My obsessive play of the week is another international tune. I decided that two versions of “Symphonie” by German rock band Silbermond just weren’t enough. I was perusing Amazon and located a third “Orchester Version.” More strings and (drum roll please) an Oboe (double reeds, represent!)
The song is, at its core, a rock break-up ballad. The hook, in this case, is “Symphonie…und jetzt es ist still um uns” (Symphonie…and now it’s quiet around us). It’s solid stuff, though I’m taken more by the overall sound than the lyrics.
The initial version I encountered was pretty much pure rock. Again, solid stuff. It helped to branch my collection of German musik into a cool middle ground between the head-banging, angry-time music of Rammstein, the synthesizer-of-the-80s-live-on sound of the “Schlager” pop music (I love it, but I recognize it’s not for everyone) and the truly ol’ skool folk music my family brings out for holidays and reunions (think beer halls and yodeling). I needed something that was solid rock-pop, and this (along with the rest of Silbermond’s repertoire) fit the bill.
I was even more pleased when I found the second version, still rock, but with a touch of orchestral strings. Very classy. The orchestral touches made the sound more melancholy while letting the guitar build up bring home the gut-wrenching aspect of a failed relationship. I completely support cross-musical-genre-efforts, but we’ve all seen some forced disasters. This was not one of them. I was more than impressed enough.
Until they added the French Horn and the Oboe.
There is very little in this world that cannot be made better with a French Horn and an Oboe. Rock ballads get better. Symphonies reach their pinnacle. The weather gets nicer. Babies stop crying. Ice cream tastes better.
No, really. I swear.
This final arrangement took the increase in melancholy from version 2 and ramped that up, but they still retained the rock build up. As with the second version, the combination of the classical orchestra sound worked with the rock band–no feeling of shoe horning. The added instrumentals made the slow, quiet beginning even richer, and they even seem to play a larger roll once the guitar and drums kicked in, which is nice. I thought the drum entry was a teensy bit heavy, but the points gained with the added orchestral parts out-weigh the split second when the transition seems too sudden.
The downside of this ear-worm is that I went looking for even more Silbermond MP3s on Amazon only to find there are very few. The only full up album is Verschwende Deine Seit from 2004. The rest are 2-3 track single albums (be warned, if you buy from Amazon, watch those singles albums–several are priced at $9.99 for the album, when there are only 2 tracks which you can buy individually for $0.99). The selection of albums on CD is larger, but the prices are significantly higher. And, unfortunately, most of the official videos from the group on their YouTube channel are geo-blocked for those of us in the USA (we deserve it, I know).