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Various Artists - Hermann Hendrich

Hermann Hendrich was an artist of the late 19th early 20th Century. His mystical works that should find resonance with the German populace are all but forgotten today.

Hendrich's work was exhibited extensively in Berlin at the end of the 19th Century, and the Kaiser commissioned Hendrich to paint Atlantis, featuring a Viking meeting his Valhalla. Critics regarded Hendrich's work as uninspired and simply interpretation of the operas of Richard Wagner. During his early adolescence Hendrich visited Norway where he was taken by the legend of Beowulf. This together with his love of Pagan mysticism and romantic mediaeval tales add a spiritual dimension to the work of Hermann Hendrich.

Hendrich designed and constructed halls to display his large-scale paintings. In doing so he sought to achieve a balance between landscape and architecture. Hendrich's hall in Thule features paintings of the Walpurgis poetry, his Nibelungenhall features 12 paintings based on Wagner's cycle of Nibelungen, the Riesenbirgshalle in the Sudeten mountains combines local folklore with representations of Wotan. Inside these elaborate halls hung Hendrich's large-scale paintings often accompanied by the works of Wagner and Grieg. This was a true multimedia experience. Many of these halls remain today and deserve to be visited by the inquisitive.

Hermann Hendrich: Life and Work is a part English / part German hard back, high-quality publication featuring numerous black and white and full-colour representations of Hendrich's vivid and mystical work. A biography, and a list of painting is included. Both remain incomplete, as his past appears hidden and forgotten. No biographies exist and his name is omitted from most German art history. Hermann Hendrich died in 1931.

Elke Rohling should be congratulated on producing Hermann Hendrich: Life and Work as it is a beautiful package that should be the first step in reappraising an artist whose remarkable work appeared confined to the mists of time with the onset of the 21st Century.

An accompanying CD features contributions from a number of underground musicians from the neo-folk genre.

It's not surprising that these musicians have picked up Hendrich's work. Hendrich's work is mystical and contemplative, inspired by pagan gods and the rugged and romantic landscape of the Sudeten, and the work of Richard Wagner and Goethe. Outside the Walurgis Hall in Thale, hangs a sculpture of Wotan, flanked by two ravens. The work inside is inspired by the Walpurgis poetry allowing the Germans to worship the old Gods under the guise of Christianity.

Belborn the popular neo-folk outfit open the collection with the jaunty 'Die Windsbraut', the swirling mystical strains of Freiheitsgeist's 'Martyrium' slides into mysterious doom metal, John Murphy and Bruce La Fountain both appear as Shining Vril and Sword Volcano Complex taking a more industrial electronic approach. Shining Vril's 'The Three Norns' is particularly effective with its crashing cymbals, flickering ambience and spoken voice. Von Thronstahl feature with two tracks crafted from spoken samples, acoustic guitar and orchestral arrangements. A cinematic feel is achieved throughout 'Gotterdämmerung' while 'Drei Tropfen Blutes' slips into the type of teutonic rock that Von Thronstahl are notorious for. Days of the Trumpet Call featuring Von Thronstahl's Raymond P. contribute the elegant and refined 'Gedenken', while Waldteufel featuring Markus Wolff succinctly capture a mediaeval spirit with the völkisch 'Leben'. Elke Rohling the individual behind the compilation and book closes the CD with the flute and guitar atmospherics of 'Die Traurige Welse'. Other artists appearing on Hermann Hendrich include Strurmkind, Gandolfs Gedanken, and Carpe-Diem.

All profits from the book and CD go to providing support for the upkeep of the halls and works of this German painter. I was unaware of the work of Hendrich but Hermann Hendrich: Life and Work is a beautiful publication documenting a great artist. For more information contact