National Gallery, The

Band members                          Related acts

- Richard Karshner - ???



- Bhagavad Gita





Genre: progressive

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  The National Gallery Performing Musical Interpretations of the Paintings of Paul Klee

Company: Philips

Catalog: PHS 600-266

Year: 1968

Country/State: Cleveland, Ohio

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: includes original insert; still in shrink wrap; small cut out hole through middle

Available: SOLD

atalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD

Cost: $59.55


Based on the pretentious title alone, this was an album I couldn't resist buying when I stumbled across it ...  I had to wonder what these guys were thinkin' when the decided to release an album with the title "The National Gallery Performing Musical Interpretations of the Paintings of Paul Klee"?  The fact Chuck (Charles) Mangione co-wrote most of the material promised something even more over the top !!!  Well, I'll readily admit I was way off the mark in that the album's quite diverse and surprisingly commercial.  


Producing, arranging and co-writing most of the material, Ray Karshner appears to have been the brains behind this project.  Karshner may be known to some folks as manager of Cleveland's The Outsiders, but here he abandoned three minute pop songs in favor of something far more experimental.  As you've probably guessed from the title, this was a true concept piece built around setting ten of abstract expressionist Paul Klee's works to then-contemporary music.  Since the actual performers weren't credited on the album (judging by the back cover, The National Gallery apparently consisted of a good looking blonde and three slightly dweebie guys),  I was left with the impression this was a studio outfit.  That's underscored by the fact that prior to releasing the LP,  Karshner and partner Mangione released a single under the name 'Bhagvad Gita': 'Long Hair Soulful' b/w 'Long Hair Soulful (instrumental)  (Philips catalog number 40485).  As mentioned earlier the album's surprisingly good.  The results aren't exactly rock, rather bounce across different genres including classical ('Barbaric, Classical Solemn'), Free Design-styled MOR pop ('Diana In the Autumn Wind') and even mild psyche ('Pond with Swans').  The male-female vocals and harmonies were all quite attractive (check out 'Self Portrait') and if you can overlook some of the sophomoric lyrics ('Fear of Becoming Double'), it made for an intriguing effort that's constantly been on my recent playlist.  (The album was original released with a color insert that included pictures of Klee's works and the lyrics.)


"The National Gallery Performing Musical Interpretations of the Paintings of Paul Klee" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Barbaric, Classical Solemn   (Roger Karshner - Chuck Mangione) - 2:58

2.) Diana In the Autumn Wind   (Roger Karshner - Chuck Mangione) - 2:38

3.) Boy with Toys   (Roger Karshner - Chuck Mangione) - 2:30

4.) Self Portrait   (Roger Karshner - Chuck Mangione) - 2:35

5.) Fear of Becoming Double   (Roger Karshner - Chuck Mangione) - 2:40


(side 2)

1.) Pond with Swans   (Roger Karshner - Chuck Mangione) - 3:08

2.) A Child's Game   (Roger Karshner - Chuck Mangione) - 2:15

3.) A Negro Child Does Not Understand the Snow   (Roger Karshner) - 2:26

4.) Fear Behind the Curtain   (Roger Karshner - Chuck Mangione) - 1:48

5.) Long Hair Soulful   (Roger Karshner - Chuck Mangione) - 3:31




GRC catalog number 32584-NM


While I haven't heard it, Chuck's brother Gap Mangione rerecorded several of these songs on his 1967 jazz album "Diana In the Autumn Wind".