Ars Longa Vita Brevis (album)

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For the Latin phrase, see Ars longa, vita brevis.
Ars Longa Vita Brevis
Studio album by The Nice
Released November 1968
Recorded 1968
Genre Progressive rock
Length 46:11
Label Immediate
Producer The Nice
The Nice chronology
The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack
(1968)
Ars Longa Vita Brevis
(1968)
Nice
(1969)

Ars Longa Vita Brevis is the second album by the English progressive rock group The Nice.

Guitarist David O'List left the band during the recording of the album, leaving the remaining three members to complete it. After flirting briefly with replacement guitarists (including Steve Howe, later to join Yes), The Nice decided to carry on as a keyboard-led trio. The title is an aphorism attributed to Hippocrates usually rendered as "Art is long, life is short"; Keith Emerson's interpretation of this can be gauged from his sleevenote:

Newton's first law of motion states a body will remain at rest or continue with uniform motion in a straight line unless acted on by a force. This time the force happened to come from a European source. Ours is an extension of the original Allegro from Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. Yesterday I met someone who changed my life, today we put down a sound that made our aim accurate. Tomorrow is yesterday's history and art will still be there, even if life terminates.[1]

Structurally the album started where its predecessor left off- shortish songs and extended work-outs based on classical themes- but a step forward was taken with the addition of an orchestra and the extended length of Ars Longa Vita Brevis itself, foreshadowing the later Five Bridges Suite. Furthermore this album contains some songs in which Keith Emerson sings lead vocals: he shares the singing duties with Lee Jackson in "Daddy, Where Did I Come From", sings all lead vocals on "Happy Freuds" and sings the bridge in "Little Arabella".

Guest guitarist Malcolm Langstaff died in 2007.[2]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[3]
TopTenReviews 11/15 stars[4]

Allmusic's Bruce Eder described the album as "a genuinely groundbreaking effort".[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Keith Emerson and Lee Jackson, except where noted.

Side one[edit]

  1. "Daddy, Where Did I Come From" – 3:44
  2. "Little Arabella" – 4:18
  3. "Happy Freuds" – 3:25
  4. "Intermezzo from the Karelia Suite" (Sibelius) – 8:57
  5. "Don Edito el Gruva" (Emerson, Jackson, Brian Davison) – 0:13

Side two[edit]

  1. "Ars Longa Vita Brevis" – 19:20
    • "Prelude" (Emerson) / "1st Movement – Awakening" (Davison) – 5:50
    • "2nd Movement – Realisation" (Jackson, David O'List, Emerson) – 4:54
    • "3rd Movement – Acceptance "Brandenburger"" (Davison, Emerson, Jackson) – 4:23
    • "4th Movement – Denial" (Davison, Emerson, Jackson) – 3:23
    • "Coda – Extension to the Big Note" (Emerson) – 0:46
Bonus tracks on the 1998 rerelease
  1. "Daddy, Where Did I Come From" (Mono single mix)
  2. "Happy Freuds" (Mono single mix)
Bonus track on the 2005 rerelease
  1. "Happy Freuds" – 3:27

Personnel[edit]

  • Keith Emerson – keyboards, vocals (except on "Ars Longa Vita Brevis")
  • Lee Jackson – bass guitar, vocals
  • Brian Davison – drums
  • Malcolm Langstaff – guitar (on "2nd Movement – Realisation")
  • Robert Stewart – orchestral arranger/conductor
  • Don Brewer – engineer/consultant
  • Gered Mankowitz – cover photograph and X-rays of The Nice[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Liner notes, Immediate LP Z12 52020, 1968 (Canadian pressing).
  2. ^ http://www.readysteadygone.co.uk/links/
  3. ^ a b "Ars Longa Vita Brevis". 13 July 2005. Retrieved 8 November 2008. 
  4. ^ "TopTenReviews – External Link". www.toptenreviews.com. Retrieved 5 December 2009. 
  5. ^ Although it is clear from examination of the cover that the three x-rays are identical