Nightingale Hall. The eight songs that make up Nightingale Hall, Lyrian’s first concept album (2008), tell the story of a country house and its denizens over the course of a century. There is gentility, brutality, tragedy, irony, lunacy, sanity, luminosity and mystery in unequal measure. There are also lots of twiddly bits, and, in true prog-rock tradition, some very long songs indeed. The album runs for a glorious 75 minutes. It has touches of early Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes, Jethro Tull and Marillion, with classical and antiquarian undertones and a self-consciously “home-made” aesthetic. The first pressing of Nightingale Hall was limited to five hundred copies with a cover hand-printed at the Strawberry Press and illustrated with a multi-colour wood-engraving by Nash (who designed all the artwork for the album). Each print of the wood-engraving was different, and the colours in particular vary from copy to copy (so they may not be quite the same as the images shown). A second pressing is now available, reprinting the original cover-design.
The album has been described as ‘a work of genius’ by Philip (at yesfans.com) who adds that it is ‘already in line to be my album of the year after a mere half a dozen listens’. Jeff Perkins said (at blogcritics.org) ‘As ideas for albums go this one really got my imagination working overtime. Nightingale Hall is a concept album in its truest sense. Oxfordshire’s Lyrian take us back through a fascinating, sometimes enchanting, and sometimes disturbing journey written around the history and previous occupants of Nightingale Hall itself ... There are unashamed nods to early Genesis among shades of early Fish-era Marillion. That combines together nicely with some quintessentially English tradition, including church organs meshed with some folk and even classical elements ... As I traveled back through Nightingale Hall’s gallery of characters they came alive, stepping off the canvas and into a nicely constructed piece of progressive rock’.
1) Prelude (1.55)
2) Nightingales (17:38)
3) The summerhouse (7.34)
4) He who would valiant be (15.29)
5) The chimes (6.36)
6) The lovers under the tree (10.05)
7) Winter song (2.14)
8) Lucifer (13.34)
Nightingale Hall costs £6.00 or $12.00 and is available from Medieval Records, eBay, CD-Baby or Amazon. Postage is free in the UK if ordered from the label or via eBay.