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Habelard2 - The Black Swan CD (album) cover

THE BLACK SWAN

Habelard2

 

Crossover Prog

3.92 | 6 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars From Tomita, to Wendy Carlos, to Rick Wakeman, Emerson Lake & Palmer and no shortage of others, there's a long history of artists working in progressive-related styles adapting countless classical music pieces in a variety of ways that can be of great interest to prog-rock fans. Now it's the turn of Italian multi-instrumentalist Sergio Caleca, with Haberlard2 the alias project name for the solo project of the Ad Maiora keyboard player (and if you haven't checked out the work of this talented modern Italian band, bookmark this page and divert into checking them out right away, then come back here!), and he changes direction again here with 2018's `The Black Swan' by reinterpreting a range of classical compositions as prog-rock styled arrangements, and the results are a constant delight!

Of the highlights, `I Remember' is a warm and elegant acoustic theme, Satie's `Gymnopedie no 1' is a gorgeously embracing electric piano shimmer that gently springs to life, and both Beethoven's `Moonlight Sonata' and the sighing synths of `Ornaud '77' now sound like they could have wandered off an early Genesis album with their regal and weeping Steven Hackett-like guitar strains. `Symphony in D' is a charming organ-driven stroll, and The Nutcraker's `Dance of the Mirlitons' is given an amusingly kitsch synth-pop makeover that sounds right out of the Eighties! Bach's `Sleepers, Awake' now resembles something off an early Flower Kings disc with its romantically whimsical tone and Mellotron-like strains, `Reverie' has a late-night/early AM hours placid jazzy mellowness, and the title-track of `The Black Swan' bristles with danger from ever-looming organ and grinding guitar menace.

Although slightly overlong, and the drum programming can be a little unengaging in spots, there is no denying the painstaking effort, passion and even sense of fun that was gone into Sergio's work here (all his own playing, not with additional musical guests this time around), and the accompanying press release conveys how influential the music of numerous classical composers were to the artist growing up. Perhaps classical purists will be wary of `The Black Swan', but more open-minded listeners should greatly enjoy these inventive and lavish recreations of some grand pieces of music, and it's another varied and colourful effort from the always unpredictable Mr Caleca performed with exemplary skill!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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