Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - PFM In Classic - Da Mozart A Celebration CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.85 | 177 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars It's become a real fashion to perform your music with an orchestra again these days so I wasn't too sure what to think of this release when I first saw it, whether it would be pretentious and done just for the sake of it or a great collaboration. While I don't know about PFM's intention with this release I must say that I'm mostly very satisfied with what they've done. They haven't just done orchestral reworkings of their own songs but the first CD is filled with great classical pieces that have been rearranged to work together with the band and for the most part it works very well.

It goes without saying that the musical quality of the pieces selected could hardly be improved but PFM have treated them with respect and added their own ideas in between while some passages remain as in the original piece. Sometimes this also makes it seem a bit forced to mingle the classical orchestral piece with the band's performance so that they stand alongside each other a bit but for the most part their approach is very pleasant to listen to.

The opening of "Il flauto magico - Ouverture" with Djivas' great bass playing is absolutely gorgeous, I could listen to this bit many times in a row and still be delighted. They've included Mozart's themes so well that it could not have been a better opener. After that the quality drop a bit for me but not by a lot. Certainly Mussida's great guitar playing also really puts PFM's stamp on the music and his solo guitar opening of "Sinfonia no 5 IV mov" really comes as a highlight to me again. As Mahler's emotional symphony then sets in, the atmosphere becomes very intense (positively), followed by a great jazzy part, which balances this slow beginning nicely. The track then closes with the symphony again. While the two parts seem only formally connected, the track is still overall a nice bit two listen to, even if rather as two songs. Verdi's Nabucco Overture closes the first CD brilliantly and is again beautifully arranged. The first and last tracks on CD one are certainly the highlights to me.

Unfortunately, I find the second CD less interesting as the orchestral engagement seems a bit forced. While the classical bits were mainly orchestral with the band added later on, in this bit it's the other way round and I guess that makes it more difficult to give the orchestra cues that bring new excitement to the music. The songs themselves are no doubt great, which is why the CD is in no way bad. To me, it's just rather a rerecording of classic PFM tracks with a bit of the orchestra in the background. I don't know if they could have made more out of it but I see it more as a rerecording than an exciting new arrangement.

Finally, "Suite Italiana" is very disappointing to me. I got very excited when I heard Mendelssohn's 4th "Italian" symphony (1st movement), which is one of my favourite symphonies. It is then followed by " Festa" (or "Celebration") but the two seem entirely unrelated. The music is great of course but it is entirely unclear to me what the link is supposed to be. So the disappointment only lies in the way the two pieces are arranged, not the pieces themselves.

Overall a nice CD to listen to, certainly for fans of classical music and of PFM. Some really nice arrangements can be found on CD 1 especially. A great addition to any PFM-collection without a doubt. Recommended!

arschiparschi | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password


Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.