a blues section starting at the middle (I’ve never heard blues played with a cuatro before… Just love it!)

La Sabana displays a more typical progressive sound -without leaving the venezuelan folk territory- starting with a symphonic intro and continuing with another drum and keyboard display as an introduction to the second part of the album.

I will describe the last three parts of the album as a whole because I consider them as one of the most magnificent symphonic suites of the history of prog. This suite exhibits the best keyboards that I have ever heard in latin america (outside latin jazz), that being contemporary to the monsters of European prog could be compared with musicians like Rick Wakeman , Keith Emerson and Jon Lord; these keyboards are then joined by Carl Palmer like drums (with this I mean almost orchestral percussions…) that are going to turn into the initial venezuelan percussions to finish with a summary of the entire album in Canto del Pilon.

This album is a masterpiece of prog and a must have for every prog fan in the world…. added to that it defines a new style of symphonic prog which merges Venezuelan traditional music with elements featured by bands such as Yes, ELP and Camel. A truly groundbreaking album!

This one deserves no less than 5 stars for its quality and uniqueness… perfect to listen while having an arepa…. by ProgressiveAttic ………….

Born in Germany in 1946 but grown in Venezuela since 1949, Brenner was one of the most important figures of Venezuelean music.During his youth he travelled in Italy, Spain and finally USA, where he studied at the University of Tennessee’s Music Conservatory and took post- graduate courses in Electronic music.His early career included several particpations on short- lived acts, but in 1972 he found his own band La Ofrenda.The debut “La ofrenda de Vytas” was originally released on vinyl in 1973 by Suramericana and in 1999 Anes Records gave a worldwide opportunity for any listener to catch up with Brenner’s music, re-releasing the album in CD format.
With long-time collaborators Pablo Manavello on guitars, Carlos Acosta on bass and Frank Rojas on drums and a few guest musicians, La Ofrenda proposed a fascinating blend of light Symphonic Rock with traditional Folk and what is really incredible is the ability of Brenner to balance two different music worlds in a mix, where the one seems complementary to the other.Delicate folky melodies coming out of the acoustic guitars and ethnic instruments like the cuatro, the maracas and the percussion are combined with some mellow Symphonic Rock passages, responsible for which was Mr. Brenner and his keyboards.Almost throughout the whole album his synthesizers are there to support the Latin-based parts, but he often takes over offering some nice piano interludes or organ passages of symphonic elegance, not to mention his Electronic education is more than evident at moments.The (all instrumental) album is completed with the careful use of electric guitars, when needed, and the beautiful orchestral arrangements appearing in a few tracks with a fine grandiose atmosphere.The only real flaw of the album seems to be the overlong “La savana” and the repetitive ethnic percussion sound dominating it from the start to the very end.

Excellent find for fans of adventurous Progressive Folk or Latin-American Prog and still an easily recommendable work for the rest of prog fans, as Brenner’s music sounds captivating, partly original and sufficiently melodic….
by apps79 …………

Although born in Germany in 1947, Vytas Brenner’s family moved to Venezuela when he was just a child. His music career would start during a period when the Brenners lived in Barcelona and Vytas formed the Vytas Brenner Quartet with his brother Haakon and local musicians Toti Soler and Jordi Sabatés. With the addition of singer Jeanette in 1966 they became Brenner’s Folk, the origin of the more successful Pic-Nic, although Vytas and Haakon had to leave the band when their family returned to Venezuela.
After some years devoted to his music studies and a few collaborations, Vytas started his own band in 1972, with which he would become of the leading music innovators in Venezuela over the following years. Released in 1973, “La ofrenda de Vytas” was their first album and presents a truly unique fusion of traditional Venezuelan music, Latin American rhythms and progressive rock. With a setting of guitars, piano, organ, bass, synths and drums augmented by traditional instruments (harp, cuatro, maracas, percussion), the album is constantly inventive and creates a captivating atmosphere through well-crafted compositions and impressive playing. A masterpiece of Venezuelan symphonic folk music……………..

Vytas Brenner is one of those rare gems that, despite being one of venezuelan’s first progressive icons, is rarely mentioned even in his own country. He was german but never had any contact with his german roots, so he was just another venezuelan, and maybe one of the unfortunate examples that foreigners appreciate more our culture than natives. His music is rich with images from venezuelan’s culture, and applying to them the european symphonic progressive layers to develop the fusion. Rich also in instrumentation it is, from the main instruments of venezuelan folk (cuatro, harp, maracas) and incorporating electric guitars, synths, organ and symphonic instruments to complete the pack. His music also adds influences from afro-venezuelan ethnic music and latin american rhythms; examples of these rhythms may be heard in songs like “Morrocoy” and “La Sabana”, with the later having extensive use of atmospherics and percusions, while the former also includes “joropo” rhytms from venezuelan plains, which is also featured in “La Ofrenda de Miguel”, with it’s blues flavoured bridge; “Canto del Pilon” in a more symphonic surrounding and a drum solo spot; and, in a more pure form in “La Tormenta de Barlovento”. “Frailejon” seems to borrow more from western culture. “Tragavenado” and “Araguaney” could be seen as one song, with a certain margaritean feel to them; the latter features the best piano display from Vytas. Vytas did not only portrayed the venezuelan tradition in the music, but the song titles make references to national symbols from flora, fauna and geography. A well crafted, well produced and well executed album, which, and whilst borrowing from the symphonic movement, sounds nothing like Genesis, Yes or other brittish progressive pillars; it is a pillar on it’s own which, unfortunately, made less influence than it’s contemporaries. It also fails to be pompous or overblown, making it a light listening experience. 4.5 stars, rounded to 5. A masterpiece of Venezuelan Symphonic Folk music….Jesus Brea…………..

Line-up / Musicians

- Vytas Brenner / piano, organ, clavicorn, synthesizers & guitar
- Pablo Manavello / guitars
- Carlos Acosta / bass
- Frank Rojas / drums
- Jesús Chinchilla / drums & percussion
- Angel Melo / cuatro
- Ramón Hernández / harp
- Alfredo Rojas / maracas

Tracklist
A1 Morrocoy
A2 Ofrenda De Miguel
A3 Tormenta De Barlovento
A4 Frailejón
B1 La Sabana
B2 Tragavenado
B3 Araguaney
B4 Canto Del Pilón 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..