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Montefeltro - Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.79 | 55 ratings

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Special Collaborator
4 stars I first came across the name of Montefeltro a number of years ago via an Open University course on the Renaissance in Europe that included an examination of the court of Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino. Until I looked at the booklet that accompanies this CD I never really gave the band's name a second thought but, lo and behold, whose familiar profile should be there on the inside page but the bold Duke's. (Just thought I'd share this bit of trivia!) Federico was one of the leading condottieri of the age and never lost a battle yet this album sets off with the 22-minute 'Canto No.1', an epic piece that's given shape by a letter written by Federico to his muse/wife. It reveals the cultured side of Federico's nature - literally and figuratively a man of letters.

English translations of the lyrics appear in the booklet but they don't always make a whole lot of sense; mind you Vladimir Nabokov argued that translations should sound like translations, that they should be faithful to the language of the original rather than read smoothly, so he would doubtless approve of these texts. The lyrics delight in the fantastic and borrow heavily from literature and fables; Montefeltro's musical world is peopled by warrior gods, ancient mariners and mythological creatures, and by images of the stars, Time and Nature. Multi-layered keyboards and 12-string guitars provide scope for the Hackett-inspired lead guitar to emerge like great shards of light through distant blankets of clouds. While Montefeltro don't remotely come close to matching the achievements of their fellow Italians of the Renaissance, this is nonetheless an ambitious piece and I reckon the band must have had a hearty helping of Genesis porridge before they recorded it.

The final track 'Nel Labirinto' was inspired by a Jorge Luis Borges story, 'The House of Asterion', which explores questions of personal identity and personal existence. Borges turns on its head the traditional story of the killing of the Minotaur by the Athenian hero, Theseus. The labyrinth of the title hides Asterion, the mythological Minotaur, and is symbolic of doubt and perplexity. Weary in his solitude within the labyrinth, Asterion longs for 'a place with fewer galleries and fewer doors' and he is killed when he throws himself onto Theseus' sword in the belief that he is embracing his redeemer. Despite its melancholic subject matter this song has something of a festive atmosphere that conjures images of children scurrying off to bed to dream of La Befana, the witch of Italian folklore who delivers their Christmas presents.

Montefeltro basically recorded this album as a two-piece of Attilio Virgilio (vocals, guitars) and Piergiorgio Ambrosi (piano, keyboards), with a pair of guest musicians providing the bass and drums. Their favourite abode is undoubtedly chez Genesis, so if that's your bag you can put on the stretchy pants and prepare yourself for an absolute feast. They're not in the same league as Genesis of course. In fact they're not even in the top echelon of RPI bands but their music is some of the prettiest you'll hear, an aural panacea against life's suffering that sounds like a cocktail of PFM and Genesis infused with glucose. If you don't enjoy sweet and harmonious symphonic music you might want to bang your head *here* rather than listen to this. The remaining three tracks are much of a muchness and that lack of variety is my only concern with the album, otherwise this might have been worthy of the elusive fifth star.

seventhsojourn | 4/5 |


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