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Rustichelli & Bordini - Opera Prima CD (album) cover

OPERA PRIMA

Rustichelli & Bordini

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.74 | 81 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As a youth, being already a talented piano player and composer in the early 7s, Paolo Rustichelli became enamoured of the sort of artistic rock that the colourful realms of progressive rock offered to rock fans and the music industry. Once progressive rock stood as a fertile garden of young bands in Italy, he joined forces with drummer Carlo Bordini in order to bring in heir own contribution among those provided by their country's big prog names such as PFM, Le Orme, Banco, etc. while they were at it, Rustichelli worked on the dissemination of the ARP synthesizer in the rock circles. "Opera Prima" is the final result of this effort, and indeed it happened to be a real gem to be sought after and dearly treasured by any true lover of the progressive genre. As I see it, there's no other way around it. The album kicks off on a very enthusiastic note, with the lovely 'Nativita'' providing a dynamic vibe that owes a bit to ELP and solo Wakeman, but is mostly related to the idiosyncratic Italian sound that had been developed within the worldwide symphonic rock trend. Just like a more robust version of Le Orme mixed with a better version of L'Uovo Di Colombo, plus somehow predating Corte Dei Miracoli, the duo delivers a magical mixture of explicit energy and romantic nuances, fluidly conveyed through the motif and mood variations ? 8 minutes of pure progressive glory. 'Icaro' follows, starting as what seems to be a power ballad but soon evolving into something rockier, even talking it into a raw spot (Rusticelli's singing is a very big help at keeping things raw). The emergence of a wild Baroque organ-driven interlude and the introduction of a jazz-oriented jam afterwards create a solid enrichment for the basic motif's development. 'Dolce Sorella' does fit the symphonic power ballad's framework, with noticeable allusions to the standards of Procol Harum and Yes, but of course, since this is a typically Italian sounding band and keyboards are the only protagonists, the sonic scheme stays closer to BMS and Le Orme. 'Un Cane' gets the album's second half started: with a prologue dominated by grand piano, the overall ceremonious overtone is guaranteed right away, and so, when the main body is installed, the track happens to be closely related in mood to the preceding one. 'E Svegliarsi In Un Giorno' doesn't follow a dissimilar pattern actually, although one can notice (or at least, that's how I picture it) that the ongoing mood is a bit less romantic and a bit more extroverted. Also, the compositional development is a bit more sophisticated, which is mostly due to the use of synthetic fanfares and Gothic-like mellotron washes somewhere in the middle. The final track ''Cammellandia' starts with a beautiful piano sonata, whose simplistic motif brings the key to the whole compositional architecture, which indeed is not too complex, but it is cleverly based on coherent moods and. The connections with Le Orme and ELP are somehow easy to notice, and there is also a scary element to this track that I may not have found alien in a Goblin album? but again, Goblin didn't exist by then yet, so we can sense something a bit pioneering here as well. So, all in all, what we have here is a very substantial album in musical terms through all the bombast patently delivered in the ever present synths (ARP and VCS 3) and mellotron inputs. "Opera Prima" is an excellent progressive opus, and as such it should be valued by any prog collector who intends to be really proud of their collection.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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