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New Trolls - Concerto Grosso Per I New Trolls (Remastered with Concerto Grosso n1 and Concerto Grosso n2) CD (album) cover

CONCERTO GROSSO PER I NEW TROLLS (REMASTERED WITH CONCERTO GROSSO N1 AND CONCERTO GROSSO N2)

New Trolls

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.02 | 18 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Kotro
Prog Reviewer
5 stars PROGRESSIVE SUMMER RAMBLINGS 6

I have no ear -

Mistake me not, reader, - nor imagine that I am by nature destitute of those exterior twin appendages, hanging ornaments, and (architecturally speaking) handsome volutes to the human capital. Better my mother had never borne me - I am, I think, rather delicately than copiously provided with those conduits; and I feel no disposition to envy the mule for his plenty, or the mole for her exactness, in those ingenious labyrinthine inlets - those indispensable side-intelligencers.

Neither have I incurred, or done any thing to incur, with Defoe, that hideous disfigurement, which constrained him to draw upon assurance - to feel "quite unabashed," and at ease upon that article. I was never, I thank my stars, in the pillory; nor, if I read them aright, is it within the compass of my destiny, that I ever should be.

When therefore I say that I have no ear, you will understand me to mean - for music.

The above text is, obviously, not written by me, but by the great 19th century English essayist Charles Lamb. Like many of those playful essayists picked phrases and ideas from others, I too stole quoted this precious piece of literature to better make a point very much my own. In my case, I confess I have no ear - for classical musical. Which, come to think of it, is probably the same kind of music that old Charlie was referring to.

I mean, I enjoy it a lot, but in most cases I don't know what I'm hearing unless I'm the one popping on the CD. I can't tell the difference between composers or periods, and I certainly don't know what they are on about with the technical language. I can't tell a presto from a vivace, or a cadenza from an adagio. To me, a brass section is the place in the shop where they sell pans, and when someone tells me: "Listen to that coda!" I can only think to myself "Coda? That's not Coda. That's not even Led Zeppelin." Yes, I shamelessly profess my ignorance and deafness when it comes to classical music. Or erudite music, as they now call it, in order to differentiate it from the other, more barbaric form of classic music - classic rock. Yes, another reason (and a good one, methinks) for not devoting myself to a greater knowledge of the genre is their apparent snobbery regarding every other type of music. Yet there were times when a few open-minded ones decide to endeavour in progressive approaches for both genres. Thus, there was a long line of rock bands experimentations with classical music so common in the late 60's and early 70's. And I must confess that this strange mix of classical structure and instrumentation with the raw power of a rock band, so sacrilegious to some, sounds wonderful to me, wherever it mail hail from.

The album I'm reviewing today is, of course, full of this classic mumbo-jumbo. It is the first successful collaboration, I believe, between South American classical composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov and an Italian rock band, the Concerto Grosso per I New Trolls, here neatly packaged together with Concerto Grosso N2 and low-priced for our convenience. Concerto Grosso per I New Trolls is by itself a great album, and I assume quite adventurous for its days. We had had previous experimentations of rock band and orchestra, but they were either based on arrangements of previous songs of the band or new, yet very demanding approaches to comtemporary classic to have great acclaim, but without great success, like Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra. But even without success, the Deep Purple progressive approach to rock, as witnessed in their first three albums, can be easily felt here. The other great influences are Jimi Hendrix, an the obvious odd baroque composer. The entire Concerto. is composed entirely of classic and rock instrumentation well mixed together. Divided in quarto tempi, they range from the vocal-less hard-rockin' aggressiveness of the Primo tempo: Allegro, to the melancholic vocals and music of the Secondo tempo: Adagio (Shadows). The Bard provides the lyrics to this one, and despite the Italianized English of the band, he would have no trouble spotting the quote. The Terzo tempo: Andante con moto is delightfully kick-started by great violin playing, to which the string sections and electric guitar will add power, though still in a very melancholic way. Echoing falsetto vocals towards the end give it an eerier feel. The final, Quarto tempo: Shadows (per Jimi Hendrix), is less close to classical music than the previous tempi, more close to a pop-rock approach, and faithful to its honouring of Jimi Hendrix, as the great distorted guitar soloing can attest.

The second half of the album waves goodbye to Luis Enriquez Bacalov's classical minglings and provides a fantastic 20 minute hard-prog jam, very much in the vein of Deep Purple or Uriah Heep, but with a very own sound. Heavy organ and guitar playing dominate the sonic landscape, to which the mad flute-blowing and falsetto vocals, so typical of New Trolls, give an immensely fun vibe. Throughout the 20 minute improvisation we get eerie, heavy, melancholic, funky, and bluesy. Everyone gets a chance to perform some soloing, and they all deliver the good exquisitely - even if the drum solo seems a bit longer than the rest.

The Concerto Grosso per I New Trolls is a definite landmark in Italian Symphonic Rock history. The second half of the album clearly had an influence over some later RPI gems, like Bigletto per L'Inferno or Campo di Marte, while the successful collaboration with the New Trolls encouraged Argentinean composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov to repeat the formula twice in the very next year, with RDM and Osanna, to mixed results. The experience resulted so well, that five years later he reunited with New Trolls for a second go at the Concerto Grosso format. The Concerto Grosso N2, like its predecessor, is presented in two halfs: the first the Concerto... itself, the second an assembly of more pop-oriented tracks. This second take is quite similar, although smaller than the first. It has some differences. It is much more electric and keyboard driven, less orchestral, with the string arrangements being the only recognizable feature from the first Concerto.. Plus, while the Primo tempo: Vivace is very entertaining and jumpy, the following Secondo tempo: Andante (Most Dear Lady) is just way too mellow. The finale of the second Concerto Gross regains some musical excitement, with a funkier, but less classical beat, but it just can't shake away some of the terrible mellowness of the second tempo. The four tracks that follow Concerto Grosso N2 are some realy mellow, almost cheesy romantic pieces of proggy pop. Quiet Seas, Vent'Anni and Bella Come Mai are quite pleasant to hear, the last one having quite interesting musical passages, even if not very adventurous. But the New Trolls rendition of Let It Be Me almost made me end the listening there. However, had I done so, I would never have heard the fantastic final track, and greatest highlight of this second album, along with the Terzo tempo: Moderato (Fare You Well Dove). In fact, Le Roi Solei is a thrilling, fast-paced piece, heavy but still pleasant, cheeky without being cheesy, and finally rid of some the awful mellow romanticism that marked this second half of the album. Great vocals and chorus, reminiscent of Queen, with some very playful harmonies towards the end, fantastic string arrangements, and sparing but tasteful electric guitar work. And it ends the album beautifully, with what I like to call a display of orchestral fireworks. While Concerto Grosso per I New Trolls is a masterpiece in its own right, Concerto Grosso N2 seems a little disappointing. It has some quality, but in the end it adds nothing new to the first try. But for the price of one you get some 55 minutes of excellent musicianship, with a bonus of some 15 minutes of so-so music. I am quite happy therefore, with this edition. And even if I can't really tell what makes an Andante from an Allegro, I can still appreciate this masterly work. Go for this remastered edition with the two Concerti., you won't regret it. As I re-listen to it while writing the review, it just makes me jumpy about the 2007 third rendition of this wonderful format.

Kotro | 5/5 |

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