Verney 1826 – Ex Libris

Verney 1826 - Ex Libris

The brainchild of german composer Lionel Verney, Verney 1826 is a creative project, started in 1991, and encompassing many influences, from Renaissance music to dark-ambient. ‘Ex Libris’ is the fourth album of our eclectic musician, and is full of gorgeous melodies and lush instrumental developments.

While the instrumentation tends to be traditional or structured in a neo-classical way, vocals are sepulchral, akin to gothic rock, which gives a gloomy side to the music (in particular on “The Beggar’s Opera”). On songs like “To The Moon” or “L’Eternal Adam”, chant takes a different approach, more “religious”, like a priest during a mass. This is sort of a call for contemplation. The use of latin and italian in the spoken recitative of opening and closing sections of “Pemitenziagite”, together with the sound of the bell, further reinforce the feeling of attending a mass. Some female vocalists are invited here and there. Anna Aliena’s impressive vocals are passionate on the beautiful “Lúthien”, and spectral on the petrifying “Alles Still”. On the moving “The Beggar’s Opera”, it’s  Joanne Missen, of the Victim’s Balls, who delivers some stunning vocalisations. Moreover, a sublime choir overwhelms us on the evanescent “Der Gefangene von Chillon”. From an instrumental standpoint, bolero movements come to mind when percussions pop up. Their approach is indeed very martial, and a track like “Mr. De Winter”, where alarmed strings and menacing horns add to the idea of an imminent war, depicts it quite well. The eclecticism mentioned in preamble is brought by the Renaissance instrumentation of “Henry IV”, the weeping chinese strings of “The Beggar’s Opera”,  the japanese elements of “Fireflies”, the musical box of the haunting lullaby “Mrs. De Winter”, or the flamboyant harpsichord of “Der Gefangene von Chillon”. The magnificent arrangements, with enchanting flute (“Henry IV”), mesmerizing mandolin (“The Beggar’s Opera”), introspective harmonium (“Lúthien”), or delicate harp (“Pemitenziagite!”) provide a dreamy canvas to a work that is torn between humility (the moments of contemplation) and glory (the martial passages). They also match the era or the universe of the authors that inspired the songs (Umberto Ecco, William Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Jules Verne, John Gay, J.R.R. Tolkien, Theodor Fontane, Daphné du Maurier and Akiyuki Nosaka). A few narrated passages and field recordings make this work a living entity, like the score to a non-existing movie.

Diverse in its vocal and musical approach, Verney 1826 is a well of creativity that stimulates our imagination and our emotions. Projects like this one are scarce and deserve some attention.


01 The Beggar’s Opera
02 Henry IV
03 Lúthien
04 To The Moon
05 Penitenziagite!
06 Mr. De Winter
07 Fireflies
08 Mrs. De Winter
09 Der Gefangene von Chillon
10 Alles Still
11 L’Eternal Adam
12 Ruhe Vor Dem Sturm


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