1994 Flamma Flamma – The Fire Requiem
1999 Terra Terra – The Aquari
2005 Amor Aeternus – Hymns Of Love
I remember it well, it must have been 1994 or 1995. A friend of mine filled a tape with music that a friend of his used to fill a tape. I had no more information than “Flamma Flamma, The Fire Requiem”. Supposing that this was a release from the gothic scene, I started looking for a band named “The Fire Requiem”. Of course without succes. It was the time before internet and all kinds of handy ways of looking for things, so it took a very long time before I found out that this was actually classical music, but then very modern. I went to a local classical music shop and asked for “The Fire Requiem”. “You mean Flamma Flamma?” “Right!”. I spent a shitload of money (classical music is very expensive) on the very first version of this brilliant cd. No words about a trilogy then. On my search for more music of the Belgian composer Nicholas Lens I soon found out that his material was quite hard to get. I did run into a copy of the soundtrack cd “Orrori dell’Amore” (1995) some time later. I started asking people who were more into (modern) classical music than music if they knew anything like this. Everybody seems to love Lens, but nobody knows anything that comes even close. Fortunately in 1999 a new cd was released, called “Terra Terra, the Aquari”. For this event the first cd was rereleased in a digipack with a new cover and suddendly “Flamma Flamma” was the first part of a trilogy. It again took over five years for the next part of the trilogy to be released, but it is finally there! “Amor Aeternus, hymns of love” just saw the light of day. Together with this new cd (again in a digipack) the trilogy is (re)released together in one box and that for just a few Euro’s more. The photo on the cover is also in my “Flamma Flamma” cd, so at least 10 years old!. I bought the box which has a booklet with the complete story of the trilogy. I noticed that “Terra Terra” is now called “The Aquarius Era” and that the vocalists of “Flamma Flamma” are no longer “bass”, “soprano”, etc., but characters in the story. A very nice release, especially when you don’t have anything of Nicholas Lens yet.
The first cd is very experimental (chamber) opera. It has electronic elements, very bombastic tracks, but also sensitive and beautiful vocal solos. The second and third cd are more modest, but the new album is again pretty experimental with some strange classical (hardly any electronic) jokes. I don’t think Lens will ever come close to his debut masterpiece, but “Terra Terra” certainly isn’t boring and “Amor Aeternus” is a marvelous cd in itself.
So, whether you are much into classical music or not, just go and have a listen to this great music. You can even do that on the internet on a few places. How things got easier over the years!