Freudiana 1989 Studio Cast
Import, Extra Tracks, Cast Recording
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1990 soundtrack to this film about the father of psychiatry,Sigmund Freud. An essential addition to the collection ofAlan Parsons Project fans, it contains 18 tracks -- allwritten & composed by APP's Eric Woolfson (except one thatParsons himself wrote the music to). Parsons produced thesoundtrack and Woolfson also served as the executiveproducer of the soundtrack, which was engineered by Parsonswith Tony Richards. A Parlophone release.
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After hearing the stellar remastering of Gaudi, I cannot help but look forward to this masterpiece receiving a similar treatment. While I never had a single complaint about the sound quality of this disc, I now notice the transistor-like quality to the horns on this disc that, in comparison, sound truly life-like on the Gaudi remaster. Merely a small observation, it nonetheless does demonstrate room for improvement should remastering sessions ever get funded.
But more than anything else, Freudiana is a work of art unlike any other. While many of Freud's theories have fallen out of favor with modern psychology, Woolfson nonetheless examines Freud's ardent attempts to explain the family dynamics between parents and children, the inner world of dreams and the unconscious mind, and the psychoanalyst's five most famous case studies. There is good-natured fun poked at modern day Freudian psychologists in the humorous "Sects Therapy" which really comes to life thanks to the vocal performance of Frankie Howerd, but then there is also the tragic abuse of "Dora" who Freud had to explain away with the Electra Complex. And, ultimately, there is even the admission regarding both the patients that Freud was able to help as well as those he was not in the closing epic "There But For The Grace of God" sung by none other than soulful John Miles.
At this point, an understandable question may arise in the mind of someone in the audience: Why would Eric Woolfson be so fascinated with Freudian theory as to write song after song about it? Curiously enough, Sigmund Freud declared himself a mirror upon which his patients could see and, presumably, adjust themselves accordingly. Eric Woolfson saw his songwriting in a very similar. Whenever anyone asked him what this or that song was about, he was generally very reluctant to give a firm answer. He would often the conversation back onto the questioner, reflecting the focus away from himself. Woolfson seemed to feel that a song's longevity existed in direct proportion to the personal meaning that the listener, any listener, was able to draw forth from it. Couple that unique perspective that both Freud and Woolfson shared with the fact that his wife Hazel was a scholar of pychology and psychiatry, and it all begins to make a great of sense as to why Woolfson would relaunch his songwriting career through this particular historic figure. Thus, the song "I Am A Mirror" embodies this crossroad encounter that the songwriter had with the father of modern psychology.
So how well does Eric Woolfson translate Freudian theory into modern song? Well, let me put it this way. When I was taking an introductory course in psychology in autumn of 1992, I drove to Tustin, California to The Digital Ear and, much to my absolute surprise and delight, discovered this wonderful album. When I heard "No One Can Love You Better Than Me" I threw away every note I took in class and from my reading on The Oedipus Complex. The song so embodies the essence of that Freudian theory that the notes I took merely cluttered my understanding of it. Not every theory Freud came up with has stood the test of time, but he really was on to something with his observations of the family dynamic and the unconscious mind.
While Eric Woolfson is credited with writing all but one of the songs here, it would be criminally negligent to dismiss the role that Alan Parsons played in honing what were presumably diamonds in the rough. Parsons' prowess as a producer is more than abundantly evident throughout the entire album. For me, this masterpiece will always be the eleventh Alan Parsons Project and, although it took some time for a few of the songs to grow on me, this has become one of my favorite releases in the entire Project catalog. All I can say to the powers that be is, "let the remastering begin!"
For those who enjoyed the defunct Alan Parsons Project or the Alan Parsons Band, you might consider Freudiana the final curtain for the Project. I personally considered Eric Woolfson to have been the heart and soul behind the Project. With his Gaudi work, Eric turned toward a manic creative drive to research something or someone that he found fascinating and then produce a musical about what was discovered. Actually, the Project was born with this approach toward Edgar Allan Poe, and the Project dies unnamed with a Freud project.
Freudiana represents the final effort between Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson...and what a super effort it is! The wide range of musical styles Freudiana embraces is one of its strong points. Music combines with humor, drama, emotion, and some oft-times not so subtle sarcasm.
With its opening instrumental, The Nirvana Principle, a listener is drawn into a musical maelstrom that is very much like the sound equivalent of a Picasso painting. An attitude exists that pretty much anything goes, and there definitely is talent and panache necessary to perpetrate audacity personified.
Perhaps the most riveting performance belongs to Kiki Dee with You're On Your Own. Nowhere to be found is the woman who performed Don't Go Breaking My Heart with Elton John. Instead, she reveals that sultry angst necessary to embrace the Freudian concept behind the mother and son relationship. Ian Bairnson's guitar work punctuates what is one of the CD's strongest songs.
There are a few forays into dark humor, especially with Sects Therapy, which is listed as "a health warning on some possible pitfalls of psychology." Sung from a first person point of view, Sects Therapy tells about one person's encounters with psychology. "And I told her over tea of my worries and my woes, and a morbid fear of eating beans in tightly fitting clothes."
Overall, Freudiana reminds me of a Stephen King short story called "It Grows On You." My first reaction to it was "Say what?" And, then, well...the CD buried itself in my psyche...developed...evolved...and became an object of obsession. Perhaps I should call Dr. Ruth...